One of the long-standing traditions in the Japanese education system is the practice of cleaning the classroom. Called o-soji (cleaning), students are given the responsibility to keep their classrooms clean. Although they do get help from professional staff, this is a great practice to teach children to take ownership of the condition of their surroundings. In February 2016, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that students in primary and secondary schools, and in junior colleges, will have to spend at least a few minutes each day cleaning classrooms, canteens and corridors. This is expected to be fully practised by the end of the year.
Some of the benefits of doing chores at an early age include building a sense of responsibility and self-reliance, important values that go a long way in extending to success in adulthood. Young adults who had started doing chores at age three or four were even found to be self-sufficient, had close relationships with their families and were successful in their academics and early careers. It is hence important that household chores are introduced to your child at an early age, even before he enters primary school and is made to do chores for the mandatory few minutes.
What are some ways you can motivate your child to carry out household chores regularly at home?
- Make it fun
Chores can be made more appealing if they are presented in different ways. Turn the music on as you go about your activities together, and have a dance-off as you clean with the broom and mop. Include pretend elements into the routine, such as acting out a part of his favourite movie together as you cook.
- Invent challenges
This will break the monotony for children and make chores more exciting! Get siblings to challenge each other to do chores faster (but make sure chores are carried out well and not just completed fast enough to win the “game”), or simply up your child’s standards each time by getting him to do more. If he’s asked to clear his room on one week, get him to clear the playroom as well.
- Schedule chores into their daily timetable
Routine can be helpful to children and allow them to spend their days consistently. This makes it less painful for them when they have to carry out their tasks, and minimise the time you have to “drag” them to do their chores as they will understand that this is part of their normal day routine.
- Change tasks
As you go about scheduling them for their weekly tasks, try to swtich up their routines a little – perhaps instead of doing the dishes two nights in a row, get them to clean their pet instead.
- Mind your language
If you complain about doing your chores, chances are, your child will too! We know how hard it can be to manage a household but role-modeling is something that we tend to overlook, especially when we’re pretty overwhelmed ourselves. It is also important to present chores as something that the whole family has ownership of – instead of saying “Please do your chores”, say “Let’s do our chores”!
This article is an extension of an article found in Singapore’s Child issue 177 titled ‘Kids & Chores’.
What are some ways you get your kids to contribute to household chores? Share your tips in the comments below!