Four job skills kids can learn at home

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With four children, my parents had quite a team of helpers around our home. A chart on the refrigerator told us what our jobs were for the week: setting the table, clearing the table, putting dishes in the dishwasher or sweeping the floor. There was even a step stool so my youngest brother could reach the sink. On Saturday mornings, we all had to clean our rooms and the bathrooms. There were weeds to be pulled and clothes to hang on the clothesline. Someone had to feed the cat. Of course we didn’t like it, but looking back I am thankful for the experience and for what I learned from it.

Girl putting glasses in dishwasher.

Even before they are the legal age to have jobs, children can learn job skills by working at home. You are your child’s first boss. Skills you can teach them include:

  1. Following instructions. When you ask your child to do a job, you must first demonstrate your expectations; show them the tools to use and how to use them. Clean the tub with cleanser and a sponge. For the toilet, squirt the cleaning solution, let it work and then brush, etc. Later they will learn how to work a cash register, deep fryer, computer or machine tool.
  2. Time management. Some jobs take more time than others. If the lawn needs to be mowed and there is a baseball game at 5 p.m. That only leaves two hours between school and the game in which to mow the lawn. Cleaning the bathroom takes more than five minutes. Don’t procrastinate and don’t race through your work.
  3. Delayed gratification. It’s a good practice to have kids clean their rooms before they can play with their friends or go to the swimming pool. You can reward them with small amounts of money after the chores are done.
  4. Team work. Some jobs are so big they require the whole family, like raking leaves in the yard. For a family meal the table must be set first, dishes cleared before they can be washed.

There is a sense of accomplishment when the job is done. Children who work in the home gain confidence and increased self-esteem since they play a role and contribute to the family. Be sure to praise your child for a job well done. For young children, stickers on the chore chart work well. Of course, there could be a monetary reward too.

If you give your child a chore you are really doing them a favor. When you reward them after a job well done, they learn the value of money and how to earn it. They might complain loudly now, but they will probably thank you later.

What chores did you have when you were young?