Advice Behavior Problems Child Development Chores for children Motivating Kids Parenting Tools

Chores are good for children, even if they’re a pain in the neck for you to have to remind them to do

Chores are good for children, even if they’re a pain in the neck for you to have to remind them to do

I realize the issue of chores for children is controversial. Some parents are in favor and some parents believe kids have more important things to do, such as homework and extracurricular activities.

I favor childhood chores because a growing body of research indicates just how beneficial they are for children. These benefits are exactly what Reflective Parenting aims to help parents provide for their child. 

  • Having chores as a child leads to greater success and better life skills for children in the long run.
  • Children develop a healthy balance between achievement and caring about others
  • By being a part of taking care of the household tasks, a child becomes aware of the needs of others.
  • When children see themselves as necessary to the family it fills that deep desire we all have to feel needed
  • Children who help with family chores have a greater sense of obligation and connectedness to their parents
  • This connection to parents enables them to deal better with life’s stressful moments

How being reflective will help you get your child to do their chores. If you are like most parents, you hate having to nag kids. And if your child is like most children, they are neither cheerful nor thankful about chores.

  • But isn’t that the whole point of chores?
  • Chores are about teaching the lesson that even if you don’t naturally feel like doing the chore, you do it because it is helpful towards others.
  • If you self-reflect you will realize there are chores you do in a grumpy manner and wouldn’t do unless someone else you live with needed you to.
  • Reflective Parenting encourages parents to empathize and to realize that what their children feels is normal and understandable.
  • There is often a parallel learning process for parents and children: Your child isn’t happy about doing the chore. You are not happy about having to always make them do the chore. But you both have to do it anyway.

Parenting Tip: If you’re spending more time getting your child to do the chore than it would take to do it yourself, then you’re doing it right.

There is no magic formula that will make it easier to get your child do their chores.

  • It boils down to this: Insisting and Persisting/Repeating and Practice
  • You have to show your child what you want them to do, watch them do it, and help them to improve as they are learning; In some cases you have to do it over and over
  • It is recommended that allowance not be connected with doing chores. Some kids aren’t that motivated by money and will choose to skip the chores. Also, chores are about learning to be responsible towards others, not about acquisition for yourself.

Some guiding principles to keep in mind

  • Accept no excuses. Don’t worry if you must repeat yourself again and again.
  • Forget about children doing chores with a smile, without an attitude or without nagging. For quite a while the main goal is just doing the chore.
  • Don’t expect perfection. You can bet on the fact that your child almost certainly, will not do the job up to your standards… without years of training.  So lighten up.
  • Start early.Even very young kids are more capable than you think.
  • Be generous with praise. Don’t just praise when the job is done. Be praising and encouraging even while the chore is in progress.
  • Be as consistent as possible When you don’t regularly follow through, your child learns to put it off and wait it out until someone else does it.

For more on this subject, including research details and suggestions for age appropriate chores: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/chores-for-children#1  and https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/18/opinion/sunday/children-chores-parenting.html

 

About

About

As a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, I have been in private practice for over 35 years, with a special interest in parents and couples.

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Nothing from November 16, 2018 to May 16, 2019.