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Should children help with housework?

November 29th, 2020
Chrissie
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Should children help with housework?
If you want to start a lively debate ask this question when you are amongst friends! It is one of those topics that people get impassioned about! Many parents feel that it is fair to ask children to help in the home as it teaches them many things, whilst an equal number believe that it is very wrong and that kids should be allowed to be kids for as long as possible, as they grow up far too quickly anyway….

It must be said that helping around the house should be a few small jobs on a regular basis and helping with other bigger projects can be great for everyone! A secondary debate is whether children should be paid for doing housework or not and this leads to an equally lively discussion!

Helping in the home does teach children how to care for themselves and how to run a home, which are both vital life skills. It really is a good idea to teach children how to complete simple tasks such as tidying toys or dusting from an early age. Whilst you might think these are dull chores, children always find them fun! Young children just love to be with you and are very happy to try and help you in your work. Subconsciously, they are learning that it takes a great deal of effort to run a home smoothly. However, if you are a parent who waits until your children are fast asleep or at school before you do the housework, they will never see you hard at work and will think that the ‘housework fairy’ popped in for a few hours again!

There is no harm in giving your child several tasks to complete during the week and by showing them how best to complete it, they will be keen to do the job well. Give plenty of praise when they have accomplished their work well, as everyone flourishes on praise and it gives children confidence. Teach your child how to put in lots of effort, rather than attempt something half-heartedly and you will be surprised and delighted with the results.
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Your child will definitely become an enthusiastic helper if they see that by completing the jobs more quickly you have more time to have fun together. Some of the jobs such as baking a cake or preparing the evening meal together will be slower but are perfect for great teamwork! Even the simplest of tasks such as peeling potatoes or shelling fresh peas is a life skill that your child needs to learn because in the future when they ‘fly solo’ it will be essential that they know how to cook an array of simple foods including a variety of vegetables.

Other jobs that are great for young children:

Dusting

Tidying toys

Washing up

Washing the car together

Handing out the pegs for washing on the line

Helping to sort the clean washing – socks into pairs etc.

If you have large projects such as decorating a room, you will find that children of all ages love stripping off old wallpaper! If you are out in the garden, get your child involved with planting flowers or collecting leaves. When they are older they may well like to have their own section of a flowerbed or a large pot to grow some tomatoes.

As your child get older (7- 8 years) they can help to strip their bed and learn how to change their duvet cover. Teach them about the different washes that you do, separating whites and coloured clothes etc. and show them how you tackle difficult stains as this knowledge will be invaluable to them in the future.

There are many jobs that older children can do to help you and this will ease the burden on you. Working together, will provide them with the perfect opportunity to talk to you about things that are bothering them. Older children are often shy and embarrassed to look directly at people when they are discussing personal matters, but will find it so much easier if you are both focused on gardening or the laundry.
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Jobs for older children include

Exercising the family dog

Loading the washing machine & hanging out the clothes

Loading the dishwasher or washing up

Ironing (an invaluable skill to learn)

Laying the table

Preparing a simple meal

Cleaning floors

Going shopping for a small number of items

There are many important skills that you can teach older children such as how to change light bulbs or put on a new plug and all the skills needed for painting a room! They might well not need this experience for many years to come, but the time will come one day, for sure!
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Should children be paid for helping?

This is a question that needs careful consideration because in some families, the children will only help if they are given pocket money! This is not the ideal situation and children should want to help by completing their designated tasks because it helps their parents and not because there is a financial reward.

Having said that, it is great to light the entrepreneurial spark in your child! If they have something that they would particularly like such an extra snazzy pair of trainers, why not suggest that if they want to do some extra jobs around the house, then you would be happy to give them a certain amount for each task completed. Be really fair in the jobs you suggest and the amount that you are prepared to pay. It is important that your child works to earn the money – such as cutting the grass and edging the lawns – because they will get a real sense of achievement from completing the jobs and being able to buy the trainers. They will have subconsciously learnt a very important lesson about working hard to earn money and how good it feels when you can buy something yourself. You may well find them very eager to get a Saturday job as soon as they are old enough.

Certainly by involving your child in helping in the home and teaching them a wide range of skills over the years, will really benefit them throughout their lives...

Chrissie x

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