Getting a child to do chores, and how much to pay for the work, is a frequent topic of conversation among parents. Some people want their children to learn the value of earning their money, and so pay their children for doing assigned jobs. Other parents want their children to learn that chores are just part of life, and must be done without expectation of reward. Whichever school of thought you belong to, the fact remains that getting a child used to doing chores can be a daunting task. Here are some pointers on how to get your child to do chores.
Make Chores Age Appropriate
Before assigning chores to a child, make sure they have the maturity to handle the physical execution of the chore. For example, a toddler may be able to effectively set the table with plastic plates, but handing the little one the steak knives to place on the table could be dangerous, since he is, after all, a toddler.
Consider the child’s physical height, fine motor skills, and gross motor coordination before assigning chores. A toddler can be taught to brush his own teeth, and this can be his chore before bed. But, the parent should retain the responsibility to make sure it is done right.
A child who has to reach arms’ length over his head to reach the handle of the lawnmower should not mow the lawn – he will not have control of a potentially dangerous machine. However, once he or she is tall enough to hold the handle at chest height, it can be very appropriate to assign lawn mowing as a chore, you never know, he could even start his own lawn maintenance business!.
Don’t Overdo It
In general, children should be assigned about as many chores as they are years old. So, a two year old toddler can usually handle two simple tasks, such as picking up and brushing teeth.
Do you ever make a “To Do” list? A chore chart is the same thing, for children. Keep it simple, with an illustration for those too young to read. For example, draw a picture of a hairbrush, or cut a picture out of a magazine, to represent that the child is supposed to brush his hair when he gets up in the morning.
If your child seems to be really adverse to doing chores, use the example of brushing hair as a guide. The children do things every day that they never even think about. By working those into their chore chart, they can get an idea of how much they do every day, and become aware of the responsibilities they have.
The ultimate goal of chores is to teach children to take responsibility. This can be really tough when you have to make the kids do their chores, or constantly remind them. It often creates a situation in which you have to invoke punitive measures to make them sorry for not taking the initiative.
Whether you use rewards like a nice countryside trip, threaten punishment, or just give up, the parent/child dynamic of getting chores done is never simple.