Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

My Take on Chores and Children

By Zen_sheila @BeZensational

In keeping with this weeks theme of “solutions” let’s explore children and chores.  You might not want to give your child chores.  You might have had many chores as a child and feel you don’t want your child to have to do anything.  Maybe you want things to be easier for your kid… then how you grew up.  You might not want to hand out chores because you don’t want the child to think you’re mean.  Maybe you don’t want to give them a chore because it’s more of a chore for you in the long run… the whining, the complaining, etc.

First off there are chores that benefit kids of all ages!  A toddler can help fold clothes or match socks.  Older kids can do laundry, dishes, or take care of pets.  Chores are a valuable part of life because they teach the person how to be a part of the family unit — a part of a community. Chores for young children also develop hand eye coordination and all chores instill independence, responsibility, and some type of skill.

The second thing to remember about chores is that they are probably not going to be done to the best of your ability.  I say this with a smile because we all know that as parents we have to re-do things we’ve asked our children to do.  The point is that we instill the value of chores in our children by trusting them with the chore in the first place.  We’re not asking them to do it perfectly… we’re asking them to participate.

In my experience raising three children, I’ve had many times when I’ve had to remind them to do their chores.  I have found that offering up an alternative chore is a great option to get them motivated.  For instance I might say “I’ll do your dishes if you would rather go out and clean up the dog poop”… or… “I’ll be happy to feed the dog if you’d rather clean the toilet.”  Suddenly their chore isn’t as daunting and usually is completed fairly quickly.

There’s always been a debate about whether or not to compensate a child for chores.  I’ve tried it both ways.  I soon learned that paying my child to do something taught them nothing.  Helping out around the house with a set chore every day (taking out the garbage, feeding the dog, doing the dishes) was something that was done as a result of being part of the family and therefore not compensated.  Teaching them how to do laundry and letting them cook now and then proved to be a valuable asset as they matured.

How do you feel about chores for your children?

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