Why delegate chores to your children?
It is important to delegate chores to your children so that you have help at home and so that they can learn to take care of themselves. Contributing to the family in this fashion will teach your children self-discipline, enhance their self-esteem and build a sense of pride through achievement. Please remember that chores are not meant to be a punishment and we don’t want our children to view them as such.
Should you pay for chores? We believe that the work children do in the home should be classified in two groups, chores and jobs.
Each family member should contribute to taking care of his person and to the household duties on a regular basis without pay. We call these tasks chores. Children will learn that adults do a lot of things in life without pay and that their contribution to the home is expected. Chores should include daily and weekly tasks with emphasis on taking care of oneself and one’s things.
Jobs, on the other hand, are different. Children need to learn how to seek employment, negotiate wages, have an opportunity to earn pocket money and learn to manage money. What better place to learn these skills than at home? Jobs at home can include any tasks not already delegated as chores, along with seasonal and project tasks. You can assign dollar values to jobs and let your children choose their work, or better yet, you can teach your children initiative and job hunting skills by letting them look for work around the house that needs to be done and, if it will be helpful to you, you can pay them for it.
Start Early. It comes very naturally for children to want to help out at a young age and we must not discourage it. Even a two–year–old can put napkins on the table for dinner, but if you have never asked your 14-year-old to do chores, trying to get her to put napkins on the table will be an ordeal.
Assign both daily and weekly chores. Your children’s chores should include daily tasks, such as putting away their things as they use them and setting the table. Save weekends for the bigger jobs such as cleaning their rooms and other rooms in the house.
Start by having the children take care of themselves. When assigning chores to your children, start with those that involve taking care of his or her own self. Like anything in life, we must learn to be independent before we can become interdependent, and it is much easier for children to do things for themselves than for others.
Coach your children through their chores. It may seem time-consuming at first, but every time a child takes on a new chore he needs to be trained and supervised before he can undertake it alone. Make your expectations clear and take the time to show your child the way you would like things done and the way it should look when it is finished. You may have to stay with your child two or three times before he gets it right and can do it on his own, but the time you spend coaching him will be time well spent.
Be generous with your praise. Your children are not going to be able to complete their chores the way you would for quite some time. Do not complain about their efforts. Be patient and praise your child often for their contributions.
Homework comes first. Make sure your child takes care of his or her schoolwork before all other chores. Most children do best by taking care of their homework right after school. A snack, a chat and then into the homework helps set the pace for the rest of the evening. It clears the way for family discussion at dinner and a relaxing evening that eases into bedtime.
Rotate your children’s chores. Rotating your children’s chores will go a long way to avoiding the boredom and complacency that can occur if children have to do the same thing over and over again. Record the children’s schedule on your Family Organizer or other spot on your communications board.
Delegate your family chores. Take a minute to delegate some household chores. Remember: What you don’t delegate, you will end up doing yourself.
Use our chore charts to delegate and get help at home.