Chores and Children: Inspiring Your Child to Help with Chores

chores and children

Have you found yourself experiencing fatigue and desperately needing help around the house? While most of us believe in the virtue of having children help around the home, the real challenge is getting them excited and committed to playing a role in the upkeep of the home. Furthermore, children who help with household chores have greater opportunities to learn to be accountable, independent and less self-centred.

So, here are some ideas from other parents that you might want to try out with your little ones. Feel free to adapt the ideas to suit your needs. Not only will it be fun for your children, this also allows both yourself and your spouse to get creative.

For children aged 3 to 5 years old

Colour the quilt

Encourage them to make their beds by drawing a picture of a quilt with 30 patches. Each time they make their beds, let them colour a patch. The goal is to complete the quilt.

The clean-up song

Help them get into the habit of picking up their toys – and make it fun. Make up lyrics to familiar songs and sing them while they pick up the toys. For example, sing “The Farmer in the Dell” with the following lyrics:

We’re picking up the blocks,

We’re picking up the blocks,

Hi-ho, the derry-o

We’re picking up the blocks.

You can even add in the child’s name to personalise it:

Josh picked up a toy

He’s such a wonderful boy

Hi-ho, the derry-o

Cleaning is a joy.

Caring for pets

Let them fill the pet’s water bowl using a cup and transferring it into the pet’s dish. When he sees the dog lapping up the water, praise him for taking care of his pet.

The key is to affirm each child when their actions have contributed to making things better for others around the home.

 

For children aged 6 to 12 years

Motivate with a point system

The goal is to instil responsibility and ownership without parental nagging. Start by determining a scale for points to be earned. Allocate more points for difficult tasks, and “bonus” points for being generous and kind. The key is to be consistent. At the end of the agreed timeframe, the child with the most points win. The winner earns the power of choice – where the next fun family outing will be, for instance – but siblings still get to join in the fun. A win-win situation for all!

Create chore charts with a reward system

Start by preparing a laminated chore list for each child, then set up magnetic charts that have their names and days of the week. Have the children pick out inexpensive items that they’d like to form a set of rewards that can be redeemed. When each child does his/her chores without being reminded, they place a magnet on the chart. Failing to do chores gets a magnet removed. Once they have accumulated enough magnets, they can pick their reward from the prize box.

Use chores to build relationships

While children do their chores, parents can help them out by working alongside, which paves the way for conversation and even playfulness.

 

With many families in Singapore relying on live-in domestic help, it remains highly important that children learn to help with basic chores so that they do not grow up with a sense of entitlement. Getting the children to perform light chores on a helper’s day off will give them a fuller appreciation of the aid that the family receives from the domestic helper. Over time, children will also learn to be more independent, increasingly confident in their growing abilities, more accountable and less egocentric.

Make helping around the home a norm for your children today, and witness the benefits your family will reap tomorrow.

©2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

Article contributed by Elvira Tan, Focus on the Family Singapore

Read also: What You Need to Know About Teaching Children to Share and Take Turns

What You Need to Know about Teaching Children to Share and Take Turns

teaching children to share and take turns

Learning to share and take turns while playing can be challenging for young children – especially those under six – but it is a vital skill that they need to pick up during the early years.

According to AskDrSears, sharing teaches children about empathy and gives them the ability to see things from the viewpoints of others. Sharing also teaches children about compromise and helps them learn that if they share what they have with others, this good deed will come back to them one day. When they share, children learn to take turns for play-learn situations and cope with disappointments – two very important life skills that will get them ahead in life.

When can we expect children to share?

During the early years, children are still learning to make sense of the concept of sharing as they learn more about themselves and their favourite possessions. Here are some guidelines to help you through when teaching toddlers and pre-schoolers to share and take turns:

Toddlers

At this stage, toddlers believe that the world revolves around them and everything that comes into their sight belongs to them. Although putting forward the consequences for not sharing does little to get your toddler to learn to share, with encouragement and practice, he/she will slowly get there.

By 3 years old, your toddler will start to understand the concept of taking turns – but tantrums are still inevitable, especially if another child takes a toy that he/she was eyeing.

