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Chores: Encouraging my child to help

When it comes to getting your child involved in household chores, it's good to start when they are very young by introducing small tasks. Even toddlers can put dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and put toys away. Older children can pitch in by helping with the dishes or hanging up clothes. Young children often want to "help" you with whatever you're doing. However, even if you did not involve your very young child in family chores, it's never too late to start.

Older children can do larger tasks, such as setting the table or dusting the bookshelves. By making children part of the family routine early, and building on responsibility gradually, chores do not seem as "bad."

It also helps if you and your partner have successfully worked out how to share chores, so that your child sees both of you working to keep the household going. Try to avoid stereotyping activities. Boys can really enjoy cooking or doing dishes and girls can equally enjoy learning about tools or cleaning up the yard.

Don't forget to instil fun with chores. Play music, dance around and joke while doing the chores. This teaches children that good feelings and work go together.

Avoid bribing your child to do chores. Instead let your child know that for a family to get along, all members have to do their share, and chores should be your child's way of helping the family. If you want to give your preschool child an allowance, do so to help him learn to appreciate and manage money, not for doing chores.

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