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Do you get your kids to do chores? Or do you do everything yourself? For your sake and for that of your kids, I hope you answer ‘yes’ to the first question. No matter what their age, unless of course they’re still crawling around pulling things off shelves, kids can and should be helping out. Chores for kids need to be an integral part of their routines.
1. Responsibility for their things
I know parents who spend time after their kids have left for school, picking up, cleaning up, making the beds and then getting to either their paid job or housework. This is especially tougher to do as the kids grow older as they seem to need more clothes, more stationery, more art items, more books and it just doesn’t seem to end.
The good news is you have a clean home.
The bad news is you are raising kids who will always be looking for someone else to pick up after them.
Just let go and let them learn that if a job needs doing, they need to do it. Start by putting up a responsibility chart like the one at the end of this post or get a responsibility board with magnets. I love this one by Melissa & Doug!
The bright magnetic smiles are great motivation by themselves. When we bought it way back in 2010, my daughter would just enjoy re-arranging the coloured magnets, so it’s also a good activity to keep young kids busy.
Based on the age of the child, modify the difficulty level of the tasks.
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2. Sharing of the work load
Chores have predominantly been seen as the preserve of the woman of the house. I don’t know why but it’s about time we did away with this mindset. Be it a boy or a girl, get them to do tasks without labelling them as being gender-specific.
At my home, my husband is as comfortable behind the stove as he is in front of a laptop. I can hook up a gadget to the flat screen TV just as well as I fold the laundry. And all of these are interchangeable. Growing up as one of two girls, we had zero discrimination at home on the basis of tasks. While my sister naturally enjoyed cooking and baking more than I did, I preferred to do all the banking errands and outdoors-y chores.
Get the boys at home to bake a cake and get the girls to help with changing a tire. Doing away with stereotypes begins at home. This will ensure that they grow up to be self-sufficient individuals who can live on their own, manage a home, their finances and own their roles, no matter what they do in life. It will also help them be empathetic towards their spouses and pitch in voluntarily to do their share of the work.
3. Following a routine
Two weeks ago, I asked Gy to sort her wardrobe. I was tired of opening it at the last minute on a school morning and hunting for a pair of leggings she absolutely needed to take for Yoga. I’d had it.
I sat her down and told her that she had the whole of Sunday to get the wardrobe organised and I would help only in telling her how to optimize the space. At first she groaned and moped as if I’d asked her to fight against the Greeks. She finally came around and put on some music to help her through the task.
It took her 6 hours. But, at the end of it, she’d come up with a wardrobe Martha Stewart would have been proud to see. Clothes were segregated based on type- school, ethnic, casual, shorts, jeans. Books were organised by size and arranged next to stationery. Her entire array of accessories were now grouped by size, type and packed away either in boxes or on a hanging display that fits into the cupboard (see picture below). She pulled out clothes and books that she no longer used and added them to the donation pile. She did such a thorough job that she now had an empty shelf with space to spare!
You can get a similar one here. Trust me, it’s a boon!
Now, since she had done this and realised how much time and effort went into it, the good news is she’s been maintaining the wardrobe very efficiently ever since.
Here’s a simple infographic of chores that my daughter does daily. This can be modified to suit your kids, but get them to engage in these tasks to help build their commitment to a clean home and an organized life.
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