All work and no play? No way! It can be difficult to encourage children to participate in daily routines and chores at home. Chores are hard for all of us to complete at times. However, chores don’t have to be all work and no play! By utilizing several simple strategies, doing chores can turn into fun activities for the whole family to complete together.
Participating in chores is a very important part of development. Completing household tasks will foster increased independence and self-esteem within your child. Your child will also learn the importance of working together. He or she will gain a sense of accomplishment and pride once tasks are completed, which will build internal motivation to continue participating in chores in the future.
For more information on selecting developmentally appropriate chores for children of all ages, please see the previous blog Household Chores for Children by Age. By selecting age-appropriate chores, you will help maximize your child’s success. In addition to establishing realistic expectations for your child, you can utilize the following strategies to take the “chore” out of doing chores!
Make chores into a game:
Be creative with the daily routine! Have a race with your child to see who can complete their task first. Try to beat the clock or timer while cleaning up toys. Turn the task into a sport, like shooting baskets with clothes into the laundry hamper.
Create a secret mission for your child to complete. Make an obstacle course throughout the house while completing tasks. Have your child pretend to be their favorite character while cleaning. Sing songs while completing chores or cleaning up.
Call chores by a different name:
“Chore” can have a negative connotation and feel like a burden to a child. Chores could be called projects, jobs, or secret missions, among many others, in order to make it seem more fun and exciting.
Implement a reward system:
Reward systems can provide a source of external motivation for completing daily tasks and routines. Provide your child with a token or object after completing a chore. This token could be a sticker on a reward chart, a marble in a jar, or a check mark on a checklist. After the child receives a pre-determined number of tokens, he or she can receive a larger reward.
Utilize a calendar or chart in order to provide an additional visual cue of responsibilities to be completed throughout the week. Incorporate the child’s favorite pictures, characters, or interests in order to make the chart personal and unique.
Keep in mind that new chores may be more difficult for a child at first. It is important to provide cues and reminders in order to support your child and foster confidence in completing new tasks. You can assist your child by breaking down the chore into smaller tasks. Encouragement and praise are also very important for increasing your child’s confidence and independence. By utilizing these simple strategies on a regular basis, you can turn boring chores into exciting fun for the whole family!