Pre-schoolers

While most pre-schoolers understand the concept of sharing in the simplest form, some of them might not be keen to put this knowledge into action, and can be impatient when it comes to taking turns. You can develop your pre-schooler’s sharing skills further by praising her for taking turns (especially when she does it well) and encouraging fair play. If she still refuses to share, do talk to her about how she will feel if her toy was taken away or if she is denied a turn in playing. Talking to your pre-schooler about other people’s feelings will help her see things from another person’s view, and this is an important skill to have in making friends.

See also: 5 Ways to Ease Pre-school Separation Anxiety in Your Child

How to teach children to share and take turns

There are various tools and methods you can use when teaching children to share and take turns. Some of these include:

1. Showing a good example

Children learn best from observing the actions of others, especially mum and dad.  So, take the chance to model good behavior when it comes to sharing and taking turns. For example, you can show how you share your favourite snacks with the whole family during movie nights at home, or how mum and dad take turns to use the bathroom.

2. Playing sharing games

Fun activities such as games help children learn and understand a concept better than drilling the basics at them. Here are some fun sharing games that you can play with your children to teach them about sharing and taking turns:

  • Share Daddy/Mummy – Place one child on each side of your lap and do fun things like letting each of them have a go at “riding the rocking horse”. This teaches children to share a special person in their lives.
  • Share Your Favourite Things – Give your child his/her favourite snack or toy, and get him/her to share them with everyone in the room. The message to convey here is that sharing is a way of life and that it spreads joy and happiness to those around us.
  • Play family games such as “Snap”, memory card games or “Pop up pirate” where everyone needs to wait his/her turn to have a go. This gives them some first-hand experience about sharing the game with everyone in the family and the value of taking turns.

See also: Social Skills for Children – An Age-By-Age Guide

3. Introducing time-sharing

When children are having problems sharing a toy, you can use a timer to stop the squabbling and ensure fair play. Here’s how to use the time-sharing method:

  • Think of a number in your head and get each child to choose a number
  • The one who chooses the closest number you thought of gets to play with the toy first
  • Set the timer for 2 minutes
  • When the times buzzes, the toy goes to the next child for the same amount of time

If your children still refuse to share after explaining the time-sharing method to them, your last resort is to put the toy back in its original place and explain to them that nobody gets to play with it until they learn to share. Expect some sulking and protesting initially, but once they realise that they are better off sharing the toy, they will learn to cooperate and come to a compromise.

4. Bringing toys to playdates

If your children have problems sharing his/her toys during playdates, do ask the playmate’s parent to bring some toys along. Children, being intrigued with toys that are new to them, will soon realise that they must share their own toys in order to have a go at their playmate’s toys. Similarly, if your child is going to a playmate’s house for a playdate, do pack some toys for him/her to bring along and share with the other children.

 This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

Find out how children at MindChamps PreSchool are taught values such as compassion, confidence, gratefulness and more. Visit your preferred centre now to find out more!

How to Raise a Happy Child: 10 Tips Backed by Science

how to raise a happy child

As parents, we want only the best for our children. We do what we can to secure their future by getting first-hand tips on raising them to be smart and successful from the start. But amongst all these, we realise that what matters most is that their lives are filled with happiness and positivity.

But what’s the secret to raising happy children?

Sometimes we may struggle to find a balance between what’s best for our children and what makes them happy – but these two do not need to be mutually exclusive. Tapping on what studies in the areas of psychology, sociology and neuroscience have proven about confidence, gratefulness and optimism, Christine Carter, Ph.D., author and Executive Director of University of California – Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, narrows down the process to 10 happiness-inducing steps in her book, Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:

1. Make sure you stay happy yourself

Studies have found that parents who are happy are likely to have happy children, although no genetic link has been proven yet.  However, extensive research has established a link between mothers who feel depressed and behavioural problems in their children, such as the tendency to act out. Through these observations, it was deduced that in order to raise a happy child, the first thing to do is to stay happy yourself. Without you realising it, your child might be mimicking your actions and response to situations – which is why it is important that we do our best to set a good example for them.

