Teaching children to do housework is something that upsets parents who want their children to participate more in day-to-day household chores. So that this is not a daily battle when they are teenagers, it is best to instill the habit when they are little and want to imitate everything that we older people do.
Remember that young children are eager to participate as a family, to feel useful and to be considered part of this team that is formed by dad, mom and older brothers, if there are any, either setting the table or picking up their dishes.
1- Suggest, not impose. When children are young, between 2-3 years old, we should suggest and invite them to carry out these small tasks. If we suddenly force them to dress themselves or make their bed, we may provoke an initial rejection that involves entering into unnecessary conflicts. It is better to give them the opportunity to want to collaborate, to want to be one more, like the rest and stimulate interest in participating in their image, the order of the house, cleaning, hygiene ...
2- Assign a small list of daily tasks to the child based on his age and maturity. Homework should never be such an effort that it causes frustration or takes time away from homework or play. In children between 3-4 years we can ask them to get dressed, put on pajamas and leave dirty clothes in the laundry basket. As they grow, we will gradually add responsibilities such as setting and clearing the table, feeding their pets, preparing the school backpack or tidying their room.
3- Writing down tasks helps to remember. Having written down the tasks that each one must do helps young and old to remember what their responsibilities are. It is good to have them in a visible place so we do not forget what to do.
4- Accompany and guide them during the process. Explain to them in positive language what, how, when and why they should carry out their tasks. Explanations should be short and clear, without long speeches or sermons. For example: “Every morning we leave the bed made before going to school. The room is more beautiful and you will sleep better at night "
5- Be role models. Young children learn basically by modeling, that is, by imitating what they see adults doing, therefore they must have the opportunity to observe how we do what we ask.
6- Reward the effort. Let's not forget the importance of positive reinforcement after performing a behavior so that it repeats itself. The best rewards are immaterial ones: a compliment, a kiss, a sticker, or doing an activity together.
7- Do not do for them what they can do alone. Following the line of María Montessori, any unnecessary help is an obstacle to learning.
8- Do not expect perfection. Young children have limited motor skills, so it is normal for them to drop things, spill water or not know how to stretch and fold their clothes properly when they make their beds.
9- No screaming or bad manners. Yelling never teaches the behavior we want our children to do or gives us greater authority. The screams paralyze and reduce credibility. If we are going to lose patience, it is best to leave the task for another moment of greater serenity and start over.
10- Infinite patience. Parents must arm ourselves with infinite patience when we are establishing the habit of doing housework. Patience because their times are different from ours, patience because any task requires time for learning and patience because sometimes negatives and conflicts will appear.
You can read more articles similar to Ten Guidelines for Teaching Children to Do Housework, in the On-site Learning category.