While there are no set rules on the amount of time a parent can expect his child to do chores, there are generally accepted guidelines about what chores a child can handle based on age and maturity and how long each chore should take.
However well-meaning a parent may be when assigning chores, many still find that they become frustrated when their child takes an inordinate amount of time to complete relatively simple chores. There could be a number of reasons why the child takes so much time to complete assi gned chores, but one of the main reasons could simply be his inability to conceive of and manage time without guidelines and instruction.
It’s a familiar problem, especially with young children. Many just need time, maturity and modeling from adults to grasp the concept of time.
For parents who struggle with teaching their children to complete chores within a given timeframe, consider the following strategies:
o Give clear deadlines for completing chores. The guidelines my children have for completing their weekend chores is that they have from Friday after school until Sunday at noon to complete their chores. This method allows them to develop time management skills when planning their chores along with other plans we have over the weekend.
o Measure the time a given chore takes your child. As adults, it’s not fair for us to expect a young child to complete a chore to the same mastery we may be able to complete the same task. We all need time to learn, practice and master a new skill. A method to consider for determining the time it takes your child to complete a chore is to time him completing the chore on three separate occurrences. Add these three measurements and figure the average. Knowing the time that it takes your child to complete each task can help you set realistic, age-appropriate deadlines, that also help your children develop time management skills.
o Use a regular kitchen timer. Setting a kitchen timer to the time you expect a chore to be completed can save your child lots of time during the day that could be better spent devoted to other worthwhile endeavors, like homework or participating in recreational activities.
o Equip the child with a watch with an alarm. The advantage of using a watch with an alarm is that parents can set it to beep at a certain time every day to remind the children to start a new activity, like chores or homework. Watches are especially helpful when performing time-sensitive chores or those which tend to conveniently slip children’s minds.
o Make TV commercial breaks an ad-hoc clock. Today’s generation clearly identifies with television. Telling children that they need to have a chore completed “before the next commercial break” could help them understand 15 minute increments of time or more.
The amount of time allotted for a child to complete a chore should be determined after weighing many factors, including the child’s age, learning style and ability. As parents, we should provide many opportunities for our children to be successful while learning and mastering life skills. By providing clear expectations, needed training, and then monitoring their work, you provide your child with a secure foundation in which to learn and master home maintenance and time management skills.