An important part of raising children is teaching them how to take care of themselves, their belongings, and their home environment. Although this can seem daunting to first-time or young parents, making a chore list for children is not that difficult, and doing so will help to remind both parents and children what the kids are supposed to do. Each family member should help around the house, beginning from the time when a child reaches the toddler stage. Even a two-year-old can pick up toys and run a dust mop under Mom’s careful eye. Having a specific chore list for children can promote a sense of responsibility and teach them to respect their things as well as those belonging to other people. How do you create an appropriate chore list for children? After all, how is a parent supposed to know what a child of any age is capable of doing? When is a chore list too demanding versus not demanding enough? The following 10 tips may be helpful as you prepare a chore list for children under your supervision.
1. Consult the experts.
Most young parents have enough to worry about without the hassle of determining the chores their children are capable of doing. Rather than guess, a better idea would be is consult experts who know something about raising children and assigning responsibility by making a chore list. For children, there are plenty of how-to books on the market, especially when it comes to teaching them responsibility. Don’t overlook the insight of grandparents and other relatives who may have a few suggestions that can help to round out your chore list. The Internet is useful in finding age appropriate activities as well. For example, MyPreciousKid.com contains a number of articles on child safety products and ways to create age-appropriate chore charts.
2. Consider your child’s capabilities.
While creating a chore list for children, even if it is age-appropriate based on research or relatives’ feedback, take into consideration your child’s abilities to carry out certain functions. Be sure to start small and check to be sure your preschooler can manage one task before assigning another. Preschoolers ought to be able to pick up toys, wash their face and brush their teeth, and help entertain the baby for a few minutes until you finish an important task. Elementary school children can dust furniture, vacuum carpets, wash dishes (or load dishwashers), and care for pets (feeding, bathroom breaks). Many teens, as they mature, should be able to handle most household jobs, such as washing dishes, preparing food, managing laundry, and cleaning their rooms.
3. Factor in talent and skills.
Whether your child is capable of doing a certain chore or not, think about his inclinations. For example, if your eight-year-old enjoys spending time with the indoor dog, you may want to teach him how to walk the dog for potty time, knowing that because your son likes being with the dog, he will likely do a good job. If your five-year-old likes to talk to an imaginary friend, have her chat with the baby in the playpen while you wash dishes, or talk to Grandma on the phone as you prepare dinner. These situations allow her to exercise a skill she enjoys. Manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and physical activity levels, among other skills, can play a role in the type of tasks you assign when making a chore list for children.
4. Add an element of interest.
It doesn’t hurt to make some chores a little fun when teaching your child how to do them. One example is weeding the garden. Encourage your ten-year-old to do a good job while giving her a corner of the garden for her own flowers or vegetables. Then suggest she enter the best one to come out of her patch in the county fair. This will make the weeding more interesting and meaningful. Another approach would be to talk about some of the pests that can be seen while weeding, such as a potato bug or a tomato worm. Explain their origin and purpose will keep your child alert and engaged in the task at hand.
5. Fairly evaluate infractions and extras.
If you have assigned your child the task of taking out trash at 4:55 p.m., right before dinner, and that time coincides with the last minute or two of a favorite television program, it may be worthwhile to give your son or daughter an extension of time so that the TV program can be finished first. If your son claims his brother isn’t doing a task correctly, check out the status yourself before taking sides and issuing a penalty. And if one of the kids takes it upon herself to do extra chores in hopes of a punishment reprieve (being “ungrounded, for example) or winning extra praise or allowance, be sure to set the record straight from the outset when making a chore list for children so that everyone knows the rules.
6. Rotate chores to teach new skills.
Every three to six months, you may want to rotate your children’s chores so they don’t get bored doing the same thing over and over. You can graduate each child to next level of difficulty or complexity, or simply change the routine to add variety. If your son is used to raking grass after mowing the lawn, the next rotation might let him start bagging and carrying the clippings to the burn pile or the trash bin. If another child has been trained to clear the table after supper, try letting him load and unload the dishwasher, as well as wipe counters and the stovetop.
7. Consider offering incentives.
If you offer an allowance, that will be incentive enough. If you don’t, you can use the chores for leverage to do other things, such as getting to see their friendsor go to the mall when they finish their housework first. Make chore-time a priority so they will understand its importance.
8. Graduate the chore list slowly.
The day your daughter turns 11 does not necessarily mean she is ready and able to start managing the family’s laundry. Maybe she is, and maybe she isn’t, but you need to give her time to learn any new task, test her progress, and check to be sure she follows through. Don’t dump an entire new load of chores on her at once, or you may arouse her resentment. Let her do her own laundry first, and if that goes well, after a few months add a sibling’s laundry, and then later, the rest of the family, if she is open to it.
9. Be flexible.
Vacations, illness, and impromptu visits can interfere with a schedule’s normal operation. Give your kid a break if the situation warrants, knowing that you, too, sometimes fail to do things exactly on schedule each day. It’s a good idea to spot-check your child’s ability to handle a new task to be sure it is done correctly. This will help to prevent the development of a bad habit.
10. Get your child’s input.
Give your child a choice of tasks. This will give him more of a sense of buy-in to the household routine as well as underscore the importance of his participation. Get in the habit of explaining your reason for assigning certain tasks so that kids learn how to do things correctly to please you and avoid punishment. Invite questions, have the child repeat back instructions to be sure he understands, and let your children know that you are available for help, if needed. Be prepared to listen if they suggest a better way of doing something, and give it a try, if possible.
Don’t worry about making a chore list for children. After consulting the pros and a little hit or miss on your part, your child and you should be able to develop a task schedule that everyone can live with. All it takes is patience and cooperation, so be prepared to work with your kids to develop a chore list for children that can train and equip them for growth and maturity.
If you have been following my article I have give you Chore/Behavior Chart links….
Here are a few more!