2 years ago

How giving children chores around the house builds self-confidence

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Doing household chores was a regular part of learning for the majority of parents growing up. 

In many cultures across the world, parents call their children's assistance in minor tasks soon after they learn to walk. Children gradually begin to assume responsibilities, such as organising, making the bed, and putting stuff in proper places. By the time they reach adolescence, parents no longer make requests because children start to anticipate what is expected of them.

In Bangladesh, we tend to think of young children as free from doing tasks and helping out. A new survey indicates that while more than 90 per cent of parents admit to having done chores as a child, only 66 per cent of them regularly assign chores to their children.

This raises the question: Should children perform chores? If yes, how should parents proceed in this regard?

Let's look at what research says. According to a study, children who are doing chores regularly around the house have a higher sense of self-esteem, are more responsible and better equipped to deal with frustration and delayed satisfaction, all of which correlate to academic achievement.

Evidence also indicates that children who perform tasks are much more likely to become successful individuals in the long run.

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), doing chores help children learn how to manage their time and organise their things, so they can be more productive and organised when they grow up. 

Besides, screen time has replaced outdoor games and physical activities as a form of entertainment for children these days. Hence, involving children in household activities will improve their mobility, appetite and confidence, while reducing depression, insomnia and screen addiction. 

Therefore, parents should assign their children chores regularly if they want them to be responsible, organised and productive.

Here are some simple ideas to motivate children to do chores.  

Idea 1: Start early

The sooner parents involve their children in chores, the better the progression becomes. The best time to involve children in chores is when they are toddlers. They may throw tantrums but regular practice will help them to improve. According to research, toddlers who help develop into cooperative kids don't complain and don't need to be reminded of their tasks. Parents should start by assigning minor tasks, such as asking children to bring paper or a pen. They can even turn chores into challenging games for children, like – “Can you bring me a pen?”. Parents must gradually integrate children into real tasks and applaud their efforts even if they fail to pull off.

Idea 2: Make responsibilities constant and purposeful

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 12 and above should perform the majority of household tasks. To begin, parents must assign their children age-appropriate and consistent tasks. For example, asking them to change their curtains or fold their clothes every weekend could be torturous. Daily participation is more practical. If parents assign regular tasks to children, like making their bed, putting things in place after study or play, help family members, such as grandparents, to take their medicine, they will find it easy to do.

Idea 3: Assign real-life chores

If asked properly, children enjoy doing real-world tasks. They are driven to do chores when they see the fruits of their labour. For instance, children feel proud when they see a clean floor after sweeping up a mess with a broom. Parents should assign real-world tasks to their children that are necessary to make them feel confident.

Idea 4: Work together

Helping parents with domestic chores not only promotes work ethics but also fosters teamwork at home. For working parents, this could be an incredible opportunity to spend quality time with their children as they adore working with their mom and dad.

Idea 5: Appreciate their effort

Everybody desires to be valued. Children are no exception. They crave recognition for the efforts they put into activities. Positive reinforcement is extremely beneficial to children. So, when a child accomplishes a chore, parents must extend their appreciation. Going overboard in this regard is unnecessary. A simple ‘thank you for keeping your room tidy’ could go a long way. This is especially true when children do tasks that are not asked of them. 

Parents often tend to interfere when children do not complete chores according to their standards. Sometimes parents impose too many rules on their children at the beginning of a task, making it daunting for them to accomplish. The primary objective of assigning chores to children is to teach them how to start and handle responsibilities, not how to accomplish them perfectly. When children put maximum effort, parents must be encouraging.

Sadia Mahjabeen ([email protected]) is the principal and Tamanna Toma Khan ([email protected]) works as Program Expert at iAmMotherly.

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