As part of any good behavior management plan, it is important that children have regular chores to do. Chores teach children that as part of a family, everyone needs to share in the workload. Chores can also teach children responsibility.
Discipline with chores teaches children how to become responsible adults. And since most adults have to do chores and take care of responsibilities, it is important that children begin learning this at an early age. Children can begin to have their own chores by about the age of 4 and more complex chores should be added as they grow older.
Chores for Preschoolers
Preschool children can be given simple chores that involve picking up after themselves. For example, their chores should include picking up their toys each day. They can also begin to learn how to pick up their room and put their dishes away after a meal. These sorts of chores teach them that they need to be responsible for their own messes.
Young children can respond well to a sticker chart to help remind them to do their chores. Since preschoolers usually can’t read, a chart with pictures of each chore can be a reminder to them. Then once they’ve completed each chore, they can earn a sticker. A sticker can be enough of an incentive for young children while older children will need more of a reward to motivate them.
Chores for School Age Children
When children begin attending school, their responsibility with chores should increase as well. School age children should continue with chores that relate to picking up after themselves. For example, teach children to put their shoes and backpacks away when they get home from school.
School age children can also be given new chores as well. For example, helping to care for a pet can be a great way for them to begin increasing their responsibility.
As chores become more complex, it is important to teach them in a step-by-step manner how to do each chore. For example, if a child is expected to put his own clothes away, be sure to teach him where to put the clothes and discuss your expectations. Be sure to praise them for their efforts and encourage them to keep practicing. Don’t expect perfection.
Chores for Tweens
As children become tweens, their ability to complete more complex chores increases. Begin giving them chores such as sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, and even washing the car.
Tweens are often motivated by money or electronics. So be sure to implement a reward system for completing their chores. Positive consequences will keep them motivated. For example, allow them to earn tokens for each chore which can be exchanged for time using video games.
Avoid power struggles when kids don’t complete their chores. For example, if a child refuses to take out the trash, don’t argue about. Simply don’t allow him to earn his incentive. This is similar to a real-life consequence of when an adult doesn’t go to work and as a result, doesn’t get paid.
Chores for Teenagers
Teenagers need to be given chores that will help prepare them for the real world. When thinking of chores for teenagers, consider real life skills they will need as an adult. For example, they need to be able to cook, clean the bathroom, mow the lawn, and do the laundry. If you have concerns that your child lacks basic skills in any area, it’s a good idea to teach them now.
It can be very helpful to teenagers to earn an allowance for doing their chores. This is the best way to teach kids about money. Provide them with regular chores to do as well as extra incentives to do more. For example, give your teen a list of extra chores that can be worth a little extra money. Cleaning the basement, vacuuming out the car, or organizing the bookshelves for extra cash can provide teenagers with an opportunity to make good decisions.