Chores are one of the little things in life that can instil good habits. And it doesn’t have to be daunting to you or your kids. Starting your child on chores at a young age can make them not only more obedient but gain more self-discipline, self-worth help with time management skills and studying as they grow up.
One of Erik Erikson’s studies was dedicated to analyzing human behaviour and how one’s personality is developed over time. He listed his developmental theory into 8 stages. These stages correspond parallel to a person’s age in which different kinds of social crises present themselves. A person passes through each crisis depending on the psychosocial development stage they are in resulting in a person’s behaviour, developing either positively negatively.
Among children five years and up, the stage, ‘Industry vs. Inferiority’, describes a kid’s enthusiasm in being able to do tasks, being helpful and being credited for it. In other situations, however, they may also be quick to be overcome with shyness, like when they realize somebody can hear that they are singing. Considering this irony, this is the stage in which confidence is being honed. Whether they overcome being inferior and feel industrious; instead, parents should take this opportunity to introduce chores into their daily lives. It will be a challenging introduction to a new chapter in their lives, but the effort put into starting tasks with kids is well worth its rewards for the whole family.
For loving parents, the difficulties are in the upsets and temper tantrums thrown in reluctance to doing chores. It could go ugly as far as standing their ground and bargaining, crying and yelling to get away with not doing chores. Then there’s also laziness in tasks to consider, as the job won’t be done unless you put in the proper effort. As your child grows into their own, here are some helpful tips to ease them into chores.
1 – Setting Up a Reward System
As adults, we are incentivized to work by the salaries and bonuses given in exchange; the same can be applied with kids. If you give them appropriate rewards they value, they will be more inclined to do their chores. For toddlers, a simple sticker star collection for chores finished may even work. Upon completion, reward them with their favourite toy, and Voila! Everyone is happy. For the old ones, they may be more compelled to put in the work if you suggest rewards like increased gadget and screen playtime, a day out with a friend, movie tickets and other things.
As your child grows and changes, so should your chores and reward system, for from toddlers to kids, this could mean packing away toys to putting away dinner plates in the dishwasher. Older kids may even move on from general cleaning chores which you can always find a nanny to do, to more odd chores like car-washing and lawn mowing.
Put a list of tasks on the fridge or the wall and let them mark chores completed. If they’ve finished sweeping the house, let’s say, 15 minutes before the supposed time given to do so, you can give them more time to play, or watch TV, or sleep with the sticker stars they have earned. Look to slowly lessen the reward structure over time, since it should be perceived as a responsibility and not a thing to do whenever they want a reward.
In the end, you should never forget to give out the promised reward. Be a steward of your word. Kids look up to you, so if you don’t keep your word, they are more than likely to be discouraged next time.
2 – Boredom vs. Chores
It’s time for chores, yet all of your kids are stubbornly sat glued to the TV. What should you do? Remove the power source, usually the WiFi or the TV (for the younger ones) so that they see that you are serious about their chores.
While all of them are working on their chores, they can get a sense of togetherness in taking responsibility for their chores. Nobody has to feel that one is being punished with it while the others are just relaxing. This approach is called “Boredom vs. Chores”. In dealing with kids nowadays, bargaining with their gadget time, online time or social media time seems to work. Since these distract them more than anything else, clarify to them that you will cut it if they refuse the work. This is somehow putting them into a position where they will realize it’s their call if they want to play or not. They can get mad at you or keep lazing around, but they will become bored and value the reward more. This also encourages them to put finishing the chores here and now rather than putting it off for later.
3 – Call For Third-Party Backup
Did you notice your kid is more active in school than at home when it comes to doing chores? They quickly and happily obey their teachers, principal, and coaches more than doing so with you. But when they reach the house, the dynamics change. They become hard-headed or overly confident around you.
Parents, ideally, bring their kids to school to learn what they themselves cannot teach. And the school is expected to deliver just this. While the authorities in school in this scenario are called the third-party backup, the children perceive their rules as more rigid and less flexible, unlike at home where there is more intimate one on one discussion. You can threaten to take away or lessen school privileges like replacing lunch money with packed lunch or field trips and school fete events.
You can also look at in home child care services as an alternative source of authority to introduce. These are trained nannies who have dealt with and overcome disobedience many a times. Child care nannies can also teach you some new tricks you didn’t know about handling your upset child.
Another way to do this is when the kid spends a lot of time using the iPad. You’d be surprised at how an alarm could work like a charm for kids to know when to stop. It’s not uncommon for kids to try to slide out of chores by asking for five more minutes of game time, hoping parents will forget, and forget themselves. That’s why sometimes, a third party has to be established to avoid bargaining.
4 – Chores Are Not Punishment
In general, kids dislike doing chores. So don’t use chores in punishing your child. Except if it’s to cover another issue, where doing a sibling’s chore after they’ve done something wrong can show sorry they are. This will serve as their sincere apology rather than a punishment.
Never underestimate the power of communication while applying these. Take time in explaining to your kids why you impose rules so they would understand the bearing of their actions. This way, respect is established over fear in doing their chores.