If you’re moving to a new city – or even just to a new home on the other side of your neighborhood – the change in environment provides the perfect opportunity to engage your children in household chores. Not only can establishing chores make the transition to your new home easier, but it can also help your children build good character!
Daily and weekly chores for kids contribute to a healthy dose of routine and structure. Chores give children the opportunity to master a task (which supports self-confidence) and build a sense of belonging and value as a member of your family. These are all especially important when families are going through a period of change.
Here are five tips for engaging your children in chores at your new home:
- Keep activities age-appropriate. Chores are most beneficial for children when they can do the tasks successfully. Toddlers can help put toys away in a bin and 3- and 4-year-olds can stack toilet paper rolls under the sink. Little ones can “fold” kitchen towels, tidy their beds or put bath toys away after bath time, and older children can help with more involved tasks, like dusting or helping with dishes. As you encourage your child to help with chores, remind yourself to be realistic about your expectations – especially when it comes to the younger members of your family.
- Help facilitate kids’ chores. Supervision and teamwork are important to ensuring children’s safety and making sure they complete their assigned tasks.
- Provide positive reinforcement. Reinforce children’s involvement in household chores by providing encouragement and expressing gratitude, as opposed to giving praise. (“Wow! Look at how hard you’re working! You’re getting this job done! Thank you for being so helpful; you’re saving me so much time.”)
- Refrain from correction or criticism. Avoid reacting negatively to the quality of the tasks children do. Young children may only focus on a task for a few minutes and get quickly distracted. Be specific with your instructions and break chores down into small tasks to set them up for success. If you feel they need some redirection, do so lovingly and encourage them. (“I know you can do it! Let’s go ahead and finish the job and then we can play.”)
- Incorporate learning and fun. Chores are a great way to help children build character, learn about responsibility and even have some fun while getting the job done! You can also turn on music and dance around to add a little extra fun to mundane tasks.
Putting these practices in place will help your children and family feel more at home in your new house!
Lynn Louise Wonders is a licensed professional counselor, a registered play therapist and supervisor, and an early childhood specialist. She has been working with young children and parents for 12 years in a variety of settings including schools, child development centers, community settings and private practice. Lynn has a private practice in East Cobb County close to Roswell and Sandy Springs where she provides private therapy services and classes for children, women and couples. Read more from her on the Pointers for Parents blog by Primrose Schools.