Our lives as parents are increasingly busy these days and sometimes it's hard to find time to accomplish everything around the house. As work-home flow of activities become more challenging, one way to balance work and playtime is to combine them and involve the whole family in doing household chores.
If we understand what gets in the way and what may help when it comes to doing chores, then we can have a better chance of having children be participating family members.
What Discourages Children from Helping?
Children need to understand what the chore is and what we expect of them. Be clear about what is considered a job well done - doing the dishes or simply a "good try"? Be clear about everyone's job expectation, the results expected to be achieved.
When it comes to chores, any previous effort to establish expectations can get derailed by inconsistency. Think carefully before saying, "I guess you can skip feeding washing the dishes this morning - I'll do it." And if parents or caregivers don't agree on what is expected of children, when to make exceptions, or aren't equally adept at refusing to give in to child procrastination or defiance, children usually figure out how to divide and conquer.
It takes time to teach children how to do chores and to establish expectations. Busy parents and children can easily use lack of time as a rationale for either adults doing the chore or leaving it undone.
Siblings. Siblings can become really good at subverting parent expectations. "It's not fair" can become a mantra of older siblings when expectations for them increase with their growing competence. Try to set clear expectations that are appropriate and fair for each child. Discussing the chore plan as a family can give children an opportunity to voice concerns and help set a plan that works for everyone.
You can inspire your kids by even twisting the language used to jeer them up. How about saying, "let's do our daily shares"... not chores! Cheers to beautiful beginnings!