There's work to do chores for children strengthen family bonds

Dr.Chatree Witoonchart
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

"Remember that children of different ages will be interested in different chores, so assign them properly"

During the school break parents have more time to spend with their children, engaging in various activities in order to strengthen family ties. The school recess is also a good time for parents to train and instill discipline in their children. Instead of letting their children waste time on computer games, parents need to find them creative activities - and that can start with simple things. For example, it can be a good idea letting children participate in some house chores such as tidying their own room, sweeping or mopping the floor, making their bed, cleaning their desk or wardrobe and the like. If that goes successfully, then parents may want to extend their duties to other household chores such as doing the dishes, gardening, watering plants or walking the dog.

These days, children often take an inactive role in these duties because most parents hire maids to do all these chores. As a result, children don't have the chance to occupy themselves with these household activities. Some grow up without knowing how to do any chores or take care of themselves. It is strongly recommended that parents allow their kids to participate in these chores. It will greatly benefit their lives in the future. Remember that children of different ages will be interested in different chores, so assign them properly. For example, elementary school kids can be trained to be responsible in small matters such as putting away their own toys after playing, keeping their dishes or clothes tidy or feeding fish and watering plants. Secondary school children can handle more responsibilities like making the bed, cleaning or setting the dining table and taking on more strenuous household chores.

Kids aged over 11 should be engaged in appropriate activities that reflect higher responsibility and maturity like opening the curtains, closing windows, emptying dustbins, washing a car or helping their mother cook food.

Giving children a compliment is also important. Parents can hug them or look at them admiringly to encourage them to participate more in the household. By nature, children love compliments. When they do something good, parents should admire them immediately, but it must not be exaggerated. Training children to go to bed and get up at the proper time can also enhance their discipline and habits. But the rules should also be flexible. For instance, if they have to get up at 6am during school days, then they should be able to get up at 7am during the school break, but not at noon though. The environment in the house always plays a vital role in training children to become disciplined persons who will grow up to be good adults in the future.

BangkokPost, myfamily October 28-November 3, 2010 By Dr Chatree witoonchart is a psychiatrist at Manarom Hospital

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