By Erica Patino
Kids benefit from doing chores. But if your child has learning and attention issues, getting her to do them regularly and on time can be tough. These tips can help your child complete chores more easily.
When younger kids have trouble remembering their chores, a chore chart can help. You can write the chart on a piece of paper or buy one at a kids’ store or office supply store. Give your child fun stickers to put on the chart once she’s completed a chore. When she sees all her chores checked off, she’ll feel proud that she finished.
Most kids with learning and attention issues do well with structure. It can help your child if you keep a consistent schedule. Maybe she takes the trash out on Monday, and on Tuesday she helps with laundry. Or if you do all household chores on the weekend, do them in the same order each time—grocery shopping first, followed by laundry, followed by vacuuming and sweeping, for example.
Your child may feel more motivated to do chores if she has something to look forward to. You might want to plan a fun activity for after her chores are finished, like going to the playground or to the movies. Older kids might receive an allowance for chores. Or they might earn extra money if they take on harder chores, like pulling all the weeds and mowing the lawn.
Kids with learning or attention issues may struggle to stay focused on household chores. Or they might start a chore but not finish it. Instead of giving up and doing it yourself, encourage your child to keep at it. “Let’s take a break, and then you can finish putting away the laundry. Once it’s all put away, you can still go to your friend’s house.” It’s important to make sure the chores are a good fit for her, and that she’s able to complete them.
Having chores can be a positive experience for kids. It’s best if they’re simply part of what your child is expected to do to help the family. It’s also important to praise her for doing them. Giving her extra work as punishment, however, can have the opposite effect. It may cause her to see chores as a negative thing. Then she might resist doing them altogether.
Helping your child stay on top of chores teaches responsibility. It can also help improve her self-esteem. And when she gets a positive reaction from you for the effort she’s put in, it will be an instant reward!
Having more than one child with a learning or attention issue can create unique challenges for parents. These tips can help you handle those challenges—from second-guessing your judgment to juggling doctors’ appointments.
It’s not always easy for parents to get on the same page when raising a child with learning and attention issues. When parents are divorced, there may be even more obstacles. These tips may help.
Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.
Laura Tagliareni, Ph.D., is a pediatric neuropsychologist in New York City and a clinical instructor at NYU Langone Medical Center.
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