• Eleni Kirby

Chores and Children

Should our children be doing chores?

Growing up we had servants, sounds like we were royalty? Not really it was just something that most families had in Zimbabwe. We had 4 servants, 2 gardeners, a nanny, and a cook. They were all amazing and used to make sure that the whole of the house was running in order.

Moving to the UK and then having to start learning to clean, cook, pack washing away and all household chores was tough and I am forever grateful to our wonderful servants in Zimbabwe who did such a wonderful job to take care of us, we took it for granted!

I want to write about how chores help children.

For a lot of you who read this, you may have negative things to say BUT children can learn a lot from doing household chores.

Doing chores helps children learn about what they need to do to care for themselves, a home, and a family, they learn skills they can use in their adult lives, like preparing meals, cleaning, organising, and keeping a garden.

I don’t ever make Sophie do any chores, she always offers to help and she loves learning new things or how to do things and it started from simply getting her to make her bed, or tidy up her toys. These are all part of the everyday life skills that they will never lose.

Even a young child can start to help out if you choose activities that are right for their age. You can start with simple jobs like putting away their own toys. Chores like this send a message to your child that their contribution is important. Sharing chores can also help families work better and reduce family stress especially single parents. When children help out, chores get done sooner. This frees up time for the family to spend doing fun things together. It teaches them independence and responsibility. Chores help reinforce respect.

Some families will link pocket money to chores and some have chore charts. What I would say if you decide to pay pocket money for chores, explain the chores clearly so there’s no confusion or bargaining about what needs to be done and when. Or you can reward extra screen time. This can be up to you. Remember it's your own personal preference.

For me and my Little Lady I have shared, taught and explained the list of jobs I needed help with to her, from implementing this at a young age she does now step forward and asks to if I need help. It is so helpful.

It’s about teaching life skills that our children will use in their adult life. We have to teach them from young because if we don't who will?

To give you an idea Sophie loves to help with

  • Folding the washing - this is not my favourite chore and sometimes the pile gets so big

  • Unpacking the dishwasher

  • Basic washing up

  • Tidying up

  • Sorting the washing colours out

  • Unpacking the shopping

  • Laying the table

  • Cooking prep

  • Dusting her bedroom as she likes a cleanroom.

  • Basic gardening - planting flowers, watering the flowers.

  • Helping cleaning the car

  • Making the bed

A tip I want to leave you with is rather than make your children do these things TEACH and EXPLAIN to them.

An idea if you have more than one child, I would then create a chore chart that way everyone knows what they need to do and what is expected of them.

Over the last 7 years, I am so blown away at how much my Little Lady takes on board and puts it into action.

I hope this has been helpful to you, it is something so simple but yet as parents we can by pass this and just end up doing everything.

I would love to know what your chores routines are like.

Until next time x

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