KIDS HELP OUT AT HOME, IT'S GOOD FOR THEM
it important to give youngsters responsibilities for jobs in and around
the house? First of all, it can and should be helpful to busy working
parents. Obviously, more work gets done if everyone has a job to do.
But what purpose does it serve for the kids?
children to become cooperative members of a household is one of the
best ways to teach them responsibility. And it is a vital step in
developing caring, considerate adults.
BOYS ALSO NEED TO LEARN HOUSEHOLD SKILLS
a majority of men married to women who work outside the home, men's
knowledge of how to do household jobs and willingness to do them play
an important role in making marriages work today, and will be even more
important in the future.
to set the table, make a bed and run a vacuum cleaner are basic skills
just as much as learning the ABCs,” says the mother of a five-year-old boy. And it especially
important for boys to do everyday chores like dusting and laundry. We
have to get away from raising men who feel comfortable only with «male
tasks¡ such as cutting grass, shoveling snow and taking out the garbage.”
Roiphe puts it in more dramatic terms: If we raise boys to know
that diapers need to be changed and refrigerators need to be cleaned,
there¡s hope for the next generation.”
IT¡S BEST TO START YOUNG
may come as a surprise to some parents, even young children can do
lots of helpful things around the house. As Jean Ross Peterson observes:
Chores begin when your child can pick it up, put it away, fold,
sort it, or carry it out the door.” When they¡re in the mood and feeling cooperative, children of three, four,
and five love to carry groceries, set the table and take dishes to
the kitchen. Helping out with small tasks makes young kids feel competent
a child¡s pace and a parent¡s needs collide when little ones insist
on dressing themselves for school, for example, or take five minutes
to fold a towel. While you don¡t want to discourage kids from doing
things for themselves and you try to allow enough time, sometimes
you may need to limit participation in the interest of getting to
school or work on time.
GETTING SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN TO PITCH IN
kids get older and are able to do more things around the house, they
are not always willing to help. They are not as eager to please and
there is also competition with school activities, homework, and time
Young grade-schoolers can make their beds, put their clothes in the
laundry, feed pets and get their backpacks organized for school. They
should also be able to help out with food preparation and clean-up.
as to what jobs children can do vary according to the family circumstances,
numbers and ages of children and whether both parents work outside
of the home. For example, a six-year-old in one family may be expected
to do a job reserved for a nine-year-old in another.
CHORES FOR PRETEENS AND TEENS
and teenagers can do a great many chores. As Fred Gosman points out
in How to Be a Happy Parent” (Villard Books), A
child who can program a VCR is capable of mastering a washer and dryer.”
age can come up with ingenious ideas for avoiding their chores, says
Gosman. One teenager whose jobs was to make sure there was always
toilet paper in the bathroom piled 42 rolls next to each toilet. Another
left a broiler pan on the stove because, as he said, you only
ask me to do the dishes.”
describes how some parents use the natural consequence” approach when
children balk at doing chores. For example: Forget to empty the cat
litter and the litter box spends the night in your room. Or children
who don't change their sheets find their beds stripped.
are some other ways to avoid power struggles and get chores done:
on the problem.
When you want to stay, How many times do I have to tell you to take the
garbage out after dinner?” try instead, Your mother needs help. Let's both pitch
messages. When you want to say, You're so thoughtless,”
say instead, I don't like it when I have to do my job and yours
it in writing.
Tape notes to different parts of the house to communicate what needs
to be done.