Having three children means there is always some or other household chore that needs doing. Five people in one house means there is always laundry, always vacuuming, always dishes that need sorting. Always beds that are needing to be made and bathrooms that need cleaning.
I am a believer in getting children to help maintain the family home. Of course, the bulk of this falls to me as I am a work at home mom. I almost said SAHM just then, but my youngest is now at school full day, everyday. So I work from home , blogging and designing websites 3 days a week and I work in a school for the other two days.
Anyway, I’m getting off the point. I feel that now with a 5, 7 and 9 year old, chores are more easily shared. In our home we are lucky enough that my children do not need to share bedrooms and that we have a family room where all toys are kept. This means that I don’t have the battle of enforcing tidying of shared rooms. My children cannot blame each other for the mess in their own bedroom. They are responsible for their own space. I do have expectations of each of them. Their rooms are a prime example. I require them to keep their space tidy. To make their own beds each morning and to hang up their school uniforms each day, ready for the next school day. They also have to put away their pyjamas in the morning. Obviously I don’t expect the same level of competency from my 5 year old as I would from my 9 year old. Her bed making ability is far more refined but she receives the same praise as the 5 year old who pretty much only manages to straighten his covers. It’s that age appropriate scale.
Shared spaces are a little more difficult to control. We recently converted our garage (the car did not fit in it, like most garages in the UK) into a family room and moved all the children’s toys from their rooms into this shared space. I was concerned that it would cause trouble because I anticipated them saying…but I didn’t make that mess, V did it. I expected them to try wheedle their way out of cleaning up by leaving it to the more willing sibling. But so far so good. It seems that the novelty of the new space is working and , along with a huge de-clutter of toys, we now have a more streamlined set up, with appropriate storage. This makes it is easy to tidy and I think that may be the key.
I’ve told you I am a believer in getting children to help at home, but I’ve not shared why I support this viewpoint. Apart from being raised to help at home in my childhood home, I have done extensive reading up about this topic, especially in regard to the appropriate ages for children to begin helping. What I found out only served to reinforce my view.
7 Reasons why children should do chores
- Chores teach children how to be empathetic and responsive to others’ needs. Being a helper makes a child aware of the tasks that need doing to run a family home and that if they don’t contribute it falls on someone else. I have found that younger children love being a helper. They love the feeling of accomplishment and how helping brings praise, often from their primary care-giver. I like to remind my children that they are making life in our home easier for everyone, not just me, by being a helper. It makes them see themselves as an integral part of their family and enhances their feeling of being part of a team. This teaches them the importance of community and responsibility. Chores teach children that as part of a family, everyone needs to share in the workload, that they are not just a duty but a way of taking care of each other
- Children who have regular household chores feel a sense of self-worth- they have an important job to do- and competency. As people, we all need to feel needed and to know that we’re making a contribution, chores help children to make a valuable contribution.
- Children who do chores tend to demonstrate responsibility in other areas of their lives. They are the ones who will offer to serve outside of the home. They tend to be the ones who others consider helpful and better behaved. Being responsible for chores helps develop a sense of initiative and fulfillment.
- Chore-doers exhibit a higher level of self-esteem. Children will feel more capable for having met their obligations and completed their tasks.
- Researchers say that children who do chores are better able to deal with frustration and to delay gratification. These character traits contribute to greater success in school.
- Giving children household chores at an early age helps to build a lasting sense of ability-being able to master a task, responsibility and self-reliance.
- Children who complete self-care tasks and help with household chores, are better equipped to function independently in the outside world. After all, as a parent you are not doing your child ( or their future partners) any favours if they leave home unable to operate the washing machine or have the basic skills to maintain a healthy hygiene standard in their own homes.
I am pleased to say that my children do their chores without a grumble. They even proudly took me to see how they made my bed for me this weekend.
So now you know I am a fan of getting children to help at home, that I think that the values taught through assigning chores are important. Do your children help at home? Do you think they should/ shouldn’t be helping?