Getting your children involved in household chores can be a challenge. Here are some great tips and a list of age-appropriate tasks, to encourage your child to participate and become responsible.
By Meera Mathews Marrate
Kavitha and Reema are long lost college friends, busy with their married lives and kids.
One afternoon by chance, they bump into each other at a mall, and to their surprise, discover that they have children of the same age. While one has a boy, the other has a girl. Excited to be meeting after ages, the duo head to the nearest coffee shop to chat and catch up.
After a point of time, the conversation gradually shifted towards their kids and their involvement in household responsibilities.
Kavitha laughs out loud and talks about her seven-year-old son, Advaith. She says, “Advaith is a typical boy. He just doesn’t lend a hand with morning chores like picking up the milk packet, setting the breakfast table, rinsing the plates and so on. If only he helped me, we wouldn’t be scampering to the school gate breathlessly, almost every morning.”
To this, Reema bursts out laughing. “Kavi, if you think Advaith is being gender-biased, hold on. I don’t think this has much to do with gender! It is the present generation. My daughter, Sapna, wakes up late, spends close to an hour dressing up, spends 20 minutes on her smartphone, and rushes when she hears the blasting horn from her pickup van. Children these days are just like that.”
Well, Kavitha and Reema are not the only mothers who are struggling to get their children to help around with household chores. Several parents will relate to this familiar scenario. However, experts are of the opinion that children should be involved in household chores fairly early in life, no matter how difficult the ‘art’ might seem.
Dr Marty Rossman, physician and award-winning author says, “Involving children in household tasks at an early age can have a positive impact later in life. By doing so, parents teach their children a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance, and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives. Doing chores will teach your child how to apply himself to work he may not necessarily enjoy. It will help him understand that some jobs must be done whether he likes it or not. He’ll also begin to consider himself as an important contributor to the family. This will make him feel more connected to the family.”
Rewards and incentives are wonderful ways to keep your child interested in daily chores. Children love working towards rewards, but it should be done occasionally to keep things interesting. Remember to keep rewards simple and fun so that they don’t turn into bribes. Reward your child with a special note for a job well done, extra play time and other similar incentives. This is preferable to giving money as a reward. Over a period of time, make your child realise that doing household chores is part of his daily routine and that rewards and incentives are reserved for special days.
Every child matures at a different time and pace. Use the following chore chart as a guideline and customise it according to your child's skills and capabilities.
Chores can be fun. They also let your child learn important life skills, responsibilities and family values. So, aren't you making a chore list already?
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Meera Mathews Marrate