Children Doing Chores – Building a Work Ethic
Children Doing Chores – My Thoughts
Should Children Do Chores?
Children doing chores is definitely one of those topics that can get people worked up and heated. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For me it’s simple. I am a firm believer that children should learn to do chores. What age should they start, you might ask? I feel it depends on the child and the chore.
Teach Them While They Are Young
Obviously, you shouldn’t expect your children to do everything. But, I feel it is important to teach my kids responsibility and ownership when it comes to their own personal space (their bedrooms.) Ask them if they like to be in a clean room, or a messy one. How does that make them feel? Start with the simple things when they are younger. Putting their toys away when they are finished playing with them or making their bed. These are easy concepts for younger children to understand. As they master these chores, think about adding some others from around the house. For example: sweeping, wiping the table after dinner.
Positive Feedback And Rewards
Let them know that as long as they are doing their best, that’s what matters. If you are constantly criticizing their work, they will become frustrated and want to give up. Often a reward system helps, it did, and still does work for my kids. Think about it. If you are doing a good job at your work wouldn’t you want to continue that if say you get a bonus, or a raise? Of course you would. So why shouldn’t we do the same for our children when they are doing their “jobs” around the house. You want to be careful not to build a sense of entitlement though. Clear expectations are a must!
Unfortunately, more so now than ever, children don’t understand the meaning of accountability. It’s just my opinion but I believe a lot of that has to do with how the children have been raised. If they are taught that there will be consequences if the children doing chores don’t do them. They will come to understand that you’re serious. Chores didn’t get done? Looks like you won’t be able to play with your friends. No XBOX for a day. Can’t go to the carnival. It was their responsibility and therefore they are the ones that should be held accountable. If they don’t do their chores, they shouldn’t be able to do any of the fun stuff, end of discussion.
Our Job as Parents
There needs to be strong follow through on our parts as parents. If we don’t follow through with our “threats” and “promises” the child will be sent mixed messages. If you tell your child that he or she cannot do the fun stuff until chores are done. Then later you reverse this idea because it’s easier for you, well that child is going to learn that if you’re busy they can skip the chores. It’s best to keep them home until the chores are done. This way you don’t have to negotiate in the middle of the store. Being responsible for chores also teaches them a work ethic, which many younger people just don’t have. These are all skills that will help your child become a productive addition to society. No employer is going to sugar coat things and keep giving someone chance after chance.
Life Skills Start with Children Doing Chores
Do you really want to send your children off to college someday, and have them not know how to do their laundry. Or how to make dinner for themselves? It’s not just about right now. I can guarantee that your future daughter-in-law will thank you when she marries your son and he knows his way around the kitchen, can mow that grass and knows how to clean up after himself. And vice-versa. I actually loved mowing the grass until I found out I am severely allergic to the stuff. My children both get taught how to do the same things. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, all of it. And all of these life skills start with your young children doing chores.
In writing this I am not saying that all children SHOULD do chores, I am merely giving my opinion on the subject. Whether or not you feel your children need to do chores, is up to you. And whatever you decide is fine, nobody knows your children better than you. If you are looking for a place to start. Parents.com has some free downloadable chore charts here.
It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do themselves that will make them successful human beings. -Ann Landers
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