Did you see the article we posted a while ago about how children actually benefit a great deal from chores? It was insightful in that it went beyond the obvious benefits of learning practical life skills (like cleaning, laundry and cooking) to identify long term benefits such as
- more likely to succeed in adulthood
- better understanding of abstract mathematical concepts when they are introduced later
- ability to delay gratification (instilling a work first, play later mentality lead to “teens and young adults who were more socially competent, better able to deal with frustration, more dependable, reached higher educational attainments, and were effectively able to make and reach long-term goals”)
- gain a sense of purpose through contribution which leads to self-motivation and success throughout life
Give your children the gift of chores!
Anytime is the perfect time to re-evaluate your children’s contributions around the house and perhaps up their game with some good old fashioned purposeful work, like cleaning. As a gauge you can use the list of age appropriate chores below. Some people might read this list and not believe it is possible. But believe it! Your children are capable. They show us just how capable they are every day in the classroom. You may need to let go of perfection, but what your children will gain in the long run is well worth it.
If you would like your young child to not only do these chores, but also enjoy contributing to the household, consider following these tips:
- Never force the child – you can work alongside each other and step in when they need help
- Look for child sized items (brooms, mops and utensils) to give the greatest success (Montessori Services is a great place to stock up).
- Slow down! Take time to show your child how to do these tasks. Keep your movements slow, and limit talking at the same time – this makes it easier for them to copy you.
- Let go of perfection! – you may find that the spill is not completely wiped up, or the toys not perfectly aligned on the shelf, but accept that the child is doing the best that they can and offer small points of interest to encourage their awareness and growth such as, “Your rag is very damp. You wiped up a lot of water. I can see even more water on the floor. Can you find it?”
- Scaffold skills – start with one step at a time and build on it
- Enjoy yourselves – if it starts to feel like hard work, come back to it in a couple of weeks