Is it always you who ends up doing chores around the house? Isn’t it just easier and quicker for you do them yourself rather than nag the kids to help out?
Think again! Apparently doing chores is valuable experience for kids. They may not always enjoy them but, like vegetables, they’re good for them!
So it’s the weekend. Your toddler may be throwing plastic blocks about the house, your nine-year-old is plugged into a video game or your teenager is texting friends, listening to music and updating her Facebook status.
Asking them to tidy up, empty the dishwasher or clean the loo isn’t going to go down well.
It’s time to bite the bullet and make a stand.
The value of chores for children
Most experts agree that chores are good for children. Parenting expert Sue Atkins says: "I’m a great believer in kids helping out; it gives them responsibility, independence and helps them to become a team player."
Author Jim Fay, co-founder of the love and logic parenting philosophy, says chores for children are essential. Here's why: in addition to our needs for physical and emotional safety, love and affection, and healthy amounts of control, he says, we also all need to be needed. That's because we're pack animals by nature.
"If your child never has to raise a finger, that basic need has been stolen away," Sue Atkins tells us. "Children need to feel as though they're a cog in the wheel. But they can't feel that way if they don't have chores and make contributions to the family."
Sue, the author of Raising Happy Children for Dummies, says you can start getting children to help out early.
"When there’s a second baby in a household, the toddler can fetch you nappies and wet wipes."
She says the tasks should be age appropriate: you wouldn’t, obviously, get a small child to cut up vegetables with a really sharp knife.
"It’s good for children’s self-esteem to do things; if you show them how to do a task and they complete it successfully it is good for their confidence."
Elizabeth Pantley, author of eight parenting books, including Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate, says there are real benefits to giving children chores. This is because:
- Chores are one of the best ways to build a feeling of competence.
- Chores help children understand what needs to be done to run a household.
- Chores establish helpful habits and good attitudes to work.
- Chores teach real-world skills and valuable lessons about life.
Don’t expect perfection every time
One problem when it comes to dividing up household chores is to expect perfection. Obviously you can wash up better than your 11-year-old as you’ve been doing it for that much longer! But they need to start somewhere. Even if you have to rewash the pans the first few times, your child will get the hang of it and you won’t feel as if you are being taken for granted.