Children naturally want to help. They love being included and feeling important. Chores are a great way to fulfill that need, boost their confidence, and help lessen your To-Do list at the same time! It may feel like you are at a constant battle to get your child to do what they are supposed to do, but when approached the right way they will be asking to do even more!
The key to having a child that wants to help more is by making them feel in control. Choices make children feel in control. The choice isn’t between doing the chore and not doing the chore. The choice you should be between two equal chores. I.e.: put the clean dishes away or vacuum the rugs.
Don’t be afraid to give them chores that will challenge them. Taking away challenges make chores “boring”. Children find challenges interesting and are a great way to boost their confidence. The prouder they feel of the chores they accomplish, they more they will want to do. This is especially true when it comes to allowing them to do a chore they ask to do, but you feel is too hard for them. If, for example, they want to cook supper for the family but are too young to handle a stove or knife safely, there are still ways to say “yes”. You can find a recipe that does not involve the stove or cutting. It may not be a meal you would normally make for supper and it may not be what everyone wants to eat, but for that day it makes your child proud and confident that they fed their family. You could also stick with your original meal plan and give them tasks that are safe. For instance, you cut up the ingredients beforehand and have your child add them to the pot or have them gather all the supplies and ingredients before you get started.
Be careful not to use chores as a punishment. This makes chores seem negative and not something they should “want” to do. Chores are something everyone in the house needs to do for the home to run smoothly, no something you need to do because you were “bad”. Be sure to praise and reward once the chore is completed. Related rewards work best: “Now that you put the dishes away, we can make cookies” or “Since you cleaned your room, your friend can sleep over.”