Teaching your kids household chores is an excellent way for parents to have more help around the house with tasks like laundry, dishes and general cleaning. The benefits of kids doing chores go beyond just getting more done. Household duties may improve executive functions because they require kids to remember instructions, switch between tasks and self-regulate.
These chore-performing benefits can have long-lasting effects into adulthood. Studies show that kids who do chores are more successful in adulthood. By using kid-safe cleaning supplies like eco-friendly laundry products to complete their tasks, your household and child can benefit from a chore routine.
Whatever your reason for wanting your kids to do chores, explore several ways to teach kids household chores to help the habits stick.
1. Choose Age-Appropriate Simple Tasks
A 5-year-old will not be able to do the same tasks as a 16-year-old. Choosing age-appropriate duties ensures the child can complete them but also helps boost the confidence of young children and avoid burnout or resistance to chores.
For example, asking your 5-year-old to mow the lawn sets them up for failure and puts them in danger. Alternatively, having your young child make their bed is simple and won’t leave them frustrated at not being able to complete it. Learning how to do laundry is another excellent idea. Young kids can easily add clothes and laundry detergent sheets to the washer and press a button for successful chore completion.
2. Give Equal Chores to All Children
Most parents or family members don’t intentionally give unequal chores to children, but it can often happen, leading to frustration, annoyance and animosity between siblings. Unequal duties may refer to one task taking longer than another or being much more difficult for one child.
An excellent way to avoid this is to give each child the same basic tasks, such as making their bed, adding an eco-friendly dishwasher tablet to start the dishes or sorting laundry. You might adjust chores if seemingly similar duties are easier or harder for one child due to age or abilities.
Above these essential chores, ensure you assign equal tasks by allowing kids to voice their opinions. Considering your child’s opinion may make them more likely to complete the job and have a positive outlook on their responsibility. Flexibility and working with your children ensure a happy house of productive kids.
3. Use a Calendar to Choose a Set Time for Chores
One of the best ways to teach kids household chores is by using a calendar or chore chart system. A visual representation of their duties can help kids understand day-to-day expectations and help with reading and language skills. In older children, the charts can reinforce self-regulation by allowing kids to tackle tasks with a set due date but in the manner they choose.
Chores listed on a specific date will need to be done that day, but you can also go a step further and motivate your child to complete household tasks at a particular time each day. This approach ensures assignments are done on time — not put off until the last minute — and teaches children additional responsibility by helping to regulate when they can and can’t do something. A good example is to do the dishes right after dinner or walk the dog right after school.
4. Praise Children for Completed Tasks
Praise is one of the best ways to reinforce good habits in children, and children love outward recognition of their achievements. Parents can praise their children in several ways, but the best way is to be specific. It’s easy to say, “Good job,” but saying, “You did a great job of making your bed!” helps kids feel good. Specific phrasing also continues the goal behavior and improves it going forward because they understand what they did to earn praise.
5. Don’t Use Chores as a Punishment
If your child misbehaves, it’s never a good idea to give chores as punishment. Chores are an expected task that needs to follow them into adulthood. You should only use a chore as a form of punishment to correct the behavior directly. For example, a child drew on the wall with a crayon. The child should clean it up or at least help clean it to help learn the consequences of our actions and responsibility.
6. Be Consistent
Turning a chore into a habit won’t work if you aren’t consistent. You must remind, help and encourage kids to do their daily duties. If sometimes you do the task yourself just to get it over with, you’re showing your child that it’s not truly their responsibility and they can get out of it if they resist enough. Set consistent expectations for your child and follow through with appropriate consequences for not completing their chores.
7. Give Them the Time They Need to Succeed
When young or starting a new task, kids need time to learn or complete the job. By rushing them or not setting aside time to get it done, parents get frustrated and may get angry or do the chore themselves to just get it done. If kids aren’t allowed to take the time they need to complete their tasks, they will also grow frustrated and won’t want to tackle the chore the next time. On the other hand, it also shows your child that if they procrastinate long enough, someone else will come to finish it for them.
Instead of rushing them, set a realistic timeframe for task completion and help them discover ways to meet that expectation while learning.
8. Have Fun
Finally, having fun with your children is essential when teaching them household chores. Playing and having fun helps kids thrive in the future. Adding enjoyment to tasks will help them appreciate the activity and increase their chances of continuing the behavior later in childhood and adulthood.
Incorporate fun into chores by playing music and having a dance party while sweeping or doing dishes. Make laundry into a sport by throwing clothes or child-friendly laundry detergent into the washing machine to earn points. You can also let kids develop their own imaginative games while they complete their chores.
Getting Your Kids to Help with Chores
Getting your kids to help with chores takes some of the responsibility off your shoulders and is one of the best ways to help kids become successful adults. Chores create lasting habits and a responsible mindset to which no other parenting task can compare. Remember that it won’t be easy initially, but with consistency, a structured approach and specific praise, kids can successfully help with household chores