‘It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do themselves that will make them successful human beings.’
Doing chores is a tradition in many families. Chores help children learn responsibility, and discipline in life. It is very important for a child to feel needed and to know that they too make a remarkable contribution in the family. For this a child has to have some responsibilities. As hard as it is, do not do everything for your children. Let them do what they can. Remember, the quote: ‘fish for me & feed me for a day…. Teach me to fish & feed me for a lifetime.’?
Here are a few age appropriate chores that children under 8 can do. Teach your children these and help them have an independent life.
- Wake up and brush their teeth without being asked.
- Wash hands before and after every meal.
- Eat their food by themselves.
- Pick up their plates and put them in the sink.
- Keep their toys in place after playing.
- Remove and keep their shoes in the shoe rack.
- Learn to tie their shoes.
- Water plants.
- Hang their wet towel in its proper place for drying rather than dumping it someplace.
- Help pack their snack box. Put a napkin and water bottle in their bags.
- Learn to sit and read or do their homework without an adult sitting beside.
- Go off to bed without fuss at a fixed time.
- Put their dirty clothes for wash in the laundry basket.
- Pick out own school clothes and keep them ready.
- Pack their school bags at night.
- Follow a hygiene routine. Very essential to teach this to kids from a young age.
- Help buying groceries. This is something all kids love to do. Pick up things wanted from the racks and place them in the trolley.
- Peel basic vegetables and help in cooking.
- Cook simple foods, such as toasts or non-fire ones.
- Fold small clothes like a napkin or a pair of shorts.
- Keep their book shelf clean by piling / stacking books neatly.
- Keep their stationary in one big box in a fixed place.
- Help in setting the table or making the bed.
- Carry their own school bags.
- Clear the spilled food after eating.
We as parents may think our child is very small to do these household chores. However, kids are more capable than we assume them to be. What’s important is to understand that we cannot expect perfection. Every parent should have a relaxed approach to how well the kid is doing his/her their chores. Praise and encourage the child while the chores are in progress. Also, teach your kid how to do the chore. Remember, kids learn what they see. So, show your child how to do the chore step by step. Next, let your child help you do it. Then let the child do it with you supervising. Once, the child has mastered it, he/she is ready to go solo.
Parents need to keep in mind that teaching kids any kind of work requires patience and perseverance. Doing chores helps children learn about what they need to do to care for themselves, a home and a family. They learn skills beneficial to them in their adulthood. When children contribute to family life, it helps them feel competent and responsible. The secret to for involving children in household chores is asking for contributions that you value and that suits your child’s age and abilities. Using a reward chart and consistent motivation will help kids to complete the given chores. Remember, lots of encouragement keeps children interested in helping.