Learning new chores
It is important to remember that learning a new chore takes years — not days, weeks or even months for a child to move from completing the task with help, to doing a task independently.
For example, according to a 1989 study of families in Washington state, 99 percent of children involved could dress themselves with help beginning at age 2-1/2, but still needed reminding or supervision around age 5, and did not fully complete the task without reminding or supervision until 10-1/2 years of age.
So, how do you get children to help out with chores?
- Be clear and specific when giving instructions for a task.
- Provide choices in assigning chores. Try a “job jar” or job rotation.
- Avoid being a nag.
- Brainstorm ways to “help” children remember to get jobs done. Create a customized chore checklist.
- Make sure consistent consequences are in place when a job doesn’t get done.
- Make doing tasks fun!
- Rotate the “dirty jobs” that no one wants.
- Try to avoid re-doing a job. A child may not complete a task the way you would do it, but the important thing is that he or she tried.
- Consider safety when assigning and supervising tasks.
- Offer praise and express appreciation when children complete or attempt tasks. Appreciation is a great motivator!
You can also help your kids become responsible by being a responsible role model, helping them with problem-solving and decision-making, and showing that work contributes to the family. You should also expect good things from children, offer love, encouragement and support, and have appropriate expectations for each child.
Image: Young girl sewing by window by Henriëtte Willebeek le Mair
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