Household chores need to get done. And depending on your child’s particular issues, it may seem easier just to do them all yourself. But asking your child to pitch in gives you a little extra help. And it can benefit him, too. Here are some ways that giving your child chores can help.
Chores can boost your child’s self-esteem.
It may not seem like loading the dishwasher will improve your child’s self-esteem. But kids want to be productive. Doing household chores can show your child that while he may have trouble with schoolwork, he can take on and master other tasks.
Chores that include responsibility, like taking care of younger siblings or pets, can also show him that he’s capable. That's why it’s a good idea to praise your child when he does chores. The positive feedback shows him you recognize what he’s doing.
Chores can improve your child’s organizational skills.
Having weak organizational skills can be frustrating for kids, especially at school. But chores can help them build skills without feeling pressured.
Setting the table for dinner, for instance, requires a lot of organization. Your child will need to put out the napkins and arrange the silverware, plates, and glasses. Being able to do that shows your child he can be organized, and reinforces it every night.
If he needs help at first, you can write a list of the steps or draw a picture of what the table should look like. Over time you can give him more complex chores like helping you make a salad for dinner. That involves many steps: washing vegetables, peeling, chopping, and putting them into a bowl, with the lettuce at the bottom.
Chores can show your child how to adapt.
If your child has attention issues he may feel embarrassed because he struggles with basic chores, like cleaning his room on Saturday mornings. His younger sister cleans hers quickly and has plenty of time to watch cartoons. If you help your child adapt, he can complete chores too.
Maybe he can follow a step-by-step chart that helps him stay on task.
- Pick clothes up off the floor.
- Put toys in their place.
- Straighten up books and school supplies.
You might create an iPod mix of songs he can listen to while cleaning his room—and when the last song ends, he’s done cleaning. Discovering he can succeed even with attention issues is important.
It may take your child a bit longer to do a chore. And you may have to redo parts of it. But giving him responsibility shows him he’s valuable. You can make it a more successful experience by choosing the right chores for your child and helping him stay on top of them. Just recognizing and praising his effort can make him feel more capable.