Mommy’s Little Helpers: How to Teach Children to Do Chores
Your time at home is the perfect opportunity to get kids to help around the house and teach them valuable life skills along the way.
Parents, admit it – more often than not we’ve procrastinated in teaching our kids how to do house chores simply because ‘it’s faster and less complicated if we do it ourselves.’
These days, we are all forced to spend every minute of the day with our kids at home. Suddenly, the consequences of our procrastination are being felt now more than ever -- the beds need fixing, you don’t get a hand (even if there are six extra pairs) with the dishes, the pantry is still in disarray from this morning, and you feel that the open peanut butter jar will be your last straw.
Before you lose it, it might be good to take advantage of this time to catch up on teaching your kids the value of helping around the house. This is an integral part of parenting that guarantees them valuable life skills as they grow up.
House chores show them that they are contributing something important to the family and that their efforts matter. In the process, when their efforts are recognized, it boosts their self-esteem and sense of pride.
Self-regulation is another benefit of assigning children household tasks. When they know there are chores that need to be done first before they can move on to a rewarding activity, then they will learn how to persevere and delay gratification.
Giving children simple house chores as young as two or three also sets the foundation for their early independence, one of the important qualities all parents want their kids to have. House chores not only teach them responsibility but lets them discover what they are capable of doing on their own at a young age.
Now, we finally have the luxury of time to teach what we have been too busy to focus on when things were ‘normal’. These age-appropriate household chores can be your guide on what tasks to assign children, depending on their age. Make a chart or a visual reminder for each specific chore that each child needs to do. For younger ones, in the to-do list you can put a mark like a star or heart beside the task they have accomplished for the day.
The great thing about this age is that they see chores as fun and can be doing it out of curiosity. Ask them to do something simple like return their toys in the bin after playing, ‘shoot’ the clothes in the hamper, arrange or line up the shoes on the rack, or feed the pet fish. Make sure to shower them with praises after each accomplished task and take advantage of any teachable moment that may arise, like asking for the color of each clothing while separating them from the whites during laundry time.
At this age, kids can handle more than we think they can, and we should give them credit for it. They can wash plastic dishes, empty the trash, bring the unbreakable dishes to the sink, water the plants, and even make their beds. These chores help them develop their sensory and motor skills. When assigning them a chore, be more specific and clear. For example, tell them to place all the toys that they find under their bed in the bin. Expect some complaints as they grow older, but a reward system might do the trick such as giving them extra time to ride their bikes outside.
Around this age, it is a matter of adding to the chores mentioned above that by now they already know by heart. Okay, maybe they still need a little prompting and there will be clumsiness here and there, but you can already add bigger tasks. These include sweeping the floor, sorting the laundry, keeping their rooms tidy, preparing their own snacks, feeding the pets, and clearing the table.
‘But, mom….’ Yes, complaining about having to do house chores can be more pronounced as they grow older, but it is best to model a good attitude by not complaining about your own chores and showing appreciation for what they do. This age group is more than ready to do tasks like wash the dishes, help prepare meals, put away groceries, prepare their own breakfast, and clean up afterwards, tag along on grocery day, and help carry heavy items.
Ages 10 and up
You now have a little helper that you can truly rely on during busy days. Ten year-olds and older can help fold the laundry, do a little ironing, babysit, clean their rooms, wash the car, and change their own bedsheets, among many others.
As much as possible, try to be consistent and regular with monitoring your children’s chores so it turns into both a routine and a habit. Once all these have passed, all you have to do is reap what you have sown.
About The Writer
Dahl Marie Bennett
Dahl Marie D. Bennett is a full-time freelancer and regularly contributes to Smart Parenting, abs-cbn.com, and PAL’s inflight magazine, Mabuhay. Before this, she worked as a media and communications specialist for Miriam College. She continues to do consultancy work and special projects for the school. Being a freelancer gave Dahl the time to pursue her passion for yoga, specifically of the Ashtanga tradition. In 2019, she got certified as an Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga teacher after completing 200 hours of training under seasoned yoga teacher, Jovan Nikolic. She is also a mom to Dylan, her 17-year-old daughter who will be off to college soon and for whom she will terribly miss making baon for.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.