The Value of Chores
Did you know that performing chores can improve your child's self-esteem?
Self-esteem is defined as a person's idea of her own self-worth. When children are able to complete tasks independently, they develop self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as how confident a person is in her own abilities to complete a specific task or activity. Self-efficacy is closely tied to self-esteem. The more successful children are at completing tasks, the better they feel about themselves. Providing children with opportunities to successfully complete tasks gives them confidence in their own abilities, which can generalize to other skills they encounter in the future. Multiple successful experiences in tackling and accomplishing tasks give children the confidence to face obstacles as challenges and persevere.
How do I select chores for my child?
Child Interest. When your child expresses interest in helping with a task, think of how you can simplify the task to allow your child a greater amount of independence. For example, if you are setting the table and your child wants to help, consider allowing her to put out the utensils, rather than plates, which are heavier and more difficult to manage. Young children are eager to serve as a helper to tasks that adults are working on. Identify components of tasks that children can assist with and simplify the steps (i.e., provide single-step instructions for younger children) and the physical requirements (i.e., smaller/lighter watering can) to allow children to participate in tasks adults are working on.
Self-Care. Consider modifying routine tasks to allow your child a greater level of independence. Having a laundry basket next to the bathtub allows your child to put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket while rearranging handwashing or toothbrushing supplies within reach (e.g., a stool, pump soap, towels, toothpaste, toothbrush) allows your child to complete the task with minimal adult assistance.
Personal possessions. "A place for everything and everything in its place" can be achieved by labeling bins and shelves with photos to guide children in putting their materials away. Labeling toy bins and even dresser drawers can guide young children in putting away their personal possessions.
With a little planning, you can help your child increase his independence and self-esteem, which will pay dividends in the future.