THREE CHEERS FOR CHORES!
You owe it to your kids to make chores mandatory. Here are a few reasons why:
- Chores endow kids with the skills they’ll need to lead successful adult lives. Household skills are not less important than others.
- Chores increase a young person’s sense of significance. Everyone needs to feel needed, and kids are no exception.
- Chores are character-building. Kids who grow up without having to do any of the “dirty work” around the house are more likely to look down upon those who do. Kids who do chores are less selfish and more apt to develop a servant’s heart.
MAKING CHORES WORK
- Chores provide kids with opportunities to learn responsibility. They learn to fulfill obligations, honor commitments and meet deadlines. They learn to organize their lives in such a way that they will be able to do both what they want to do and what they have to do.
It’s never easy to get kids to do chores or to eliminate the hassles associated with them. But here are some things you can do to make them work better in your family.
1. If it’s not too late, start giving your kids chores when they are young. Kids who had chores as children are more likely to do them as teenagers without complaining.
2. If you or your kids don’t like the sound of the word “chores,” call them something else, like “contribution” or simply “responsibilities.”
3. Assign chores to everyone in the family, not just the kids. Teenagers aren’t servants, so don’t make them do all the things that you don’t want to do. Let them see that parents have chores too.
4. Make sure everyone knows exactly what his or her chore is, how it is to be done, and when it should be completed. Be specific and reasonable.
5. Don’t punish kids by assigning them chores
6. Make sure your child has (or knows how to get) all he or she needs to complete the job successfully. Help your child be as self-sufficient as possible in his or her chores.
7. Don’t do your child’s chores for him or her, even though it may be convenient to do so.
8. Make chores age-appropriate. Teenagers can and should do something more meaningful than take out the trash. They can help with laundry, meal preparation, caring for automobiles, the lawns, gardens, family finances, etc.
9. Let kids have some choice or flexibility in the chores they do an also how they do them.
10. Give each person in the family his or her own chores rather than assigning shared chores. This will reduce arguing, finger-pointing and blaming when the chore isn’t done.
11. Create a family “chore chart” if that helps. All chores are listed with the names of those responsible and can be checked off when done.
12. Don’t pay kids to do chores. It’s better to give them a set income separate from chores. If you pay kids to do chores, then they won’t do them unless they need money.
13. Connect chores with privileges and consequences. Kids need to understand that privileges come with responsibilities: "If you don’t want any responsibilities, then you obviously don’t want any privileges."
14. Don’t expect perfection. Resist the temptation to “fix” a finished chore even though you know you could do a better job.
15. Learn to delegate and distance yourself. Don’t hover over your kids or pester them about when they are going to get their chore done.
16. Always show appreciation when a chore has been completed.
17. Give your kids some constructive feedback they can use next time. Coach rather than criticize the work they do, offering suggestions and ideas for improving their work.
18. Hang in there. Your kids will do everything they can to get you to give up on chores now…but they’ll thank you later that you didn’t!