The Long-Term, Positive Impact of Chores
Not only is it nice to have a helping hand around the house - chores teach children responsibility, time management and independent work completion.
Foundational chores built at a young age can impact work ethic and habits as a child grows into adulthood. Think about it this way: if a child starts washing the dishes every day at age 6, when they are 18 they will be habituated to doing the dishes and the task will become just another part of their normal routine. Now, imagine a child that is never responsible for doing the dishes. When they turn 18 and move into their first apartment, the sink will pile up with dirty dishes, and because they’re on their own now, cleaning up may seem like a monumental task.
1. Engage Your Child With Positive Rewards
A common approach is to have an ultimatum, such as “do your chores or you’ll be in trouble”. But studies now show that using positive reinforcement techniques to build habits actually fosters less stress in a parent/child relationship and helps to build healthy habits that children will continue over time. So, instead of using an ultimatum, try using a reward. You may be skeptical, but hear me out: the trick is making the reward something beneficial in itself. Some examples of positive rewards are an extra bedtime story, more playtime outside, a new puzzle, or a favorite healthy treat. You can also create a reward for consecutive days of task completion. For example, “if you do all of your chores every day this week, we can go to a movie together on Friday”. Positive reinforcement not only motivates completion of chores, but when the rewards are well thought out, they have their own benefits, such as more time spent learning and more quality time spent together. Eventually you can wean your children off of the positive reward system, and chores will become part of the normal routine.
2. Choose Appropriate Tasks For Your Child
The key to chores is making sure that they are appropriate for your child’s particular age and skill level. An added bonus is when chores can be a bit fun! In a perfect world, chores are the at intersection of what you as the parent needs to be done and what your child likes to do. For instance, if you have a child that loves animals, chores centered around caring for your pets are a great idea. If you have a child that loves being outside, pulling weeds or mowing the lawn can be chores they actually enjoy. Here are our chore recommendations for three different age groups:
|6 years old or younger||7-12 years old||13 years old or older|
3. Use a Chore Chart
There's just something about putting pen to paper and crossing something off of your to-do list. This is especially true for kids with focus and attention issues.