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When Kids Help Out: It's Good for Them

Raising a Responsible Adolescent

Winning the Chores Wars: How to Get Your Child to Do Household Jobs

A Parents Guide to Teen Years: Raising Your 11-14 Year Old in the Age of Navel Rings



by Tania Cowling


Children love to feel important and a part of your everyday activities. Empowering your child with simple tasks will, in turn, cultivate a feeling of responsibility and a sense of accomplishment. Regular chores, during the preteen and teen years, can help foster your child's sense of competence and self-esteem, as well as reinforce the idea that he's a valuable member of the family. When you do assign chores, remember that giving an adolescent challenging jobs keeps him more engaged and demonstrates your trust. One way to do this is to respect your child's need for autonomy by allotting his complete responsibility for a certain task whenever possible. Appropriate chores might include:


*      planting, watering, and weeding one part of your garden.

*      keeping one or more rooms clean (besides his own)

*      doing the laundry (including folding and ironing) once or twice a week.

*      planning, help cooking and cleaning up after one dinner each week.

*      painting a room (possibly their bedroom)

*      mowing the lawn.

*      having total responsibility for the care of a pet.

*      organizing the pantry, playroom shelves, or the garage. Have a meeting to discuss the style of organization you want and let your child do the work.

*      babysitting younger siblings one night a week so you can enjoy an evening out.

*      managing the family's recycling efforts (sorting various categories, and taking the bins or bags out to the curb on collection day.)


A major question that comes up in preteen households is Should I pay my child for doing chores? Some parents feel that allowance shouldn't be used as compensation for routine household chores because they should be done for the sake of helping the family. But even if this is your family's belief, at times you may want to pay your preteen for doing extra work around the house, maybe beyond the chores assigned. This builds responsibility in another area‹money management. Teens can also make money by doing household chores and yard work for neighbors. This is something that is quite helpful during the long summer months.





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