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How to Get Your Child Helping Around the House?

26 August 2021

Mom, where have you kept my books? Can you make me something to eat? Can you clean my cupboard and bed? As parents, we get these requests from our children all the time. While growing up, we inadvertently teach our kids that asking someone else to do things for them is what life is about. In the process of taking care of them, we forget to make them self-reliant.

The importance of self-reliance lies in the fact that it enables children to have more control over their lives and their actions. It teaches them responsibility from a young age, and it is crucial for personal growth and development. Essentially, self-reliance in children builds self-confidence. When children are given the autonomy to carry out their duties, it builds up a sense of control and encourages them to be intrinsically motivated. We can say, then, that self-reliance is a culmination of discipline, responsibility and confidence.

Encouraging your child to help out around the house can be difficult at first, mainly because they are not used to taking on such activities in their daily life. To make this process easier, here are some tips and tricks to motivate your child!

Be A Role Model:
Do you do your stuff yourself? If yes! Your child may have a role model to look at and follow suit. You need to help your child understand that doing their work is just a way of life and it makes it easier and simpler to take the onus of their things.

Get Them Involved Early On:
Ask your child to help out in household chores early on by giving them age-appropriate tasks. Children can help out around the house. Encourage them to do so from an earlier age. Give them simpler tasks and gradually give them more difficult ones.

Instil Independence:
Let them do their activities individually and independently. This will help them learn more quickly and get in the groove of things faster. While allowing them a certain amount of control, also be careful not to overload them. Children are often tied up with school work and other activities. To motivate them to do chores, make sure not to burden them by giving them more than they can handle.

Encourage Small Efforts:
Make sure to give your children praise and acknowledge their effort. Children are used to having others do things for them and so negative reactions to their attempts can leave them feeling like they never should have tried taking control in the first place. Appreciation motivates them to do more.

Create A Collaborative Environment At Home:
Explain to your children that everyone in the house has certain duties and responsibilities that they must engage in throughout the day. Routines can help enforce this idea and reduce the feeling of unfairness that might crop up. Remember to create a calm and comfortable atmosphere so the child is happier while doing the chore and enjoys it instead of being afraid of it.

Reward Their Behaviour:
While it is only good for them to learn to be more independent, reward the behaviour to motivate them. Using a reward system can help encourage and motivate your children to do their chores. These rewards can be in terms of extra allowance or even a later bedtime. This reward system ends up putting chores in a favourable light and also makes children feel like their work is being appreciated.

The core lesson here is to not engage in a battle over the chores. Instead of creating a sense of “homework” surrounding chores, create a sense of “duty and appreciation” around them. Work with your child. It can be helpful for us as parents that helping out in the house is being a “family”. It’s not “you” vs “me” or “us” vs “you”. We all are in the same “team” and it is “teamwork”

Mansi M Doshi
Licensed Clinical Psychological and Psychotherapist. She is the founder of “Cognitive Balance”, the center for emotional well-being and mental health. She has been the infield of psychology for the past 18 years. She has also done her specialization in Play therapy from the British Association of Play therapist and Mayo Clinic (USA). She has been associated with various schools, children, and adults in handling emotional, behavioral, and learning concerns.

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