Updated: Sep 24, 2022
How to Get Your Child Started on Chores
If you have children who jump for joy whenever you ask them to do chores, then you can consider yourself fortunate. Most kids these days wouldn’t likely be too happy if you tell them to get their hands off those gaming console controllers and do the dishes or rake the yard.
Then again, it’s normal for children to be a bit reluctant to do chores. However, we all want our kids to grow up to be responsible adults. We want them to be contributing members of society. It is our obligation as parents to get them started on that road by getting them started on household chores.
The importance of kids learning to do household chores can never be stated enough. Chores teach invaluable life skills they can definitely use when they become independent. The simple act of doing dishes, sweeping the floor, or anything listed in chore charts for kids helps them develop a decent work ethic as well. And if several studies are to be believed, chores help kids grow to be happy and successful adults.
If your kids aren’t doing household chores yet, here are some tips to get them started.
Start Them Young
Is your child at least three years old? If so, then he or she is old enough to do chores. Of course, the chores should be appropriate for their age. Tasks as simple as putting their toys away and putting clothes in the hamper are excellent places to start.
It’s always a good idea to get them started on chores at a young age because, according to a study by University of Minnesota researchers that ran for 20 years, kids who did chores beginning at three years old have a much better chance of being successful when they reach their mid-20s.
Very young children also tend to be more open and eager to help out around the house, while older children who haven’t done chores all their life will likely be more resistant to doing household tasks. Then again, it’s never too late to get them started at any age.
Use A Chore Chart
So you’ve assigned tasks to your kids, but with their typically shorter attention span and the ready availability of distractions like video games and smartphones, you can’t really expect them to remember and do all of them on schedule.
Using a chore chart can make things easier for your kids. With a chore chart, you can keep them updated on all their tasks in the most efficient way possible. It would also be easier for you to change things up and shuffle tasks to make things more interesting and less tedious for them.
Some parents create a literal chore chart using cardboard or paper, but we now have more modern options, like a chore chart app that kids can access using their smartphones or tablets. Download a chore chart app, and your kids will have an easy time checking their daily chores.
And if you’re giving them an allowance for every task they complete, you’d be glad to know that you can link these chore chart apps to a bank account!
Give More Specific Instructions
Whether you’re using a chore chart or not, you will have to give instructions to your kid on how to perform a given task. Keep in mind, however, that instructions that sound too vague and general can easily lead to confusion on the part of your child.
So when you want your child to, say, clean his or her room, make sure your child understands he or she has to do things like putting laundry in the hamper, returning their toys to their proper place, taking their wastebasket out, and making the bed.
Keep Things Real
You’re only getting your kids started on chores, so don’t expect them to master the tasks you’ve given them immediately. Always keep your expectations realistic, so you don’t put undue pressure and stress on your kids, especially when they’re still very young. Your goal shouldn’t be about making them do their chores perfectly; it should be about establishing their routine and instilling a sense of responsibility in them.
Make Everyone Do Chores
When you have more than one child, it wouldn’t be right to let just one of them do the chores while you spare the others. Everyone has to pitch in when it comes to household chores, whether they’re three years old or in their teens. So distribute age-appropriate chores evenly among your children. To set an example, you and your spouse should also do your share to show that even parents do their part.
Make Chores Fun
For many children, chores are synonymous with “boring.” However, you can always inject a little more fun into the tasks you assign your kids.
Are you making them fold freshly-laundered socks? Teach them how to roll a pair into a ball and shoot it into the open sock drawer. Playing nursery rhymes and singing along to them while you’re both doing the dishes would also be nice. You can also split one chore into equal parts, give to your kids, and turn it into a competition where a nice reward awaits the one who gets it done first, or best.
Get your kids started on chores now, and you’ll be doing them a favor that they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Samantha Green is the Content Marketing Strategist for BusyKid, the first and only chore and allowance platform where kids can earn, save, share, spend, and invest their allowance. A mom of two, she enjoys spending time with her kids and reading books to them.