Chores & the Consequences for Kids

by Jaimie Zinski

    Assigning your adolescent daily or weekly chores teaches them life isn't all about fun and games, and responsibilities don't end with homework. Neglecting chores provides parents a way to teach children about negative consequences. However, clinical psychologist Bill Maier, writing at the Focus on the Family website, urges parents to teach adolescents about the link between positive consequences and good behavior, which in this case is completing the chore list.

    Assign daily and weekly chores based on the child's age and abilities. According to WebMD, a 4- to 5-year-old can handle making their bed, pulling weeds, clearing the dinner table and watering flowers. Your 6- to 7-year-old is capable of prepping and packing their own school lunch, keeping their bedroom neat and sweeping floors. Whatever is chosen, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents create a chore list to keep the child on track. If the chores become too overwhelming for the child, consider lessening them or choosing less ambitious responsibilities.

    Add additional chores to your child's list as a punishment for unwanted behavior for or not meeting his original obligations. For instance, if your child misbehaves at the dinner table, consider adding clearing the dishes to his regular list of chores. Assigning the child additional chores during a grounding is another option. If the child performs the additional chores on top of his normal responsibilities, consider rewarding him by lifting the grounding or providing access to the family TV or video game system.

    Encourage good behavior in your child by creating positive consequences for completing his assigned chores. Create a chore list that includes the specific rewards available for completing a certain task. For instance, if your child completes all of his chores for a week, he's rewarded with a trip to the park or allowed to have a sleepover. Be clear to your child that he's being granted this additional privilege because he kept up on his chores. According to pediatrician William Sears at Askdrsears.com, setting goals for your child ultimately teaches self-discipline. The child will use the positive consequence of the reward as a motivation to consistently complete his chores.

    Failure to complete a chore list provides parents with an opportunity to teach the concept of negative consequences. Instead of simply punishing your child for not completing his daily or weekly chores, sit down with him and explain why he's losing a privilege or being assigned additional chores for not meeting his obligation. Maier urges parents to remain consistent. Because children have short attention spans, take away a privilege or punish the child for the unwanted behavior immediately after it occurs.

    About the Author

    Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.

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