Parenting,  Stories

Mom’s little elves: Training your kids to do household chores

“Why do I have to do everything around here?”

“Why can’t you guys be more helpful around the house?”

“Please help me… I can’t do everything myself, you know?!”

Most parents – especially moms like me – have probably uttered these words at one point or another (or maybe you just said them to yourself while complaining inwardly about all the chores you need to do.)

If you have never thought or said those things, then good for you!

But if you have, do not despair. You are definitely not alone, and you definitely don’t have to say or think them again if you can simply get your family members to help you do the chores!

And by “family members,” we mean the kids too (if you have them!).

Yes, kids are very capable of pitching in with the house chores.

But don’t take our word for it.

Heed what teacher and mom of two Clar Mariano-Ligon has to say on the matter. Mariano-Ligon is a faculty member of the College of Education in Miriam College and an active volunteer in the GURO and Gurong Lingkod programs where she conducts various training programs for daycare workers, elementary teachers, and parents.

Developmentally-appropriate chores

According to Mariano-Ligon, who has an M.A. in Special Education, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Family Studies, children are capable of doing household chores as long as they are “developmentally-appropriate” for their age. “If they can do monkey bars, they can surely do simple chores,” she emphasizes.

“Allowing children to do chores enables them to be independent, builds their confidence and self-esteem, and allows them to be a responsible part of the family. Even children as young as 2.5 to 3 years old, can contribute to chores by properly packing their things away.”

Tips for getting kids to do chores

To help us get kids involved in doing household chores, Mariano-Ligon shares the following tips:

1. Use chore charts.
Chore charts will allow children to remember what they need to do for the day without having to ask you. They also get instant feedback and recognition once a check mark or a star is posted on the chart. This then helps boost their confidence and self-esteem, knowing that they were able to accomplish something.

2. Praise your child.
When your child helps with chores, recognize the effort they put in, no matter how small it is. Knowing that you appreciate what they did will motivate them to do the chore again the next day.

3. Be consistent.
When the children know that you expect them to do a specific chore at a certain time of the day, it will become part of their routine / system, and eventually it will stop feeling like a chore.

4. Make it a family habit.
Doing a chore alone can be boring, but if a child does it with a family member, it can become a bonding experience for the two of them. For example, my husband would often wash our car on Sundays, and my eldest son would join him. Now, my other son joins them, making it an instant family bonding activity, shares Mariano-Ligon.

5. Don’t do it for them.
If your child does not do a daily chore assigned to them – for example: putting their clothes inside the cabinet – don’t do it for them. Let it be. You may give them a reminder, but if they still don’t do it, wait it out. Once the clothes have piled up, they will then realize that it’s better to do their chores daily.

Believe in what kids can do
Children can really be a great asset when it comes to helping around the home. We just need to guide and teach them in doing so. It may take some time and effort but it will be all worth it. The life lessons, values, and discipline household chores will instill in your kids, not to mention having a tidier house will be the stuff of their childhood. And if ever you find yourself stressing over kids and their chores, just remember this verse: “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing.” (Psalm 127:3) Having kids is awesome, having ones that do house chores is a plus-plus.

 

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez

Tina is a Catholic wife and home educating mom by vocation, and a writer and editor by profession. Drawing from over a decade's worth of of experience serving as a fulltime mission worker, and almost ten years of married life with children, Tina also gives talks on topics like parenting, homeschooling, and family life, and is currently working on her first book about being a "truly rich mom." She is also the host of "The Truly Rich Mom Show," an online TV show that airs on Bukal.TV and Youtube.

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