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Manners and Discipline Topics..

You are here : home > Manners and Discipline > Chores and Housework > Make your Child a "Perfect Little Helper"

Make your Child a "Perfect Little Helper"

Children don't help

When parents look at a newborn baby cuddled in their arms, a feeling of protectiveness usually overwhelms them. They want to do everything possible to make their child happy and comfortable. As the years go by, the baby grows up, but parents tend to underestimate the capabilities of young children and continue to do things for them without expecting anything in return. Then one day, they wake up and decide it's time their children pitch in and are surprised when they are met with resistance. After years of having their parents pamper them, it comes as a rude shock to children that they're actually expected to pull their weight in the house. 

Megha Chatterjee says that she is tired of feeling like a slave to her children. "While I don't expect my children to do household work, I do think that they must learn to look after their own things. They shouldn't assume it's my job to pick up after them." 

Catch them young

Doing chores gives children a sense of responsibility, teaches them cooperation and involves them in family life. The sooner parents give their children age-appropriate responsibility the better. Parents can slowly increase the difficulties of the task and their expectations depending on the maturity of the child. Two- and three-year olds love to help as it gives them a feeling of being in control. At this age they think it is great fun to be entrusted with any tasks and view them as a challenge. Parents should give children this age responsibilities such as: picking up their toys, choosing their own clothes, helping in brushing their hair, washing their hands and face, etc. 

Sometimes when a three-year-old is trying to help, he can create even more work for the parent. In such cases, parents often become impatient and take over, doing the task themselves. This only serves to discourage the toddler from "helping." Parents need to be tolerant and ask their children to help when they have the time and the patience to put up with a little hindrance. In addition, they should make sure that the tasks assigned should be within the child's capabilities so that the child will feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Older children are less cooperative

As children get older, they are less likely to be cooperative when it comes to chores. Lata Srinivasan complains, "My children don't lift a finger to help around the house. They think that the housework is done by magic. Every time I ask them to do something they complain or act like they're doing me a big favour."

Faced with a young child who is refusing to do a task assigned to him, parents have a tendency to get exasperated and tell him that he is excused this time. However, when parents do this, they defeat the whole purpose of trying to inculcate a sense of responsibility in their child as they are giving him the message that it is all right not to do his chores if he doesn't feel like.

How to make your child pitch in

  • Make a list of all the chores your child can do and let her pick the ones she would like to do. Then make a weekly chart showing what chores she must do on each day of the week.
  • Do not assume that your child knows how to do what is expected. Take a little time out to teach her.
  • Abandon any perfectionist tendencies. Compliment her on her efforts and rectify any mistakes in her absence. 
  • Check to see that each task has been properly performed. 
  • The schedule of chores should not be rigid. Take time out to play with the child, show your appreciation and affection. The chores will not seem like drudgery then. In addition, allow the child a little flexibility in his routine. 
  • Do not bribe or pay your child for doing routine chores. 

Your child will start by being a "perfect little helper" to an able and responsible adult.  Who would have thought that just teaching children to help you is actually helping them in the long run!

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Niharika.9 years ago
my daughter loves to help me in the kitchen. she likes to water the plants and is very possesive about her toys. she will always keep them in place after playing with them.
namrta.9 years ago
my daughter is 12years old & she loves to help me in the kitchen on holidays
i am a mother of 3 kids aged 10,6 and 4. i believe in giving little chores for the kids just to give them some responsiblity. i make a chore chart and assign small chores like folding the laundry,arranging the shoe rack,dusting etc.i make pretty printouts and put it on the fridge magnets and ask them to sign once they have finished the work.
Lorna.9 years ago
my son is two years old and he likes to take my hand bag in when i come home from work in the evenings. he also likes to pick up grocery at the supermarket and help around the home with little tasks.
djl.9 years ago
my daughter is 8 years old , she helps me sometimes to unload the dish washer & makes some yummy sandwiches....
Seema.9 years ago
whenever my 11 year old neice visits me she's a great help with the babies. when my youngest was born, my neice always would ask me if she could change his diapers. she was only around 8 years of age at the time, a little too young to deal with sharp diaper pins so rather than say no, i instead would allow her to pull off the baby's rubber pants for me while i readied a fresh diaper. she was also always willing and ready to fetch me clean rubber pants and diapers, baby wash cloths, and anything else i needed throughout the day. now at 11 years of age, my neice is old enough to change diapers on her own and she often offers willingly. i must confess, she's a super mothers helper!
Chandra.9 years ago
i was very fortunate as well seema for when i was raising my son i had two older teenage step daughters who pitched in and helped out with everything too. when the baby was just days old, i taught both the girls how to fold, pin, and change his diapers, prepare baby formula, and bath him. the girls were even great about taking the baby out in the stroller for walks.
REBECCA.9 years ago
this is very bad
Loly.9 years ago
i have 2 daughters 11 and 7 and a 6 yr old son, they help me everyday, they do their bed every morning before going to school, during the week every other day girls wash dishes, they help me prepare dinner, set the table, on thursdays they separate their dirty clothes, so does my son, he takes the garbage out, when we go food shopping they help around the store and help me unload bags in the van and at home, im very happy my kids are very helpful, this helps all of us and this way we have time to watch a nice movie or play a board game together. they also help me rake and clean outside. we wash the car together, is fun for everyone. on the weekends we sleep late, go out for dinner or go the park. they are happy of helping me and im very proud of them! :-)
RKDEE.9 years ago
the ideas presented in this article are very practical and helpful and can lay a solid foundation for good character in any child .
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