Do I Have To?

Children learn how to be responsible.

Chores are important.
Teaching children how to do work around the house may seem like a chore in itself. However, the rewards are great: you get the help and your child learns to take pleasure and pride in being a competent,contributing member of the family. Or, at least that’s the goal!

Habit Forming:
Having one or more daily chores helps children develop a lifetime habit of caring forthemselves and others. It’s also easier to remember chores when they’re part of a daily routine.

A Family Affair:
Doing chores as a family can be fun. Pick a weekend morning, put it on the calendar,and see how much can be accomplished when everyone pitches in. Treating the crew to pizza for lunch is a great reward and incentive.

Today’s Helper:
Being mom’s or dad’s special helper for a task works well to teach children a chore they’re not yet able to do on their own. Your child learns from watching you and by helping with the easier parts.

Effort Counts:
When you look at your child’s work, you may be tempted to offer corrections. Be gentle. Always start by praising your child’s effort and the parts that were done well. Then it’s okay to say: “Next time I’d like you to…”

Hands Off!:
Although it may be difficult, resist the impulse to go back and “fix” your child’s work. Nothing is more certain to discourage your child from learning and improving than your “helpfulness.”

Nag Not!:
Nags and threats seldom inspire cooperation. Keep chore reminders brief: “Make your bed.” “Feed the dog.” If the reminder fails, use Grandma’s Rule: “When you (feed the dog), then you can (watch TV).”

You may reprint these tip sheets, free and without special permission, provided that you include the following copyright statement: © King County Library System, Parent Trust and Washington State PTA.