It’s school break!!! Yeah! For most students whose schools still follow the old/traditional school year, like my children’s schools, vacation mode is on! The first month of the school break is usually a time for our family to:
Relax in the evening. No homework and exams.
Chill in the morning.
Enjoy our breakfast.
Extend our bedtime (one hour only).
Bask in the sun and do outdoor activities like swimming.
Visit new places.
The second month (May) usually includes brushing up their knowledge in preparation for the coming school year, reading new books, advanced reading of anticipated lessons, learning new skills and performing new house chores. Yup, school break is a great time for parents to teach or introduce their kids to household tasks. All these activities while still chilling out and creating and collecting family treasured moments.
There have been infographics circulating around the social media about household chores which we can assign to our children according to their age. Even if I don’t follow it stringently, I make sure that my kids (aged six and four) learn to do some chores for our home. As of today, I can already count on them with:
Making up the bed.
Keeping their toys.
Cleaning their own toys.
Sorting their own stuff including their clothes.
Vacuuming the floor.
Folding their clothes.
Looking after their baby sister (two years old) for short minutes.
Cleaning up themselves before bedtime.
And, other chores I forgot to mention. Hehe.
What kind of chores you assign to your children isn’t important. What’s important is that you give them something to work on for which they will be accountable, and, in the process, they will:
Learn to be responsible
Learn to be creative.
Learn to be independent.
Learn new skills.
Have a better appreciation of their life and of their parents.
Feel that they are part of the family.
Be productive and learn the value of work.
Honestly speaking, hindi naman every day eh masisipag my kids. There are days when they get lazy and I struggle in making them participate or help me with the house chores. But, a few tips on how to effectively make your children happily obliged with the call of house duties are on this list:
Try not to refer to these tasks as “work” or “chores”. Instead, you may call them “responsibilities” or “family contributions”. Always remind them that it is the responsibility of each member of the family to take care of the home, not just of parents. Teach them that everyone’s meaningful contribution is needed to finish the tasks successfully, early and easily. That way, there can be more time for family bonding.
Set as a good example in doing tasks. Children learn by what they see on us. If they see us lazy, complaining and frowning over our duties, they will too. If they see us cheerfully performing our tasks, they will too.
Be mindful of your expectations from them. Assign age-appropriate chores. Remember that we are trying to teach them “life skills” far deeper than the tasks themselves. So, if they miss a spot of dirt on the floor, a speck of dust in the counter or folded their clothes in an odd way, be patient to teach them how to do the tasks. Better yet, guide them the first several times they do the tasks. Otherwise, just let it be.
Create visuals or infographics or post charts in common area. I don’t do this (not yet) for my children but step-by-step picture instructions on how to complete tasks can be interesting and a great help for children. Chart tasks that are visible for everybody can serve as a reminder for everyone to do their assigned tasks without being told.
Involve them in “meeting their targets”. Instead of deciding on your own which tasks they must do, you can have them choose from a pool of tasks you prepared. Let them decide which tasks they can and want to do and be responsible with.
Don’t forget to appreciate their efforts and effectively give praises from time to time. Always encourage them to do better the next time and reinforce their good behaviors. They need to be guided. They will not know if they are doing okay or not if you will not talk to them about the end results of their tasks.
The last but not the least, make house chores time, family time. Set aside a time of the day when everyone works on their own “family contributions”. If house chores time become a fun family time, there is no reason for anyone, including your children, to hate them.
I’ll just like to emphasize that there is a greater purpose in teaching our children to contribute to the house chores. It is not merely about getting the tasks done or keeping them busy with tasks. We want to teach them as early as possible a few but essential life skills, and, ultimately, how to live independently and interdependently.