Chores and Children: Inspiring Your Child to Help with Chores

March 22, 2017

Have you found yourself experiencing fatigue and desperately needing help around the house? While most of us believe in the virtue of having children help around the home, the real challenge is getting them excited and committed to playing a role in the upkeep of the home. Furthermore, children who help with household chores have greater opportunities to learn to be accountable, independent and less self-centred.

So, here are some ideas from other parents that you might want to try out with your little ones. Feel free to adapt the ideas to suit your needs. Not only will it be fun for your children, this also allows both yourself and your spouse to get creative.

For children aged 3 to 5 years old

Colour the quilt

Encourage them to make their beds by drawing a picture of a quilt with 30 patches. Each time they make their beds, let them colour a patch. The goal is to complete the quilt.

The clean-up song

Help them get into the habit of picking up their toys – and make it fun. Make up lyrics to familiar songs and sing them while they pick up the toys. For example, sing “The Farmer in the Dell” with the following lyrics:

We’re picking up the blocks,

We’re picking up the blocks,

Hi-ho, the derry-o

We’re picking up the blocks.

You can even add in the child’s name to personalise it:

Josh picked up a toy

He’s such a wonderful boy

Hi-ho, the derry-o

Cleaning is a joy.

Caring for pets

Let them fill the pet’s water bowl using a cup and transferring it into the pet’s dish. When he sees the dog lapping up the water, praise him for taking care of his pet.

The key is to affirm each child when their actions have contributed to making things better for others around the home.

For children aged 6 to 12 years

Motivate with a point system

The goal is to instil responsibility and ownership without parental nagging. Start by determining a scale for points to be earned. Allocate more points for difficult tasks, and “bonus” points for being generous and kind. The key is to be consistent. At the end of the agreed timeframe, the child with the most points win. The winner earns the power of choice – where the next fun family outing will be, for instance – but siblings still get to join in the fun. A win-win situation for all!

Create chore charts with a reward system

Start by preparing a laminated chore list for each child, then set up magnetic charts that have their names and days of the week. Have the children pick out inexpensive items that they’d like to form a set of rewards that can be redeemed. When each child does his/her chores without being reminded, they place a magnet on the chart. Failing to do chores gets a magnet removed. Once they have accumulated enough magnets, they can pick their reward from the prize box.

Use chores to build relationships

While children do their chores, parents can help them out by working alongside, which paves the way for conversation and even playfulness.

With many families in Singapore relying on live-in domestic help, it remains highly important that children learn to help with basic chores so that they do not grow up with a sense of entitlement. Getting the children to perform light chores on a helper’s day off will give them a fuller appreciation of the aid that the family receives from the domestic helper. Over time, children will also learn to be more independent, increasingly confident in their growing abilities, more accountable and less egocentric.

Make helping around the home a norm for your children today, and witness the benefits your family will reap tomorrow.

©2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

Article contributed by Elvira Tan, Focus on the Family Singapore

Read also: What You Need to Know About Teaching Children to Share and Take Turns