children pitch in can mean different things to parents and
children. For you it could mean:
with the laundry
work for you
work for you
responsibilities for the whole family
to the smooth running of the family can teach children:
value their own and other people's belongings
look after things and other people
within a family
warning that it is time to change activities, eg 'Two
minutes and then we have to pack up'
to pack up so that packing up is also 'fun'
as children often take longer to do a task
limits for when the job should be done (by dinner time,
help to 'finish' the job
know what standard is expected
to notice their efforts
to show them how to help
partner rather than a sergeant
to make the task more fun - singing, reading, talking
helps to 'move the job along'.
statement of appreciation
share in decision making and making rules
children to help
vary between families and cultures. You must decide the
responsibilities your children will assume. Don't expect too
much too early - but remember young children love helping. By
encouraging this you are building up good habits for later on.
about 18 months, children love to put things in other things.
Make use of this instead of putting things in rubbish bins and
toilets, encourage them to put toys, clothes and plastic
containers in drawers or cupboards. They can have fun and
begin helping. Don't be surprised if they tip everything out
and want to do it all over again.
age three to four years children will enjoy tidying up if they
have a place to put away their belongings. Open shelves will
help them see where things belong and makes it easier to put
them things away. Children at this age like to do things 'like
mum' or 'like dad' or other special people like grandparents,
but are easily distracted and may forget what they are doing
half way through a task.
age five or six, children can help make sandwiches, dress
themselves and are more successful at finishing jobs.
eight and nine year olds are thoughtful and understand reasons
for asking them to do things. They may also give reasons why
they shouldn't! Asking rather than demanding is the key.
eight and nine year olds can do most simple tasks like:
and drying dishes,
clothes away, hanging out clothes and
enjoy your help too! A task like cleaning a bedroom is
enormous for a child. You can help by making the task smaller,
getting them to first pick up all the animals or all the
blocks. Matching and sorting is important learning. Talk with
them while the job is being done. Give incentives such as
time, activities, as encouragement to finish the job.
- By 10,
11 and 12 years, children enjoy 'earning' money for small jobs
and love the buying power money gives!
- A good
way to enlist help from children is to start small and
gradually build up as they and their confidence and abilities
jobs are appropriate will vary between families and cultures.
your child in part of the decision making usually means they
are more likely to finish the job.
which may help include the following
to live by the rule 'Don't put it down, put it away.'.
a 'cleaning time' each day or each week or according to
your family's needs. Knowing it is coming can help you all
put up with the mess at other times.
a place for dirty clothes in each bedroom or bathroom,
preferably wherever the children are when taking off their
everyone in the family make a list of what jobs need to be
done each day or each week. Change jobs from time to time
- rotate jobs that aren't popular. A roster might help.
possible give your children a choice of jobs to do.
and girls can do the same number of jobs.
children do a task, it is done. Don't do the job over
again or it will make them feel bad.
children to do a job their way. It won't hurt if they make
patterns with the cleanser before cleaning the bath..
each child only as many jobs as they can handle.
times when they are happy and not busy with their own
things to ask them to help. None of us like doing chores
when tired or doing something fun.
not to 'remind' them too much.
notes to remind children about jobs. Make them silly
sometimes like writing a note saying 'Help! I'm lost!' and
putting it on to a jacket which has been left on the
are more likely to remember jobs if there is a good reason
why they need to be done, clothes not put in the laundry
don't get washed.
to give a warning if jobs are to be done by a set time and
you are coming home earlier than expected.
hiding a surprise in the bottom of a pile of laundry or at
the bottom of a box of toys to be put away.
give your children too many chores.
an example by occasionally offering to help your children.
For example 'Can I help you tidy your room, it looks like
a lot of work today' shows that helping and caring for
each other is part of a normal family.
children do chores they are learning about consequences. For
instance if their dirty clothes are not put in the dirty
laundry basket they won't have anything clean to wear to
you give your children pocket money is a decision for
of pocket money can be that children:
a sense of how much has to be done to earn money
that 'money doesn't grow on trees'
what money can buy - how much they need to buy
what they want
have their own money to spend - helping them
develop self control and understanding the value
know there is a set amount of money rather than
asking for money all the time.
can be that:
may think they will get paid for everything they
do to help
have to find the money to pay them regularly
is hard to know what the pocket money is supposed
to pay for - there always seems to be something
you decide to give pocket money you need to work out:
much is reasonable
the money will be paid for doing chores
much must be done to earn it - and how much is
simply because 'you are a member of the family'
much each job is worth
all children get the same amount or the older
child gets more
much control parents will have over the use of
pocket money - do they have to save some? What can
they buy with it?
you will pay - the children won't learn about the
responsibility of money if you don't honor the
idea might be to give your child a set amount each
week, putting half in a savings account.
the end of a time agreed on by you both - perhaps
three months - the child can spend the saved money
exactly as they wish.
they choose to 'waste' it on candy they can do so.
most children want something special and usually
prefer to save for that particular thing and not
waste it on a brief pleasure.
helps teach them the value of saving.