It is not what you do
for your children, but
what you have taught them to do themselves that will make them
successful human beings.
Summer time…June rolling….Vacation time…kids at home. Google bursting out with various ideas, each one claiming to have the best summer break plan/ camp/ half day camp, 3/4th camp…what not. Registration open, long queue, forms, fees, how many seats left….ooppppss…a lot to be taken care of. Well, I know it’s a concern if both the parents have committed job. How can kids be at home? Also, for stay at home mom… it is tough. No routine, no timetable, endless screen time, no studies and a messy bedroom.
The pressure of keeping them entertained, engaged constructively becomes a stress. Some parents develop big guilt termed as PSG (Parental summer guilt), when their kids stayed home rather than getting out.
An energetic kids at home…..with too much free time may get tiring.
So, along with all the chosen activities which kids have enrolled already , why not finding ways to teach them few life skills, at home. I have been practicing it this summer and the results are productive and satisfying. And the teaching is through “HOUSEHOLD CHORES” !! Yes, Absolutely!
Kids who do chores learn responsibility and gain important life skills that serve them well throughout their lives. They feel competent when they do their chores. Whether they’re making their bed or they’re sweeping the floor, helping out around the house gives them a sense of accomplishment. Seeing the rise in self confidence will give you immense pleasure.
True that…animals don’t have to do household chores, but in nature, purposeful play is typical. When a kitten pounces on a ball of wool, it’s learning vital skills for its future survival as a hunter. Puppies chasing their own tails are developing motor skills and spatial awareness. A bird stretching its wings in the nest is preparing for flight.It’s never too early to get kids involved helping with household chores. Kids as young as 2 or 3 years old can lay the foundations for skills which will become useful later in life. They’ll learn that these duties are a part of daily life and that everyone has a role to play in running the household.
You know your child the best, their area of interest, what they enjoy to do. So, be selective, easy make it interesting. Also your initial participation should be equal. This is a tender age, and when little hands struggle to complete their chores with the degree of skill that an adult possesses, it can be tempting for parents and caregivers to simply do the work themselves in the interest of saving time. So, hold on to patience.
While their efforts may make only a small contribution or none at this stage, you’re teaching them a bunch of life skills as-
- Self-Sufficiency and Independence
- A Sense of Responsibility
- The Knowledge That a Feeling of Accomplishment Accompanies a Job Well-Done
- Time management
- Basic Life skills
- An appreciation of good work and cleanliness
- Team work
- Strong work ethics
So here I am sharing few ideas to divide the chores as per the age and interest. Since, no one knows your child better than you so choose as per their maturity and interest.
Ages 2 and 3
- Assist in making their beds
- Pick up playthings with your supervision
- Take their dirty laundry to the laundry basket
- Fill a pet’s water and food bowls (with supervision)
- Help a parent clean up spills and dirt
- Dust with supervision
Ages 4 and 5
- Get dressed with minimal parental help
- Make their bed with minimal parental help
- Bring their things from the car to the house
- Pick up their toys
- Wash hands
- Set the table with supervision
- Clear the table with supervision
- Help a parent prepare food
- Help a parent carry in the lighter groceries
- Sort colors for the laundry
- Match socks after clothing is washed
- Answer the phone with parental assistance
Ages 6 and 7
- Make their bed every day
- Brush teeth
- Comb hair
- Choose the day’s outfit and get dressed
- Write thank you notes with supervision
- Be responsible for a pet’s food, water and exercise
- Vacuum individual rooms
- Wet mop individual rooms
- Dust individual rooms
- Fold laundry with supervision
- Put their laundry in their drawers and closets
- Put away dishes from the dishwasher
- Help prepare food with supervision
- Clean their room when asked
- Empty indoor trash cans
- Answer the phone calls with supervision
Ages 8 to 11
- Take care of personal hygiene
Keep bedroom clean
- Be responsible for homework
- Be responsible for belongings
- Write thank you notes for gifts
- Wake up using an alarm clock
Few important tips to make it interesting for them:
At this age, at times it’s troublesome to make them listen or make them do something which they are not so willing to do. So, here are the ideas which I use…with my son.
- Vacuum play – When its vacuum time, we decide songs as per the rooms, like play a song and complete that room (cleaning+entertainment together). Start and end the job with the song. ( my 8 yrs uses headphone and i connect the song with my phone)
- Laundry sorting – We play socks game, like sorting socks and deciding who among us has the maximum number this week. (8 yr and 3 yrs both participate)
- Helping with the food preparations: I personally do not want them in the kitchen as 10 minutes job turns into a 40 mins chores with non stop commentary. Like when I asked my elder one to help me with breakfast, he was good with a frothy omelet and toast. The eggs started rolling down the kitchen counter as my 3 yrs jumped in “to help” with the step stool. The result was 3 cracked eggs on the floor,a colorful omelette with few egg shells and a happy toddler. The kitchen cleaning took another 30 mins. But, this is the only way to make them learn.
- “Don’t be stingy with the praise”- Yes, keep the flow of praise and encouragement on throughout and don’t wait the job to be completed for showering it.
- I still lack ideas for helping him the waste bins. Please share any ideas if you have.
- Be specific with your instructions – Just”Clean your room” to a toddler, sounds vague. So be more precise like put your toys in the toy box, board games in its cabinet, and books in the book shelves.
- Every kid matures at there own time – Choose the chores from the given list as per your kids maturity and not age always.
A takeaway here to be at peace with imperfection. Yes it might take your kid six minutes to peel a potato,and there will still be some bit of skin left on it. In a book, Lythcott – Haims adds, ” Its no fun for them if you ask them to do something and micromanage every step. They won’t do it as well or as efficiently as you- accept that – but they will get better and better every time.
The key to success is to let children help as soon as they’re ready. Start as early as possible in your kids lives and make it fun. Recognize their changing needs as they grow up and adapt how they help in line with their development. Never use chores as a punishment and always give praise where praise is due. If you follow these basic principles, your kids will learn to help, cooperate, and be responsible members of the household and the broader community.
Good luck and please share