You can start assigning chores to your child right from her early pre-teen days. Some very light chores may be even assigned in the earlier years, such as when she is about three years old. Assigning chores benefit your child in two ways.
Your child develops good self-esteem and confidence. Assignment of chores also instils a sense of responsibility in her and develops the art of helping others. It also fosters a feeling in them that you trust their ability to perform the assigned tasks. Remember that in the early years, it is the effort taken and not the end result that counts.
19 tips to assign chores to your pre-teen child
- Start assigning chores as early as possible soon after she starts imitating your actions.
- Assign chores appropriate to your child's age. Slowly make her understand that she is doing her duty and contributing to the family.
- Remember to use a requesting tone rather than an ordering tone. For example, "Please clean your room." sounds better than "I told you to clean your room."
- Be flexible with your child. Remember she has other assignments as well of equal or more priority. These include tasks such as completing her homework, preparing for a test the next day etc. So, it is a good idea to set a goal day and ensure that your child completes the assigned chores by that day.
- Teach her to take ownership of the task assigned. The sense of ownership may be a motivating factor to complete her tasks.
- Take time to train her on how to do a chore that you wish her to perform. Do not assume that she has learnt the task by just watching you do it repeatedly.
- If you have more than one child, try rotating the chores among the children. This ensures that every child gets to try every task. It can also be a welcome break from the routine chores.
- You can get a child of any age to help with your laundry. For example, a slightly young child can help you sort the laundry into piles. An older child can carry the washed clothes from the clothes line to the room.
- Train your child to clean her things such as keeping her toys inside the play bin after she has finished playing with them. You may have to be very patient if your child is still very young.
- Prepare a chart containing the list of tasks that you wish your child to complete. As she completes each task, score out the task completed in the list that you have prepared.
- Be consistent in assigning chores to your child. Do not give in to your child's fussing.
- Assure your child that you are there to lend a helping hand or help her learn something that she has forgotten.
- Explain the outcomes of not completing a chore. For example, you can tell your child that she will have no food to eat if you did not do your grocery shopping.
- If you find your child struggling to complete a task, help her break the big task into smaller sub tasks.
- Assign chores that your child can carry out along with you or chores that involve you and your child. An example of this can be asking your child to drying the vessels after a wash or helping you with washing the car.
- Make working on chores a fun event. This can make your child more interested in completing her chores. Requesting your child's help to look after a younger sibling and playing the role of a little parent is a good example.
- Do not redo a task that your child has completed for you. This may hamper her self-esteem. Even if the chores are not done neatly, you can encourage her to do a neater job next time.
- Avoid constant interfering to see how far the task has been completed. Check on the job only after your child has claimed to have completed the chore. Remember to provide your suggestions if any.
- Praise your child for a task well done and thank her for the same. You may occasionally reward your slightly older child with an allowance or some pocket money. Complimenting the child and telling her that you could complete the work on time only because of her help is a good idea.