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Chores teach responsibility
Remember to show appreciation, too
Giving children chores to do around the house can prepare them for adulthood by teaching them responsibility and how to work together with their siblings and parents.
“By five years old, kids are capable of doing many household tasks and are mature enough to grasp the concept of teamwork... it takes the whole family working as a team to keep the household running,” said Dr. Stephanie Smith, a clinical psychologist who writes a blog on raising children.
Once your child is doing chores, it is important to offer appreciation for each task, Smith said.
“Whether it's in the form of a quarter, a dollar, or simply a thank you, don't forget to let your child know how much you appreciate their pitching in.”
So what are age appropriate jobs for kids? Check out the following list from chores-help-kids.com:
• Help make the bed
• Put dishes in the sink
• Pick up toys and books
• Take laundry to the laundry room
• Help feed pets, help wipe up messes
• Dust with socks on their hands
• Mop in areas with help
• Use the potty
• Brush teeth
• Water garden with a pre-measured amount of water
• Clear and set the table
• Carrying and putting away groceries
• Use bathroom
• Wash hands
• Brush and floss teeth
• Water garden
• Pick up toys
• Feed pet
• Make bed or change the sheets
• Set table
• Carry dirty dishes to kitchen or sink
• Put away folded clean clothes
• Put dirty clothes into clothes hamper,
• Set out clothes for the next day, as well as backpack, shoes, and whatever else is needed for school
• Clean room.
• Help wash and vacuum the car
• Learn to wash dishes
• Help prepare simple meals
• Clip coupons
• Basic meal planning
• Create a grocery list
• Help with shopping
• Clean the bathroom
• Plant garden flowers or vegetables
• Walk the dog
• Pick up dog poop or change the litter box
• Bring in firewood
• Rake leaves
• Operate the washer and dryer
• Clean and organize the cabinets or storage closet
• File papers
Before they begin their new tasks, give your child a few days notice in advance, Smith said.
“No one likes to be surprised with new duties, and your kids are no exception. A day or two before the new chore is to begin, let them know your expectations.”
A good way to introduce a new chore is to use on the job training.
“Putting laundry away can be a daunting task for a five-year-old. When you are first adding the chore, consider doing it as a team, and/or help break up the job into small parts,” Smith said.
An important factor in teaching your child new chores is to “play it cool,” Smith added.
“As in many other situations, your children will take their cues from you when it comes to their emotional reaction and their new chore. If you are angry, too forceful, or overly authoritative in communicating the task to them, they will likely be angry and defensive in return.
“If instead you are easy-going, matter of fact, and don't dwell too long on the new job, you will likely find your kids more willing to comply.”
It is also important not to expect perfection, Smith said.
“If you ask your child to put away their own clothes, they are not going to look perfect, so you might as well give up that expectation now. What you can expect is for it to be in a timely manner, and with relative (according to age) accuracy. With this in mind, resist the urge to correct their work or re-arrange their clothes (especially in front of them).”