Let’s Talk About Chores with Dr. Krista Kunz of Magnolia Pediatric Dentistry in Mt. Pleasant, SC

Charleston County School District has been back in class for three weeks and now that you’re settling into the school year we thought we’d have a chat about chores. Before your blood pressure starts to rise over the thought of one more thing to nag your kids about, take a deep breath and keep reading.

Chores can be a wonderful thing! They can teach important life skills AND important relationship skills. Yes, knowing how to clean your space and do a load of laundry (eventually) is important. What is more important is seeing everyone work together for the benefit of the entire house. Chores give children feelings of importance, responsibility, and independence.

For chores to have these positive effects, they should be age appropriate, well-defined, and worked on together with positive reinforcement.

Instead of getting frustrated when your child’s room is messy, try and come up with well defined tasks that must be completed regularly instead of a general “keep your room clean.” Remind your children of the why. Try phrases like “when we keep our shoes in one spot, we have less trouble getting ready and out the door each morning.” Have set to-do lists and expectations but also allow for some autonomy over their space.

Choose tasks that are age appropriate. A good rule of thumb to follow is that each task you assign your child should take about the same amount of minutes as their age.

As early as 2 or 3, kids can help make their bed and pick up their toys. They can also take their dirty clothes to the laundry basket, help parents clean up spills. We have our 3-year-old Jared empty the silverware from the diswasher (after we put away the sharp objects).

At age 4 or 5 children can dress themselves, hang their bath towels, bring their things from the car to the house, and swiffer. Helping parents prepare food and sorting laundry by color are also great tasks for this age range.

Be sure to work together. Make chores a family activity and involve your children in what chores they’ll do and when they’ll do them.

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