Chores are often a topic of disdain for many children. In some cases, children do not do any chores at all. Parents may not give their children chores to avoid their resistance to them or because it is easier for parents to do the work themselves. 

Responsibility is a trait we want our children to develop, yet without consistent practice, they will inevitably fall short in proper development. 

Work, family activities, personal interests and community responsibilities keep families busier than ever. Planning housekeeping chores for family members can keep the peace at home and the home organized and clean amidst a busy schedule. 

According to the K-State Extension fact sheet, “Time, Work & Family: Getting Children to Help,” doing family chores helps children:

- Increase their ability to be responsible

- Build self-esteem and self-confidence

- Learn necessary life skills that will help them when they have their own homes

- Learn to prioritize, organize and use their time wisely

There are nine easy steps for getting children to take on responsibilities at home. Step 1 is to initiate a family discussion. Everyone needs to be well informed and understand what is expected. It is a great opportunity to talk about which chores someone enjoys doing more than others do, which brings me to Step 2 – decide who will do what jobs. 

Steps 3 and 4 teach children the needed skills of each chore and decipher acceptable standards of work quality. Step 5 is to create a user-friendly home. Teaching children how to organize is like any other skill we want them to cultivate as an adult. 

Step 6 is potentially one of the most important parts we forget as parents – set a deadline for the work to be completed. Often, we want the work done immediately, yet if there is a timeline, the child can learn time management and self-motivation for the chore. 

Step 7 has two parts: rewards can be determined for a job well done and consequences if the tasks are not completed. This ought to be chosen with the child so they know what to expect either way. 

Step 8 is to set the standard. No one wants to do all of the work, including your child, so set a good example of hard work.

Step 9 will help family dynamics flourish. Make sure everyone has time for fun and time to pursue his or her own interests. All work and no play is no kind of childhood – or adulthood for that matter. Find time to have fun individually or as a family.

If you would like a copy of “Time, Work & Family: Getting Children to Help,” stop by the K-State Research and Extension-Leavenworth County office at 613 Holiday Plaza in Lansing, or join our discussion, Children and Chores, at the Tonganoxie Public Library on Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. Children of all ages are welcome. For other questions on this topic or others, call our office at 913-364-5700 or email Chelsi Myer at chelsim@ksu.edu

Daily chores are an integral part of childhood development and routine. They benefit the whole family, so start this healthy habit today.

Chelsi Myer is the family and consumer sciences agent for K-State Research and Extension-Leavenworth County.