What do chores at home have to do with school?

Children who understand and follow the procedures and routines of doing chores at home learn how to follow the routines and procedures at school, and this can lead to success at school as well as in life in general. Chores help teach children to follow the complex rules of the road when learning to drive, or the procedures and routines of the workplace when they are old enough to seek employment.

According to the Love and Logic Institute, chores should be separated from an allowance. Adults have chores to help the home run smoothly, and children should be expected to do jobs that help the family as well. Depending upon their age, these might be cleaning their own room, doing their own laundry, or taking their turn washing dishes so that everyone in the family has sanitary dishes on which to eat.

One way to help children feel they have some ownership or control over doing chores is to make a list of all the chores that are necessary to keep the home clean and running well. Let everyone look over the list and then have each person pick out the chores they like best (or at least the ones they hate the least). The ones no one likes to do can be done together, trying to find a way to make them fun. Chores help children feel appreciated for what is done well and helps them to feel valued as an important member of their family.

And what about an allowance?

According to the Love and Logic Institute, allowances shouldn’t be used as payment for chores. Instead, allowances should be a way for a child to practice money management – another important life skill.

They suggest giving young children a little money each week to learn how to save, or to spend on something they desire. It will help them to learn to save up for a larger purchase or will encourage them to find a job that can help increase their spending power. You might have special jobs that you’d be willing to pay a child to do as something above and beyond their regular chores.

As they get older, increase the amount of an allowance each week so that they eventually can pay for their own school lunches, their own school clothes, school supplies, or their own phone. This teaches them not only how to manage their money, and to be responsible for themselves, but also to value their belongings.

It again translates to success in school as this skill can help them to become responsible at keeping track of their textbooks and homework. To make this work well, there can be no allowance advances! When their allowance is gone, it’s gone. This really helps children to learn to manage their money well and to not overspend.

For more information, the Love and Logic Institute online has free resources as well as books, CDs and DVDs to purchase, or many can be checked out from our office.  

So, how does a parent actually get stubborn kids to do their fair share of chores without resorting to begging, bribery, or full-scale warfare?

Listed below are some brief tips from Love and Logic:

When you see your kids working hard on a chore, offer to help them as long as they still work harder than you do. This rewards their hard work, gives you an opportunity to bond with them, and ups the odds that they’ll be willing to help you when you are old and feeble.

Give reasonable deadlines rather than saying, “Do it now!” Saying, “Just have it done by ________,” has an added benefit: it gives you plenty of time to figure out what you will do if they refuse or forget to do the chore.

Don’t threaten, nag, remind or warn. Just let them blow it.

Do the chore for them.

Lock in the empathy and expect them to “repay” you for your time by doing some of your chores, staying home instead of being driven somewhere, etc.

“Kids who are used to doing chores at home … without reminders, without pay, and without arguing … are far more respectful and motivated at school.”

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