I'm going to answer every mom's question at one point in her motherhood. “How to teach chores to kids?” I hear it often, mostly because my kids do so many things around our home and do from early on in their lives and the chores increases with their age.
How to Teach Chores to Kids
I often see so many mothers overwhelmed by the responsibilities to raise their children in character, prepare healthy meals, and keep their home presentable. The one thing that really makes this all possible is to teach chores to kids and to do it early in their lives.
I often say that when kids are in the stages of acting like mommy or daddy is the right time to teach them things around the house. They are eager to learn and only need praise of a job well done for their payment.
I have fond memories of our first child wanting to help me wash windows, do laundry, cook, wash dishes, vacuum and anything else I was doing around the house. I took advantage of this sweet love of being my little helper because I was pregnant and it helped me to know where she was and what she was doing without having to chase her around the house.
By the time my children were 3-5 years old, they were doing so many things that most teenagers weren't doing in their homes. In fact, they did them without any complaining because it was just part of our routine and they were brought up this way making it natural.
Today, my children do far more around my house than I originally expected because more hands do make light work for everyone.
I want to share the formula I use to teach chores to kids because it is simple for everyone. It is a 4-part formula that can take days, weeks or months to work through depending on the age and skills of your children, but most importantly you consistency in going through the formula.
Children do this naturally, but it is a little more involved than just watch me. During this part of the formula, you will want to be sure your child is being completely attentive to what you are showing them.
I use this time to talk about what I am doing and why. I explain where I store cleaners, or put things in their place. I walk through the chore, talking the entire time about every step that I'm doing.
Teaching this attentiveness to details first is what is really important. Learning details from watching a demonstration will benefit your children when they get their first job.
The next time I do the chore, I have the child help me go through the chore. I'm still talking but giving them some freedom to seeing what they remember and pointing out how they can improve on doing key things. I praise everything that they do to build their confidence and give them that feeling of accomplishment.
If a child is struggling with this stage, I would do a few more times with them being sure to talk through it like I did in the first step of ‘watch me'.
I Help You
Once I see that a child has the ability to do the chore with me, I let them take control and give me instructions he of what I can do to help them. This gives them that boost of confidence that I trust them and that I'm truly proud of what they have learned.
If I see that they are missing steps or being too quick with the details, I will draw attention to those things to ensure they are doing it correctly.
When I don't have to give instructions often, I'm ready to move on to the next step of the formula.
I Watch You
For the last step of the formula to teach chores to kids, I just watch them. I don't answer their questions but ask them ‘What do you think?' This shows them that I'm giving them the full responsibility and I trust their judgment until they give me a reason to doubt them.
I make sure that I'm evaluating their chores often to be sure they don't grow lazy or haphazard about what they are doing for the family unit.
Once I see that they are being faithful with their new found responsibility, I give them ownership of it.
Next step is to start this formula over again with a new chore to help them learn and participate in our family unit even more.
If you would like some help in getting your children to help around the house, I have a Routine Planner that is full of editable resources that you can use for your children of all ages. This resource will help you organize your family's routines, assign chores and plan your family's activities all in one place.
It also contains poetry about the days of the week, and months of the year that will be fun to learn as a family.