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Reprogramming Kids' Attitude to Chores by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families LLC

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Reprogramming Kids' Attitude to Chores

Sally Burgess, Forefront Families

To kids, chores are 'must dos' that stop them doing the 'want to dos'. We adults would have to admit to the same thing, but we know the buck stops with us, so we have to make sure the chores get done. How can we get our kids to change their negative attitude towards chores?

Almost everyone wants to live in a clean and tidy environment so, as we are growing up it is the best time to get our own act together to achieve this goal. The tidier we keep our space, the more time we have to pursue those activities we enjoy. If we can get completed chores down to a fine art, then they tend to lose the negative connotation. We can spread tasks throughout the week so there is plenty of time for leisure activities each day.

When we eventually have kids, we continue with the same routine. They watch us and then we train them to help us. The family divides the chores up and each shares in the responsibility of keeping the environment clean and tidy for everyone's enjoyment. Don't fall into the trap of nagging your kids to do their chores. When you create a roster and a time frame for chores to be done by, then you don't have to keep telling them. If they do not have the chores done by the stated time or day, then there is a consequence. You are not giving them a punishment. They know the consequence so they are choosing to take the punishment by not performing as expected. This takes away all the sweat.

There are several reasons why adults do not get their kids to do chores. When kids whine and complain about it, parents give up insisting that their kids help, and they just do it themselves. When kids aren't shown how to perform particular tasks and do a poor job, parents will often just take over because it is quicker. Parents are not doing their kids a favor by doing all the chores. It means that parents get little or no leisure time, and kids never learn to be responsible for keeping their home environment clean and tidy - for everyone's enjoyment. They are also not learning important life skills for their future, and they will then be unable to pass these skills onto their children.

Kids should not expect payment for household chores. Every family member should take their turn at all tasks willingly. I was speaking to a friend this morning and she said her 10 year-old daughter would not do chores unless she was paid, and the mother thought this was quite reasonable. Of course it took me all my strength not to leap down the telephone. It is an important lesson for kids to learn to give of themselves voluntarily, just for the necessity of contributing to family life.

We all enjoy praise and never more than when chores are well done. The more praise kids get, the more willingly they will perform their tasks. Chores can be fun when everyone helps. It is amazing how young kids can be taught to do simple things. If they think they are helping Mommy or Daddy, then much pleasure can be derived from it. Work attitudes and work ethic are learned from you when your child is a toddler. When parents show kids how to do tasks well, the kids become quicker at learning the skill.

When kids don't have to be told to do their chores, then the tasks get done faster still and everyone has more time for fun activities during their day.

If you have any comments or questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us at sally@forefrontfamilies.org. We invite you to also check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org and our blog site at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com for further assistance.

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