After a wonderfully unstructured summer, my household now appears alarmingly haphazard, especially where my kids are concerned. As our daily routine became more relaxed during the lazy days of summer, chores slowly fell to the wayside. The kids ran around the neighbourhood all week long (minor exaggeration), only stopping in at home long enough to refuel and grab new gear. It was a big deal to get their help folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher, as this encroached too much on their summer playtime, but I’ve got a newsflash for them . . . it’s chore time again! And note to self – do not let chores fall to the wayside next summer.
Make chores a regular habit for your kids by choosing tasks based on age and ability. Little ones can help sort laundry, make the bed and clean up toys, while older children can vacuum, unload the dishwasher and take out the trash. If everyone chips in, there’s less work for Mom and Dad, and routines for chores reduce family stress.
Consistency is the key to success. Choose specific times for chores such as after breakfast, after school or before bedtime so that chores become routine. Kids will do less whining and more work when they know what to expect.
Lead by example. When kids see that all family members have tasks to do, they will realize that work is a normal part of life. Work alongside each other so they feel they are part of a team. Good work habits will help them become capable and confident kids.
Keep chores manageable. Make sure things are organized around the house so when your child needs to put shirts in her dresser, she isn’t faced with an overflowing and messy drawer. Also, keep chores to a doable timeframe. Kids will lose focus and become frustrated if the task is too challenging or takes too long to complete.
Don’t micromanage! Often times, we take care of tasks ourselves because it’s quicker and easier than waiting for our child to do it. Kids typically take longer and may not be as detailed in their work, but this will improve with practice and time.
It’s normal to find it challenging to implement regular chores for your kids, but don’t let that stop you from sticking with it. Start them young and be consistent, as they will eventually come to understand the value of work and it will go a long way to creating later success in careers and relationships.
Do you need more help with chores? Check out these fun family chore charts for every kid and adult in your family.
By Kirsten Wint