Teaching through chores
November 27, 2012By Elizabette Andrade, of Germantown Avenue Parents
Teaching kids fundamental and practical like skills, such as the art and science of domestic life, should be a top priority for parents. Why? Simply because we are not always going to be there to do it for them, and we set them up for failure if we don’t teach them how.
Sure it’s great to sit and read a child a book about responsibility and modeling it ourselves, but getting them to participate in domestic life will yield life-long results. Rather than passively listening to mom and dad talk about all the hard work that comes with raising a family, consider engaging them in the process of teamwork. Involving children in the daily hustle and bustle of household chores is sure way to help them to:
- Understand the value of hard work
- Set patterns
- Value cleanliness
- Build self-esteem
- Build relationships
- Follow instructions
After all, it is our job as parents to socialize our children. Socialization has no legs without dependability, punctuality, responsibility and work ethic. Completing tasks or chores has a direct impact on all of the above.
Perhaps one reason why parents shun getting their kids on board is that it can be a time consuming and even frustrating venture. But in the long run, more hands means less work for Mom and Dad, and stronger values for the kids. Taking the time to teach kids chores not only reinforces a healthy work ethic, it also instills values of cooperation. Cooperation need not be a skill solely defined by team sports and extracurricular activities.
Age and developmental stage should always be factored in when assigning chores. As parents, we should have clear expectations as to what and how much a pre-schooler, pre-adolescent or teen can accomplish. There are a few sources out there which offer some insights into age-appropriate expectations, but ultimately it comes down to parents knowing their own child.
Having high expectations of our children challenges them to rise to the occasion, and as parents we need to keep in mind that without consistency and patience, it’s all a wash. Meeting our children where they are developmentally, being specific, offering ongoing praise and “thank you,” goes along way. Finally, as difficult as it may seem, don’t aim for perfection, at least not in the beginning. Instead, focus more on effort and less on outcome. They’ll get it eventually. They may not understand what it all means in the moment, but they will eventually.... proably when they are parents themselves!
There are many ways to go about instituting chores into your family life, and chore charts definitely help. Check them out here: