Chores (or "contributions" in our household) are the angst of many parents. How do we get our kids to take care of their business and at what age should they start? Going back to a previous post, I challenge you to think about the future. Do you want your 13 year old to make their bed, put their clothes away, etc.? If you do, start laying the foundation as soon as possible. Children as young as two and three are able to pick up toys, help clear the table (non breakable items of course!), etc. The earlier you start, the more successful you will be in developing this habit. There is a wonderful benefit to giving your child chores: It helps build self-esteem! Chores give children the opportunity to contribute to the family. A friend was telling me last week how she gave her five year old some chores to do and was pleasantly surprised at how proud her child was after they were completed.
One caveat for all those perfectionists out there -- do not expect that things will get done to your high standardss. Praise your child for their attempts and leave it at that. Any criticisms will deflate any desire on their part to try again and will send them the message "I knew you couldn't do it right" (which ultimately has the opposite effect on their self-esteem). So bite your lip and give them time to dig doing their chores. Pointers can be given at a later date and time and will be well received if given in the right spirit.
So, my challenge for you this week is to find two to three chores for your child that you know they are able to do. We will discuss next time how to present the idea of chores to your kids.