We are all failing miserably at one important parenting task, it seems
I will be the first one to put my hands in the air and admit that when it comes to giving my children chores to do in order to teach them to help out around the house – I am a big, fat failure.
No, really. I am.
I think I at some point in the last year or so must have come to the conclusion that if I want something done – in general, I am a lot better off just rolling up my sleeves and doing it myself.
And before you point it out; I know that's bad. And it's not like I don't halfheartedly ask them from time to time to stick their books back into the bookshelf or pick those goddamn Lego's or My Little Pony's up off the kitchen floor, because I do.
It's just that in our busy household of two working parents and school and homework and play-dates and ballet classes and toddler tantrums and everything else in between, I often find that I don't I have time to harp on too much about the importance of learning how to put your own plate in the dishwasher, and will rather just stick it in there myself – to save both time and my own precious sanity.
The thing is, though, is does worry me that I am raising kids that won't be able to fend for themselves – or make terrible spouses. The only comfort is that I am not alone in being a slacker when it comes to giving my children chores. According to a recent poll commissioned by Whirlpool, 82 percent of the American parents surveyed said while they regularly did chores as kids, only 28 percent of them now give their own children chores.
The reason? Well, according to child development expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa, many mums and dads today believe that their kids are too busy with homework and extra-curricular activities to be burdened with chores. This, claims the expert, is nonsense, and claims to the Today Show that "regular chores are the best way to raise kids to be "problem solvers of good character."
From 18 months to 3 years old, Dr. Gilboa says children want to be "big kids" and this phase of budding independence is a perfect time to start having them help with household duties. Start them off small—for example, try letting him or her hold the dustpan as you sweep.
From 4 to 5 years old, let your child perform small tasks on his own, like picking up toys.
From 6 to 8 years old, weekly chores should already be established, says Dr. Gilboa, and daily tasks are even better. As far as what chores to assign your child, an 8-year-old is perfectly capable of doing the laundry, according to Dr. Gilbert, whose own son is an expert at clothes-cleaning duties, apparently.
9-11 years old: At this age, "take advantage of your child's ability to tackle multi-step projects," said Gilboa. "These will take a while to learn, but are great for sharpening their planning and problem-solving skills as well as — eventually — taking something off your plate."
12-13 year olds: Your best bet with tweens is to connect a chore to any activity that is important to them, said Gilboa. "If your child loves to eat, dinner or breakfast prep is a great chore," she said. "If they need a lot of rides to activities, then cleaning out the car regularly is a good task."
Now, parents, how good are YOU at giving your kids chores? And how strict are you in making sure that they actually do them? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie