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Importance of household chores in a child’s development cannot be overemphasized.
The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown gave those of us who are not the essential service providers the luxury of time we have never had before.
How well we are able to maximize this time counts a lot. For families with children, this is the best opportunity to teach children some important life skills and lessons through household chores.
Prior to this lockdown, my two older children (9 and 6 years respectively) have always alternated between washing dishes and cleaning the rooms. Although there is a timetable for the household chores, the pressure from work and school made it difficult to follow the timetable judiciously, especially on weekdays. However, this lockdown has eliminated any excuses for failure to follow the timetable.
In addition to the chores on my children’s timetable, we have intentionally added cooking together, with the kids serving as my little chefs. They are usually excited to be mummy’s little chefs.
Once, to stretch the limits a bit, my children persuaded me to allow them wash the car and I obliged them, while I observed and coordinated from a safe distance. This has turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences for everyone during the lockdown.
Importance of Household Chores in a Child’s Development:
Research has shown that apart from academic related skills, carrying out household chores also equips growing children with very relevant life skills. These include:
- Importance of cleanliness: Household chores teaches children the importance of cleanliness. When children get involved with chores like making their bed, cleaning up their rooms, etc., they learn both personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness, which they take into their adulthood.
- Taking responsibility: Household chores teaches children to take responsibility early in life. For instance, teaching a child some age-appropriate household chores like clearing and cleaning the dishes after meals make them take responsibility for any mess they create rather than shifting responsibility to others.
- Teamwork and team spirit: A successful home is not run by one person’s effort. Rather, it is a function of the collective teamwork of all the family members. Children should be made to see themselves as active members of this team from an early age by assigning age-appropriate chores to them. They should not just be observers.
- Sense of fulfillment: There is a sense of fulfillment that comes with getting a task accomplished. Do not deny your children this sense of fulfillment. Teach them how to do some household chores and introduce new chores gradually as they master previous ones.
- They learn that life is a process and not a finished product: When you involve your children in chores like cooking, they learn that life is a process, and not some finished product. For example, when your child helps you in preparing jollof rice or pan cakes, they get involved and participate in the process that turns the raw rice or the pan cake ingredients into a delicious jollof rice or pan cakes respectively. This teaches them both process and patience. Trust me, they will eat that food with a greater sense of joy and fulfillment than being served already prepared food. (magic food).
- Accountability: Children learn accountability early in life by accomplishing assigned household tasks.
On a closing note, one of the ways that I use to make my children to be more accountable in doing household chores is by attaching some benefits to successful completion of chores and also withholding some privileges like watching cartoons, playing games, using the computer, when tasks are neglected or avoided.