Children in the household: how much can and should they help??

Children in the household

Whether and to what extent children help out in the household varies from parent to parent. In fact, it varies even from culture to culture. In this country, for example, children tend to help out little in the household, while in other regions of the world they are firmly planned in and are expected to take on a great deal of responsibility. What is a good way for children to help in the household? How much should they do? And why at all?

Children in the household – the legal situation in Germany

Writing about the legal situation in Germany in connection with children in the household and their assistance right at the beginning will certainly seem unusual to many at first. In fact, however, children and adolescents legally obligated to do so are obliged to help in the household according to their level of development and environment.

"The child, as long as he belongs to the parental household and is educated or maintained by the parents, is obliged to render services to the parents in their household and business in a manner corresponding to his powers and position in life."

How is this to be interpreted? First of all, this law does not mean that children should do everything in the household by themselves or that they should do the majority of it. The help should be appropriate to the forces and the position in life, which means that the Age, stage of development, requirements to be met at school and also social development in terms of friends and hobbies are taken into account should be. Children should not do all the work, but take on appropriate small tasks that are necessary in living together and make it better. How strongly the involvement is then really, is and remains of course decision of the parents And cannot and should not be prescribed by any law.

Involving children in the household can have a positive effect, however.

Why should children help in the household??

Helping children in the household can be important and helpful for them and their development. Many positive things can be conveyed and learned by this. This is how children can get involved by taking on tasks independently Time and self-management learn. If children are left to manage and complete their tasks independently, they also have to decide for themselves when to do them, so that it doesn’t become too much or conflict with other appointments, such as hobbies or meeting friends. This is a good exercise for them to be able to manage their days and time independently later on as well. This can also lead to independence.

In addition, children can learn to overcome, even if they have no desire to do so. This is how a Sense of duty which can also be useful later in life.

Likewise, they learn at an early age necessary competencies, to be able to cope with everyday tasks. Thus the shock after the departure from the parents’ house ( §$% is no longer so large. In addition, this also gives them the Relevance of housework consciously and they experience what it is like to be needed and Part of a family team to be.

Select tasks appropriate to the age

Before talking about the tasks for children in the household, something general about the motivation of children in advance. Who to set a good example as parents themselves and to carry out their tasks conscientiously and with a certain amount of enthusiasm good mood makes it easier for the children to approach the task with joy and a positive feeling. On the other hand, if you are demotivated when it comes to housework, you should not be surprised if your child is also not enthusiastic about taking on and completing tasks.

In general, the chosen tasks should appropriate to the child’s age and development be. The sooner The more you involve the children in small things, the easier it is to motivate them to do so. On the other hand, if you try to teach your teenager that he/she should now help out around the house, even though he/she has never had a chore before, you may face headwinds and rejection.

In the following some examples for each age group presented for tasks. These are only examples, which means that, of course, not every child has to do them and but also that there are other tasks that may be appropriate. Parents can usually judge well for themselves which tasks are appropriate for their own child and which they can already manage or which still seem too difficult. Only so many tasks should ever be given that There is also still enough time for Schoolwork, hobbies and friends remain, because these are important for children and young people.

Children can start with small things from the age of Kindergarten age or even be involved in the household just before. At this age the children are usually even pleased, To be able to contribute something as they rediscover themselves and their abilities. It doesn’t matter that the little ones usually take longer to complete a task and that parents have to explain everything in detail. The main thing is that they take on something, can learn from it and, in the best case, also have fun doing it. At such a young age, the tidy up the room and the toys used belong to the tasks. After all, this is also the case in kindergarten, so a transfer to the context at home is only logical. Of course, parents can be supportive, but it should be clear that the child is involved and it is his or her job to.

In addition, the involvement of young children can also help with the topic of healthy eating Tablecloths and that put away their own dishes take place. These are small and easily manageable tasks. Going further, children in the household could also help with Dusting help on low surfaces or even with Hanging out the laundry.

At Elementary school age then other tasks can also be added. Here it can be for example a first step, the own room with less or without help from parents to clean up. Also the Dishwasher cleaning out can be a task, as well as the Suck of their own room, disposing of the dirty clothes in the laundry basket as well as putting away Washed clothes in the closet, the Taking out the trash bag and also the Helping to cook in the kitchen can be slowly aimed at.

As of secondary school many children and adolescents can theoretically Almost all tasks take over in the household. Although the motivation to do this usually decreases during puberty, sticking to the given tasks is still important for the development of children and adolescents. As they get older more complex tasks like taking over an entire load of laundry from start to finish. Also Number of tasks can, depending on the other commitments, increase.

The role of parents

Parents can keep their children quiet in the household remind them to do their task in the beginning. Especially when a new task has been introduced, this can be helpful. In the course of time, however, the reminders should become less and the completion should be assumed. The Check can also be eliminated over time, depending on the situation, but should also be a permanent part of it at the beginning. If the task has been completed well, smaller children in particular will benefit from a Praise and pleasure about this. Rewarding completed tasks with money, on the other hand, is less advisable, as this can lead to distorted values and evaluations. Praise and the good feeling afterwards should be reward enough.

The mediation of housework as something that can also be fun and is not just something annoying that has to be done, can be brought in, for example, when tidying up the house. In this way, parents can appoint a kind of game from cleaning up of the children’s room, by z.B. Playing music that people sing along to and dance to. Or a kind of game can be staged as a race against time, in which the aim is to see who can clean up more in a certain amount of time. There are no limits to the imagination here and so especially small children can be introduced to tasks with fun.

When dividing up tasks, it can be useful, on the one hand, to make sure that the child is not only to do tasks it doesn’t like at all or likes very much. A mixture is usually a good way to go here. Also that regular change of tasks and a regular redistribution in the family can help, so that everyone can and should do something different sometimes. A good way to implement this is a Family budget. This contract specifies who has which task and when, so that everything is transparent and fair and no one feels disadvantaged.

A Excessive rigor, especially in relation to the point of tidying up the room, is thereby often not appropriate And is more likely to lead to acts of defiance. That the room of children and adolescents also sometimes looks chaotic is normal and not a big deal. It should be clear that there should be no leftovers in the room and that at regular intervals, such as once a week, the room should be thoroughly tidied and cleaned.


Including children in the household makes sense and can make the Encourage the development of children. Even younger children in the household can be a help and take over tasks. In the process, the distributed tasks should age and developmentally appropriate be selected. Go parents with a good example and good mood ahead, children and teenagers also have more fun helping out.

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About the author J Bohlken

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