All parents want to see their children grow into well-adjusted adults who can look after themselves when they eventually leave the nest. A mother wants to know that her child will be able to keep their new house clean, cook even the simplest of meals, change a light bulb and load tokens to their electric metre.
But how do you get your child to this point? How do you ensure that your child can manage a home?
It starts when they are young, three or four years old. Children are very visual and often take an interest in what you are doing. If your child sees you doing chores, they will want to help. Instead of telling them no and pointing out that they won’t do it well, hand them a rug and let them help you dust the furniture.
It is inevitable that the first time your child does a particular chore they will do imperfectly. This can be chalked down to their age or the fact that it is their first attempt. Let them do it either way even if it means extra work for you because you have to redo it.
Teach your child how to do the work. Instead of giving them instructions, do the task with them, showing them how it’s done. And then leave them to do the work by themselves. Don’t micromanage.
Children find housework tedious and boring. To counter this, give them an incentive. Having something to look forward to when they complete their chores will motivate them to get the work done. For instance, tell them that they can watch an extra 20 minutes of TV if they complete their chores in 20 minutes or less.
Remind your child of their responsibilities until it becomes a habit. Don’t tire of this or do the chore yourself. This will teach your child that all they need to do is stall and mum will do the work for me. Chores like picking their dirty clothes off of the floor or putting their dirty plate in the sink when done repeatedly, will become second nature.
Create a duty roster which you put in a prominent place like on the fridge. Try to make sure that all your children have duties and that they all do their chores at the same time. This will create a sense of community and teach your child the value of working as a team to accomplish a common goal.
Avoid using chores as punishment. This will only serve to spoil your child’s attitude towards housework.
It is important for your child to learn how to do housework even if you have help. They will appreciate the help better and treat her with respect.