Giving children household chores at an early age helps to build responsibility and self-reliance, according to psychologist Cindy Arenstein.
It’s the weekend and for many parents, Saturday mornings mean doing a few household chores, so instead of doing it all solo, grab the kids and get started!
As adults, we know that in order for a household to run properly, time-consuming and monotonous duties must be completed. Adults are expected to do their part around the house but assigning housework to children is a source of contention. Many parents wish to preserve childhood for as long as possible, allowing their children to “be kids” and have plenty of playing while they are still young. Others may regard youngsters as less capable, preferring to complete household tasks as fast and effectively as possible.
These arguments make sense, yet they neglect the numerous benefits of assigning duties to children. Cindy Arenstein, an experienced psychologist, believes that assigning duties to children is one of the most important things parents can do for their children. That’s because it teaches kids responsibility, inner strength and resilience.
2-3 years old
Chores at this age should include learning to pick up after yourself. Chores such as tidying up toys, cleaning their rooms, making their beds, and putting away dishes after a meal educate youngsters to accept responsibility for their own actions. They should also be able to put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket and dispose of rubbish.
Kids, no matter how young they are, may struggle to remember everything that is expected of them, but a star chart (with a picture of each duty) may assist. Remember to provide an incentive: at this point, a sticker will give them the impression that their hard effort has been recognised and praised.
4-6 years old
You can now start encouraging your child to complete chores that help the household as a whole, in addition to taking care of herself. By now, she should have mastered the tasks associated with taking care of herself and her belongings, so don’t be afraid to make things a bit more complicated: there’s nothing stopping her from packing and storing her own school bag, for example.
Spread the responsibility even further: your youngster will now be able to help care for the pets, prepare the table, and even put away the groceries. It’s also a good idea to get her involved in simple housekeeping tasks, such as dusting, wiping down the walls, and folding laundry.
Cindy points out that because these jobs are more complex, you may need to spend some time teaching your child how to do them correctly – then, continue to congratulate her for a job well done, and you’ll find that she’s inspired to keep continuing.