Many parents are looking for ways to help their children with household chores, but it is not always easy. This is because kids have different developmental stages and may be unwilling or unprepared to help. But no matter what stage your child is in, there are some things you can do to make this process easier on you and your little helper!
You can figure out what tasks are appropriate for them by considering their abilities and limitations. For example, very young children may only be able to help put away toys or sweep the floor, while older children might be able to do more complex tasks like laundry or cooking.
1. Make a list of age-appropriate chores for your child to do
Always start with something simple, like folding the towels right out of the dryer. If you start with something simple, your child is more likely to see their participation in household activities as a good thing, not just another thing they have to do.
This will help ensure that they are willing to continue helping out when it comes time to do something more challenging. Of course, you should also consider what is age-appropriate for your child to attempt, as well. If they are not yet toilet trained, it probably isn’t the best idea for them to help you sort the laundry.
2. Break down each task into smaller, more manageable steps
Even if your child is old enough to do laundry or cooking, they probably aren’t used to doing it. So, take the time to explain each step of the process in detail before starting, and make sure they know why you are doing what you are doing. For example, if you want them to set the table for dinner, tell them where the plates go first and why you need them there.
Or, if you want them to mow the lawn, explain why you have to trim it, what you will do with the grass when it is cut, and so on. If you think this is beyond your child’s abilities and you no longer have the time to do it, consider hiring professional landscapers.
3. Teach your child how to do each task beforehand
Even if they can’t read yet, make sure they know the name and function of the appliance you will be using (washer-dryer, mixer, stove, refrigerator). As long as you are doing the task with them, show them how to operate the appliance and then let them do it under your supervision.
By doing this, your child will learn the appropriate settings and steps to take for this task to be complete. If you want them to help with cooking, show them the order of steps and how to prepare each type of food. This way, they are less likely to make a mistake.
4. Have a reward system in place
Everyone likes to know that they are working toward a goal, and kids are no different. As long as each task is age-appropriate, try setting up a reward system where they can save up stars or stickers on their chore chart. You can reward them with a new toy or book at the end of a certain number of stars, allowing them to have something positive to look forward to if they are doing well.
But if you want to promote a progressive parenting style rather than resort to the reward-punishment system, there are plenty of alternatives. Some parents opt for spending time with their kids doing something they enjoy. Others give praise and verbal rewards when they see that their child is trying.
5. Let your child make decisions about how they want to help
Give kids some control over their own lives by letting them choose how they would like to help around the house. This will give them a sense of accomplishment that they might not otherwise have. For example, if your child would like to help with dinner, ask them to set the table or pour drinks for everyone beforehand, so they can feel more involved in preparing dinner.
Another option is to let them choose the reward they would like when doing a particular task. This will give them some sense of responsibility and control over their lives. If your child knows you are counting on them to help with the dishes, they are more likely to be motivated to do it.
You may want to try using some of these tips around the house with your child’s tasks. However, if you feel like they are still not ready to handle household chores by themselves, it might be time to sit down and talk about what needs to be done.
By doing so, you will be able to accommodate your child’s needs while still being an effective parent. This way, you can set them up for success in helping out around the house and help yourself in the process, too.