How to Help Your Kids Learn to Do Chores (Tried and True Tips!)
Kids should do chores.
First, parents can’t handle the responsibility of picking up after everyone in their homes. It’s not a decent thing to expect of anyone.
Second, I believe that hard work directly improves your life. I want my kids to recognize that, too.
Third, I want to build the habits of cleanliness and daily chores so that my kids are prepared to keep a clean home with minimal effort when they are adults. Or even start a cleaning side hustle.
Work with them
It is essential to work with your child’s mind instead of against it.
Your child probably can’t break a broad job like “Clean your Room” down into manageable tasks like put away laundry, toys, and clean the floor. They need you to help them do that.
Executive function skills are the skills and cognitive processes that let us break a task into easily conquered steps.
An important tool you can implement is scaffolding. This is when you help your child learn to break the task up into manageable chunks and then focus to see it finished.
An example :
“Clean your room. First, put all your laundry in the hamper. Then pick up your toys and put them in the box. Last, sweep your floor.” Then you need to be available to check their progress and remind them of the steps.
Build a Bridge
Scaffolding looks different for different ages.
For young children, this means that you may have to walk around the room and point out each toy for them to pick up and where to put it.
School-age kids can do familiar tasks easily. But you will probably need to walk them through new tasks and help them focus.
Tweens and teens should be familiar with many tasks but will need your help focusing. On bad days, they will still need help with planning familiar tasks, too.
Be forgiving of bad days. They’re going to happen!
Kids lack the ability to be consistent in work. A very important thing to do is plan chore time at the same time every day and to look out for triggers that may make it a struggle.
For instance, chore time here is during our afternoon nap/quiet time. My youngest kids (I have three, five and under!) are rested and able to concentrate better.
My tween can do his chores pretty independently.
But on days the nap doesn’t go well, I don’t force chores. I would rather not set my kids up for that struggle when I know they're just not capable yet.
Focus on teaching your kids to clean up after themselves. For my home, this means that I make sure my kids put their trash directly in the trash can, not on the floor. Laundry should immediately go in the hamper. Dishes are taken directly to the sink.
These will become second nature, and I won’t have to worry about picking up after them.
It’s definitely a struggle. It can be hard for them to remember, and it can be hard for me to be consistent.
See it as an opportunity to learn.
Kids can learn great character and habits doing daily chores. Fortitude, diligence, cleanliness, and work ethic can all be learned through chores.
They can also learn academic things. We watched baby robins hatch (check it out!) and grow to fledgling this spring while watering the garden every day! I also use cleaning to teach my kids to sort and organize, count, letter sounds, etc.
Do you make your kids do chores? Why? Let’s start a discussion! No wrong answers here!