I have always been a big proponent of giving children of all ages “important” jobs and responsibilities around the house. It helps build character!
Daily and weekly chores for kids contribute to a healthy sense of routine and structure, allow children to experience mastery of their tasks (which supports self-confidence) and instill a sense of belonging and value to their families.
Here are five easy parenting tips for how to involve children in household chores:
- Keep activities age-appropriate. Chores are most beneficial for children when they can do the tasks successfully. Toddlers can help put toys away in a bin and 3- and 4-year-olds can stack toilet paper rolls under the sink. Little ones can “fold” kitchen towels, tidy their beds or put bath toys away after bath time. As you encourage your child to help with chores, remind yourself to be realistic about your expectations of what this “tidying” might actually look like for a toddler or preschooler!
- Help facilitate kids’ chores. Supervision and teamwork are important to ensuring children’s safety and making sure they complete their assigned tasks.
- Provide positive reinforcement. Reinforce children’s involvement in household chores by providing encouragement and expressing gratitude, as opposed to giving praise. (“Wow! Look at how hard you’re working! You’re getting this job done! Thank you for being so helpful, you’re saving me so much time.”)
- Refrain from correction or criticism. Avoid reacting negatively to the quality of the tasks children do. Young children may only focus on a task for a few minutes and get quickly distracted. Be specific with your instructions and break chores down to small tasks to set them up for success. If you feel they need some redirection, do so lovingly and encourage them. (“I know you can do it! Let’s go ahead and finish the job and then we can play.”)
- Incorporate learning and fun. Chores are a great way to help children build character, learn about responsibility and even have some fun while getting the job done!
For additional ways to instill positive character traits in your child, check out our helpful parenting resources.