Getting Your Children to Help Out Around the House

February 13, 2015

Having your children chip in with chores and housework can be a very important step in child-rearing. Instilling your children with a sense of responsibility and organization can introduce meaningful values for the future. And sometimes it’s just nice to have a helping hand. Based on their age range, here are some suggestions to get your kids to help around the house:

2-3 Years Old

When your children are two or three years old, there can’t be much expectation that they help out around the house. However, it can be important to set precedent for the future and create a pattern of responsibility and organization. Even as toddlers, children can get in the habit of putting toys away before moving on to the next activity. Though of course they don’t understand it at the time, they subconsciously learn important values about work, effort, cleanliness, and teamwork required to run a household. Toddlers understand “please” and “thanks,” so make sure you show your appreciation when they clean up.

4-7 Years Old

Once children get to this age, they have a better grasp on the reasoning behind requests. Kids can understand the entire process and see how putting toys away or helping to set the table keeps the house running smoothly and helps out the parents. At this age, it is appropriate to communicate tasks and explain why putting away laundry or empty the dishwasher is an important chore. Create a responsibility for things within their own spaces, whether it’s their bedroom or play area. They have a sense of ownership for this space and will enjoy how it feels when clean and organized. While younger children may not actually “help” that much, and require supervision or correction, the important part is building routine.

8-10 Years Old

By this age, children can start taking more responsibility and have tasks that are uniquely their own. Kids can follow a chore calendar and know that they must walk the dog every day after school, or rake the leaves in the fall. Posting a schedule on the fridge can help keep things on track and prevent you from nagging about procrastinated chores. By this age, children might express a preference for certain chores, so don’t fight them if they hate cleaning the bathroom but don’t mind taking out the garbage. As long as they are chipping in and learning the routine of participating in regular chores, you’re ahead of the game.

10-12 Years Old

Once they are nearly teens, children can really help with household requirements. You can encourage them to either be jack of all trades, helping out a bit with everything, like carrying in the groceries, vacuuming, and shovelling when needed. Or, you can give them chores for which they are fully responsible, like walking, bathing, brushing, and cleaning up after the family dog. Teach them how to do laundry, and how to make simple meals which require minimal cooking. At this age, don’t clean up after them. Build their confidence and self-sufficiency by letting your children take full charge.

Having your children help out around the house is about more than chore help. It ensures your children are instilled with a sense of responsibility and care for their home environment. Good habits are hard to come by, so start from an early age.

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