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How to Introduce Chores to Children

How to Introduce Chores to Children

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Why is it important for my child to being performing chores at a young age?

This is a common question we hear from parents. That is usually followed by: “When should they start?” Though many are surprised to hear our answer, we recommend beginning the process as early as one year old. Here’s why:

  1. Chores are an important aspect of family life and will help your child understand they are a member of the family unit
  2. Chores will help your child appreciate and learn about their ability to accomplish tasks
  3. Chores help children feel that they are a part of a process, and their role is important to the completion of the task
  4. Chores can help children develop a motivation to help their parents or siblings.

When you make chores a part of everyday life at a young age, you give structure to their life and you also promote independence. Teaching chores teaches executive function skills, including planning, problem solving, sequencing, and knowing when to terminate. All of these skills are important when dealing with new, unknown situations.

The chore list should be age appropriate and should be easy to follow and routinely scheduled. For the smaller children, you will need to repeat instructions until they remember them. Those who can read should have the instructions in sight. For example, post the chores on your refrigerator or in the child’s bedroom, outlining them as:

Chore: Make Bed

  • Get out of bed.
  • Pull sheets up.
  • Put pillows on the bed.
  • Put stuffed animals on.
  • Done!

And what about allowance? The idea of rewarding your child with an allowance for doing chores is not always a good one. This shows that chores are like jobs—something you do to gain money for yourself. But when children don’t get an allowance, they understand that chores are necessary for the whole family unit to run well, and they are more concerned with the well-being of the family.

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