C-h-o-r-e-s. Adults loathe them, so why do you expect kids to love them? Well, not unless they are toddlers because they enjoy anything they can do to help Mum and Dad.
Giving children responsibilities earlier will not only instill self-help skills but will also make them responsible and accountable. Being able to contribute to the family household will help with their self-esteem, knowing they are worthy and their contribution is essential to the family household.
"But my kids won't even help me at all!" I often hear this from parents.
Guess what? You really have to start them young. Chores are part of our everyday life, and you can't just ignore it. So why not include your children with daily life activities such as cooking or cleaning?
Toddlers can empty the dishes in the dishwasher, they can set the table for themselves or for the family, they can put their own dirty dishes in the sink, they can wipe their spill on the table, they can sweep up a messy floor and so on. While a preschool or school age children can do so many things such as putting the rubbish in the wheelie bin, making their own lunch, making their own bed, and hang laundry.
This is part of the parent's lives but do we get rewarded for washing the dishes? Do we get praise for vacuuming? Certainly not! So, why would it be different for our kids?
No rewards. Even if you're tempted to.
I tried rewarding my kids by giving them an allowance or adding minutes for their screen time. Yes, it worked for a couple of weeks and then it backfired.
"You can wash the dishes and have 30 extra minutes of screen time,"
"No thank you, I don't need extra time. I'm good."
Then I offered it to my other child "No, thank you."
So who's left to wash the dishes? Me.
So from then on, I changed my strategy. I talked to my kids and told them everybody has to contribute and nobody will get rewards. So we planned a schedule and we're sticking to it. The older they get, the more chores they can do.
And I honestly believe that if you're a family living in the same house, everybody needs to contribute! I would not be happy living with someone who just sleeps all weekend and can't be bothered to help!
In our household, there are some chores they are required to do such as:
- Washing dishes (we don't use dishwasher) - my kids alternate each night while Sunday is entirely my day
- If one of them is not washing dishes they set and wipe the table, and sweep the floor after each meal
- They are responsible for their own rooms (vacuuming, wash bedding etc)
- Folding their own clothes
- Tidying cupboards/pantry
- Rubbish and recycling bins
- Putting washed dishes back in the cupboard
- Help with meal prep - frying, cooking rice, cutting up vegetables etc
Now you're asking, "Do your kids complain about doing it?"
Yes, most of the time! They complain to get out of their chores.
They can complain and that's okay. But, still, it needs to be done. Yes, it's a pain in the beginning but it gets better later on. And when everybody understands their responsibility in your household, it becomes more orderly and fewer worries.
Be consistent, and everybody needs to be consistent too!
Here are some articles about why doing chores is essential to creating a balance in the family.