Fewer and fewer children are participating in household chores. According to a survey reported a few years back in the Daily Mail, as many as 25 percent of kids between 5 and 16 don’t lift a finger around the house. And for a fifth of those who do chip in, help equals tidying their bedroom. Hardly pulling their weight, is it?
Whereas we, the parents, remember doing simple tasks around the house when we were young, we now seem reluctant to include our children in the cleaning schedule. Why? Some say it’s because the school and extracurricular activities already require a lot of participation from the kids, so they don’t want to burden the kids anymore. However, scientific research says that’s a disservice for our young ones.
Next time you halt before you ask your child to wash the car, hoover or dust, bear this in mind. Helping around the house will teach them important life skills that increase their self-esteem and chances of success in later life. Having some responsibility towards the whole family sends a message that they are important contributors.
But, maybe you already know that age-appropriate chores are beneficial for your children. Maybe you’re having trouble making them do it. Here are some tips that could help with this responsibility going down smoothly with your little ones:
- Be specific about the task and demonstrate it, i.e. instead of saying globally: “You’ll do some dusting today”, say “You’ll dust the coffee table, the bookcases, the side tables, etc.”
- Be positive even if they don’t do a wonderful job the first time around. You can say something like: “OK, next time, let’s pay attention to this.”
- Ask them to help you do something together.
- With little children, you may try singing along while doing the activity. You can also make a competition of the tasks, but be careful with this if you have a competitive child.
- Opinions are divided whether or not you should tie in a financial reward with house chores. There are valid pros and cons of both sides, so you have to decide for yourself. Just be consistent.