When it comes to encouraging your child to take on more responsibility and adopt a positive attitude towards work and chores, it’s important that as a parent you take a look at yourself and your response to housework and your own career first.
Before you can even think about directing your child towards the ‘help wanted' sign the chip shop has hanging up in the window, or getting them to look for a part time position online on Jobstoday, you need to demonstrate that you think of work as a positive thing – even if you don’t.
Try not to complain about your job when you get home, if you do need to vent do this with friends or your partner but not when your child is around. If they grow up experiencing your negative attitude towards your job then they are likely to look at working in the same light. If you are finding this hard, then it might be time to consider another career choice.
Jobs around the house are much the same, if you leave the washing up until it’s piled high next to the sink, then your child will think this is acceptable. If you leave dirty clothes on the floor or the wash basket overflowing then you are setting a less than ideal example, which they can only follow.
Keep on top of your own chores and explain to them why they must be done. It’s all relatively simple but most children come home from school to washed, folded and ironed clothes in their wardrobes and dinner ready and waiting on the table and so give no thought to who has done these tasks for them.
Obviously it’s probably best that you don’t kick start their chore duties with getting them to cook dinner every evening. Start small and assign them a simple task, which once they have completed, will receive a reward for. This reward will vary depending on the child, whether it is pocket money, time on their favourite game or letting them watch a TV show.
If they do not complete their chore do not reward them, this can be very hard for some parents but it is important that you explain to them that once they start working they must always complete assigned tasks or they could lose their job and not get paid.
Try your best not to nag or shout, gentle reminders work best. It can be frustrating at first, trying to get your child to take part in household chores, but once they understand that to get rewarded they must first complete a task, they will soon catch on.
If however the chore has been left, try your best to refrain from giving up and simply doing it yourself, unless the rubbish is spilling out of the bin onto the floor of course. Ensure your child doesn’t feel like chores you simply don’t want to do aren’t being offloaded onto them. You might not want to take the rubbish bin out every week, but if you share the chore they will feel better about doing it.
Many parents attempt to create a strict chore schedule, but why not try enforcing rules such as: ‘if you see the rubbish bin is full take it out’ or ‘if there are plates by the sink put them in the dishwasher/wash them up’. An if and when approach could work well with some children as they feel like they are helping out, rather than being told to do something at a specific time on a certain day.
However, if you don’t feel that your child will adopt this sort of responsibility and a chore chart is necessary you can create one yourself to stick on the fridge or download and print one from a site online.
It’s important that you praise and encourage your child when it comes to future jobs and helping around the house. These experiences are something they will carry through with them into the real world of work and could have a real impact on their future. If they think everything will be done for them they will struggle and learn the hard way, but if they are taught to be responsible and helpful from an early age they can only succeed.
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