Why getting children to help is important
– Children learn responsibility for family projects. Instead of expecting things to just “get done by mom”, children can learn that they are part of the family and as such need to pitch in to help with family chores.
– Children gain a sense of satisfaction knowing that they are contributing and helping. And hopefully they will carry this feeling with them as they grow into adults and help those less fortunate in their community.
– Working together bonds a family. Even less pleasant chores are more fun when family members are working side by side.
How to get children to help
– A family meeting is a good place to start. Outline for your children the jobs that need to be done and let them have some input on how they want to help. If children get to choose what they do, they will jump in with more enthusiasm and may actually enjoy what they are doing to help. I know that my daughters loved helping with the holiday cooking and baking and my son generally chose the less domestic activities.
– Select the jobs for your children to do that fit their abilities. Even young children can contribute to helping prepare for the holidays if the task is age and skill-appropriate. Be willing to work alongside your child to start so that he has a clear idea of what he will be doing. You can assess his ability to complete the task if you begin by working with him. Finally, your child will likely be more willing to jump in if he knows exactly what to do.
– Set your child up for success. Regardless of the size of the task, break it down into manageable pieces for your child. Brainstorm the steps needed to complete the task so your child has an idea of how to start and what to do.
– Keep an eye on your child as he works to complete the chore. Some encouraging words, such as “looking good” or “that’s a big help, thanks” can make children feel good about the job they are doing. Also, by checking in on your child’s progress you can possibly foresee a potential problem and intervene to help your child avoid it.