It is the desire of every mother to see her child grow into a responsible adult.
As a mother, you therefore start instilling a sense of responsibility in your child at a tender age. At first, every effort you make bears fruits as your child performs tasks with little or no persuasion. Most times they freely volunteer, and throw tantrums when you decline their offers to help.
Wait until your child becomes a teen.
Every trick in the book fails. You give clear instructions of tasks to be performed and even throw in incentives. Only to discover that incentives have lost their magic and your authority as a parent gets questioned.
So, what has changed?
House chores used to be part of the family set up in the days gone bay. However, this trend is drastically changing. Asking children to undertake house chores is no longer as widespread as it once used to be. Some families have abandoned chores all together.
According to a Braun Research conducted in 2014, 82% of 1,001 parents said they performed house chores as children. However, only 28% of them require their children to do house chores. 75% of them agreed that chores make children more responsible while 63% believe it teaches children important life lessons.
With teens increasingly becoming overwhelmed with learning foreign languages, ballet classes and sports, house chores have stopped being a priority. Some parents believe their children don’t have time for chores while others feel guilty asking their children to do house chores. Others believe it is the duty of their house helps to undertake chores while their children focus on becoming the best they can ever be.
Benefits of house chores
- Increases family cohesion due to shared responsibility among family members
- Increased competence with necessary skills
- Children feel they are adding value to their families
- Instilling values and morals that children can carry into their adulthood
“The trouble with living alone is that it’s always your turn to do the dishes.”
How to influence teens into helping with house chores
As your child grows into a young adult, their emotions and the way they look at things changes. They no longer want to be treated like children and feel entitled to being referred to as a grown up. So, how do you ensure that your teen transits into a responsible young adult?
In this article, we shall explore ways of how to influence teens into helping with house chores.
- Plan daily schedules with them
Create habits that will naturally make them want to stay in tidy places.
Engage them in talks about how important it is to be tidy especially while growing up. This will massage their grown-up feeling. Create a daily to-do list and discuss how the chores should be carried out. Attach reward and consequences to the tasks. Leave it for sometimes to see how they perform the duties.
Reassess performance together after the agreed time. Carry out the reward or consequences.
Top Tip #1: Include Mimic Toys
You remember how small children are usually eager to assist with chores? It is a good idea to allow them to participate in helping with chores. The best way of doing so is getting them mimic toys so they can mimic helping you. This will enable you child to get used to the idea of helping with chores.
- Respect their space
How do they want their room to look like? What kind of hang-ups do they prefer on the wall? Do they want fancy bedcovers?
All these may look crazy to you but as long as it is not unacceptable, give teens control of their space.
Going against norm did not seem like a very bad idea when you were a teen!
However, set standards of the general tidiness and orderliness expected in the room.
- Lead by example
So you have set aside a particular day for general cleaning? Plan the tasks together and make sure you keep the conditions that you want your teens to meet.
Observe the timelines and perform all the chores that you had assigned to yourself. Avoid micromanaging them and check desired results after the end of the tasks. Help out on difficult assignments but do not take over.
- Get involved
If you give specific assignments and they are not done, inquire what the problem could be. It is possible that your teens could be feeling overwhelmed by other areas of their life.
Get interested in their life. Know their homework and the extracurricular activities they engage in.
Is your child having an after-school attachment? Know how involving the job is. This will help you allocate tasks which are achievable.
Top Tip#2: Make Use of Chore Charts
A chore chart I ideal for children aged 5 and above. Children are able to use chore charts on their own with little supervision. Children aged 7 – 9 are capable of vacuuming, getting their own breakfast, emptying litter boxes amongst other chores. Ask them to fill a chore chart and tick off what they accomplish every day.
- Consider their age
Engage the younger teens in lighter duties while allocating heavier workloads to the elder ones.
Teach the older teens the value of assisting their siblings in case they fall out on their tasks.
Provide an open environment where everyone knows what is expected of them. Avoid double assignment of tasks.
- Leave it
If a teen fail to perform an assigned task, leave it. Do not hurriedly iron their uniforms so that they go to school looking presentable.
Let them carry the consequences of their failure.
This will arouse the importance of performing tasks and next time they won’t need a reminder.
Whereas teenage can be challenging, it is a passing phase that needs to be managed with wisdom. Introduce responsibility at a young age so that your child will find it easier to transit into teenage. Understand your teenage and learn how best best to get them involved in undertaking house chores. They are not as grown up as they want to feel and should understand that being responsible is part and parcel of growing up.
Above all else, adopt methods that best work for your family and each individual child. Ensure you maintain a firm but gentle approach while dealing with your teens. Here’s to your success!
Do you assign your children house chores? If your answer is yes, what are the methods you employ? If not, why not? Feel free to share your responses below in the comment section. The best three responses will receive a gift voucher for coffee for two at Java Coffee House.
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James Ouma is a CTI Clarity Coach, Cyclist and Writer. He is passionate about positive masculinity and helping incarcerated male teens to reconcile with their families and their communities. He loves staring at his bicycle, flipping through movies without watching them, and playing ‘tap out’ with his wife.