How to do it: Because laughter and happiness are contagious, do make an effort to hang out with family and friends who never fail to bring joy to your life. Neuroscientists believe that hearing another person laugh triggers mirror neurons in a region of the brain that makes you feel as though you are laughing too.

 

2. Emphasise the importance of building good relationships

We realise the importance of establishing strong ties with the people in our lives, but how do we teach our children how to relate to others? While it goes beyond just saying, “Hey, stop it” when kids do not get along, the starting point for this is actually quite simple.

How to do it: Start by encouraging your child to perform small acts of kindness or to show empathy for those around them. This can involve participating in a charity drive or helping an elderly neighbour with his/her heavy groceries. Research has shown that apart from building the basic essential skills and encouraging your children to be better people, this makes them happier too in the long run.

 

3. Recognise effort without the need to attain perfection

This serves as a reminder for perfectionist parents to ease their efforts in driving their children’s achievements. When mum and dad place heavy emphasis on success and achievement, their kids are more likely to feel stressed and suffer from psycho-emotional issues such as depression and anxiety as they view their failures as evidence of their incompetence.

How to do it: To keep things in perspective, experts recommend that we shift our praises to the effort our children has put in, rather than focusing on their talents and abilities.

In a series of experiments conducted on fifth graders in the United States, researchers Claudia Mueller and Carol Dweck found that children behaved very differently towards their achievements, depending on the type of praises received. Those who were praised for their intelligence tend to avoid difficult tasks and were more interested to know how they measured up against others. On the other hand, children who were praised for their effort showed opposite trends by preferring challenging tasks from which they could learn from.

“When we praise children for the effort and hard work that leads to achievement, they want to keep engaging in that process. They are not diverted from the task of learning by a concern with how smart they might – or might not – look,” Dweck explains.

 

4. Teach them to be optimistic

Take heed if you would like to know how to skip dealing with sulky teens later on in life. Studies have found that 10-year-olds who are taught how to think and interpret the world in an optimistic manner are half as prone to depression in their teenage years.

In her book, Carter affirms this by stating how optimism is “so closely related to happiness that the two can practically be equated.” Upon comparing pessimists and optimists, she finds that the latter:

  • Are more successful at school, work and athletics
  • Tend to be healthier and live longer
  • End up more satisfied with their marriages
  • Are less likely to deal with depression and anxiety

How to do it: To teach your children to look on the bright side of life, encourage them to count their blessings daily by making a list of three things that went well that day. The three things listed do not need to be life-changing, but they can be things and events that are important to your child (e.g. I made a new friend who loves ice cream as much as I do). Next to each statement, write down the answer to the question, “Why did this happen?”

This technique has been proven to help people – both young and old – feel happier simply because this physical list reminds them of the good things that happened in life and shifts their attention away from the bad ones.

 

5. Raise them to be emotionally intelligent

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognise our own feelings and that of others, and to know how to regulate and express them appropriately, and use them effectively to guide our thoughts and behaviour in all situations.

Contrary to popular belief, emotional intelligence is a skill, and not a trait that we possess naturally from birth. With this, it is important to teach our children to understand their own emotions and that of others in order to help them relate and get along well with the people in their lives.

How to do it: You can help your child as he/she struggles with anger or frustration by applying these points – Empathise, Label, and Validate.

Start by acknowledging your child’s emotions when he/she is upset, as this shows that you empathise with him/her. Empathising doesn’t mean you agree with what he/she is doing (your child may have to do what you say), but it brings the message across that he/she is entitled to his/her own perspective.

Throughout the process, do ensure that you label your child’s feelings (e.g. “You are angry at me right now, are you disappointed too?). This helps him/her to understand the various types of emotions and the factors that led to them.

Once you have identified your child’s feelings, let him/her know that it is alright to feel that way. Upon validating their feelings, you can lead the way by teaching them to manage and tolerate the situation without the need to act on them and cause distress to others.

 

Dedicating more time for play and quality family time might just be what you need to see your child’s happiness level soar. More on this and other scientifically-validated tips for raising happy kids on the next page.