All play and no work

 I was visiting my mother a few weeks ago, when I saw her arranging the kitchen cabinets and cleaning her cutlery cupboard. I mentioned to her that I didn’t remember her doing this as a kid, she simply said “Because I got you to do it!” That’s when I realized, while growing up I did really help my mom with a lot of things, and to come to think of it my 10 year old son hardly helps me with any of the small chores around the house. That’s when I took it upon myself to make sure he contributes in his small way to doing things.

It’s not that kids don’t want to help, it’s just that today’s parents don’t have the time or patience to get that out of them. With back-to-back extra-curricular activities, after school project sessions, the need of parents to get it right the first time (who’ll do it again afterwards) or the convenience of outsourcing help, but the fact is that today’s children spend significantly less time doing chores than  we did. And apparently, it matters. A Harvard Study suggests chores can give kids a better sense of judgement, make them less impulsive and help them become more aware of others people’s needs.

Here’s how you can get them to do some chores without having to pull out your hair

  1. Work as a team – work together, show them it can be fun. Put on their favourite music and dance along the way.
  2. Let them choose – give them a list of things that has to be done, and let them choose 3 or 4 things that they feel they can do. Let them feel that they are doing this because they want to do it and it’s not forced upon them.
  3. Let them do it their way – our first urge is to tell them how something should be done. That’s when it becomes a chore for them. Let them do the task their way; as long as it’s done; we shouldn’t be bothered how long it took to get there.
  4. Use a reward system – Link it to something they get, maybe have a chart of the things to be done in that week, and once done give them a little something more. These days it could just mean 30 minutes of extra screen time.
  5. Don’t use a chore as a punishment. That way we will only deter them from doing it in the future.

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