Often, doing things ourselves is easier than letting kids help, but having kids do a few chores and tasks has tremendous benefits for them on many levels. A new year’s resolution for children could be having them do some chores and tasks on a regular basis. For kids, sometimes doing work is as much fun as playing, at least it is when they want to do it.
We all like to feel included and that we are an important part of the family. When children are allowed to help, they feel valued and grownup. It encourages the development of a sense of self-worth. Having them do certain jobs every day, such as pulling up the covers on their bed and picking up some of the toys, gives them a chance to practice responsibility. According to parenting expert and psychologist Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg, there is a temptation to make things easy and simple for kids and that’s “admirable because we all want the best for our kids, but it teaches them absolutely nothing about resilience….” Having to participate in the some of the work of the family lessens children’s vulnerability and increases their self-reliance.
Chores need to be appropriate for the age of kids and the amount of supervision that’s included. A 3-year old may be able to help unload the dishwasher when there is an adult close by for the heavy or sharp items. Fun can be part of the process, such as being robots that have to walk with stiff legs to carry folded clothes to bedrooms. Kids can be toy monsters that pick up any toys on the floor and feed them to the toy box. Letting them use salad tongs instead of their hands adds to the fun and so do sound effects.
Do your children have chores and tasks to do at home? Could this be part of your new year?