Friday, October 9, 2009

How to make our kids do chores without a fuss?

I posted photographs in my facebook  - my daughter was preparing a meal on the eve of our wedding anniversary for me and my husband. My friends were amazed and couldn't believe she could do that at the age of 7.

This was my secret.....

I started off by involving her in my cooking.....

She probably did chores like plugged vegetables and rinsed them. After a few occasions, she started to feel bored at the tasks assigned to her. Well, they are just kids! So, I knew it was time she needed an upgrade!

I let her peeled garlic and shallots instead. She helped a bit in the frying as well - just general low-risk stir-fry.

After a few occasions, she asked for a bit of upgrade! So, I started to teach her how to use a knife.

Start them with something easy to cut like green beans, potatoes. Medium size short knife would be easier to handle for their age. Small knife might be tougher for them. As a safety precaution, I reminded her to put down her knife whenever she wanted to do other things in between cutting.

Then, as she became more "expert", I gave her further upgrade!. She would be given a chance to cook the entire dish from pouring in oil, checked the temperature, stir-fry, set the oven, all the way until the finished product.

The whole idea is to give
them chores that fit their capability as they learned, the tasks should get more and more difficult as they mastered the skills.

Children being children, they were picky over the chores assigned to them. It's absolutely alright to let them choose the chores they wanted to do because:

Choices encourage responsibilities.

When they feel responsibility over something, they tend to do best.

Next very important element - TRUST.

We need to trust our children. Children are sensitive. Even from our body language, they could sensed the "trust" or "no trust" gestures. Like my daughter, she didn't like to help in the kitchen when she was at grandmother's house. She said grandmother won't let her do some of the work; grandmother did the task for her at the end; grandmother would do the work again after she finished.... So, these were the "no trust" gestures I meant. We didn't say it in words but from our body language, the children could sense these gestures easily. Remember, as soon as we are ready to hand over the task to our children, we must be ready to trust them at the same time.

Some of the DON'T:

Don't redo their work. You could probably highlight to your children those done correctly and reminded them to do it correctly the next time. Avoid saying things like: "Not like that. Let me do it for you."

Don't interrupt or as they were doing the chores. Try to let your children did the chores their way unless due to safety hazard.

Don't nag them if they took too long to complete a task. It simply meant that the task was tough for them to handle at their capability. Therefore, they needed more time.

Don't expect them to perform the task up to our standard. Let them do it their own way, at their own pace for start. Sometimes it would be much easier to do it for them instead but we must control and avoid the urge of doing so.

Some of the DO:

Do praise them for their hard work. Children felt good when we appreciated what they did.

Do appreciate their help, even very little. Tell them that if without their help, it would be tougher for mummy.

These same rules apply to getting our children do other chores.

- feed them with step-by-step chores;

- allow choices;

- be generous in trust;

- and finally, observe the DOs and DON'Ts

With these guidelines from young, I am sure your children will be full of surprises too. Wish you all good luck!

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