Houses need to be cleaned and we often include our children in our chores routines to help. Did you know that kids are learning so much while they help with the everyday maintenance of our homes? Housekeeping is all about skill development.
Learning how to take care of the place that you live is a very important life skill. Without that ability, the future can be destined for much chaos and dirt in our children’s lives. Giving them the foundational skills to be successful is so helpful for their ability to have a clean house when they become independent and live away from home. In fact, sometimes these skills are so important they are actually transferrable to other areas of our lives – like for work or volunteering.
Listening Skills / Following instructions
In order to be able to complete a housekeeping task, children have to learn both to listen to the chore assigned to them, and follow the instructions they are given. Not being able to do that means that things won’t get completed, and they will let down the rest of the family. This is a great opportunity to develop quality listening skills – or, to find a solution to help kids get that information in other ways. For example, if you have a child who can’t follow verbal instructions, working with them to make a checklist card they can reference can be a great tool to teach them how to adapt situations to their personal needs.
Importance of Sequencing
Chores are all about understanding sequencing. You can vacuum if you haven’t picked the toys up off the floor. You need to wash the clothes before you put them in the dryer, etc. If you don’t do things in an intentional order, you can’t complete a task properly. This is a great skill for kids to easily learn from trial and error in a safe task like housework – planning ahead all the pieces of the sequence, so you don’t end up trapped in the corner of the kitchen surrounded by a wet floor.
Keeping a house tidy isn’t just about the chores list. It’s also about having homes for things and knowing where stuff belongs. This is a lesson in organization – and one that kids are easily adaptable to. Getting them to put things away in their proper places, or helping you to find a good, intentional home for random objects is a way to help them understand and develop organizational skills.
Housekeeping is Teamwork
Housework IS teamwork. If one person has to handle everything themselves, it will be unfair and untidy. Everyone who lives in a house can help maintain it – and figuring out how to do that together as a family is a skill all of its own. Dividing up and delegating tasks and then having accountability for completion is exactly what teamwork and leadership are. Encouraging and helping each other complete tasks is a wonderful way of developing quality teamwork skills.
Maintenance and Safety
Whether or not you use chemicals in your house, housekeeping involves a lot of understanding of how to properly use the tools and supplies that are needed. Understanding how a vacuum works and how to properly maintain it, for example, can be a great lesson not only in caretaking, but also in safety as you don’t want your children to put their fingers in the power head while it is running. If you do use chemicals in your house, this is an opportunity to teach them about the hazard symbols they find on bottles – flammable, corrosive, explosive, etc. along with the understanding of how to use them safely and store them properly.
Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Almost all chores involve physical movement. A task like sweeping and vacuuming need the development of large muscle skills, whereas something like washing dishes might need more small motor skills and the use of fingers only. It’s a great way to include fitness into your day.
Attention to Detail
Cleaning a house is all about detail. It’s about taking careful inventory of the project you are working on and examining it closely. Did it get done? Does it need to be done? Have I done a good job? Missing a shelf while dusting can be pretty obvious, but it’s not nearly as gross as missing a puddle of pee beside the toilet. The skill of paying attention to what you are doing and making sure it’s completed thoroughly is one that is easily learned through chores and helping around the house.
Responsibility is defined as answerable or accountable, as for something within one’s power, control, or management. Our kids learn how important it is to do what they are given. If your child has been assigned a chore, they need to do it. This teaches responsibility – following through and completing tasks, and diligence as well – making sure they’ve done the best that they can.
Pride and Ownership
Kids love to see rewards of their labour, and chores can physically show them how they’ve done. They can take pride and ownership in the changes they’ve helped complete, as well as feel confident in their skills.
Housekeeping is so much more than just making the house clean. It’s all about learning.
This post is part of a 10 day series all about learning through every experience. Join me as we look at different ways kids learn outside of a textbook and workbook – just by experiencing life.