If you are an 80’s kid or older, you would remember helping your parents helping around the house without the promise of rewards or stickers on a chart. We were told to do the help around the house, irrespective of whether we had house help or not. But today, with house helps and nannies doing most of the things for kids and the house, kids have learnt that cleaning and household chores are to be done only by ‘didi’ or ‘bhaiya’. While having a nanny or a house help is a necessity for most parents, kids being dependent on them for even a glass of water is not a great habit. Managing a house and running a house are the most important skills of all, and you need to create an atmosphere wherein all family members, irrespective of age, chip in.
You can reward the kid's with stickers/rewards or extra five minutes of screen time, to begin with. The kid can also help your house helps with smaller tasks like washing the veggies or watering the plants. As they get acquainted with one task and can follow through with it without your help, move them to the next chore.
In our Indian society, increasingly, the kids are not asked to help around the house. The excuses range from ‘what do we have house helps for’, ‘she will make a mess, and that will increase my workload’, ‘she is too young to be doing this. While these excuses may be valid, it takes away a great learning opportunity from kids.
Pitching in to make their bed, keeping things off the floor, arranging their toys, etc gives kid's a sense of accomplishment while also encouraging them to be better citizens in the long run.
It is not a competition or where the child will win something, it is a task which will teach them they in their small way, they can contribute to the house. It will sow the seeds of the fact that they are capable of taking care of themselves and their surroundings, even when no one is looking or judging or appreciating.
Kid's nowadays are not given responsibilities to even get a glass of water from themselves, let alone cleaning the house and helping around the house. Once children learn to contribute to cleaning, arranging the house, it will instil a sense of responsibility in her/him. They learn to share work pressure in the house.
Once the child knows and acknowledges how much effort it takes to keep something clean, she is bound to take all precautions to not make a big mess. You will see how they start arranging their books after reading or cleaning up immediately after playing with toys or colours. The child will start accounting for their stuff and taking care of their belongings.
Taking pegs off the clothes, cleaning a shelf, sharpening their pencils, shelling peas, etc will help your child develop fine and gross motor skills.
The cleaning time can also act as a great bond-strengthening activity between family members. For instance, car washing or gardening will help you bond better with your kid where you can talk about different parts of the plant or car.
For kids, it is important to burn out the energy every day. Engage them in a chore that burns their energy; if she has had a tough day, give them a smaller chore like filling water bottles. And if she has been in the house all day, give them multiple chores or more strenuous activities like setting the table and cleaning up afterwards, help in sorting laundry and putting it for washing, loading the dishwasher, etc.
You need to involve your child every day in one chore at least, to begin with. Once she has got a hang of it, make it an everyday practice for them to manage and arrange their things like books and toys. The most important thing is that the kid is treated as an equal when it comes to housework, and not mollycoddled, especially by the elders of the family.
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