Expert says children should be doing chores from 18 months old and reveals exact jobs to give them

With children at home full-time during the coronavirus lockdown it's a good time to get them pulling their weight in the household no matter how old they are, according to one expert.

As we all navigate the new way of living, homeschooling, teaching, and being under the same roof 24-7, parents should be encouraging their children to also join in chores to help make them "problem solvers of good character".

Child development expert Doctor Deborah Gilboa has said that children from 18 months should be doing chores, and there are certain jobs parents can get them to engage with from toddlers right up until late teens.

Dr Gilboa, who has a TedX talk on the topic ' The Expectation Gap ', explained on TODAY in the US that her advice reflects a recent Whirlpool survey taken of 1,000 American adults with 82 per cent of them as young children saying they had to do chores whereas only 28 per cent give their own children them now.

She also revealed how her eight-year-old son is accomplished at doing laundry and even helped make an instructional video when his college-aged babysitter confessed that some of her friends didn't even know how to do it.

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Dr Gilboa broke down the best type of chores that were age-appropriate for each age. Even though she spoke about trying to apply the new regime in the summer when children are relaxed, for many families at home during self-isolation is a better time than any to try out some chore requests.

18 months – 3 year old

The doctor says parents should "take advantage" of these years as kids want to "do it themselves" and show off their independence. Framing the task as if it was a "big kid job", the toddlers are more likely to want to get involved but don't give them something that will need redoing she advises: "Let them do one part, like hold the dustpan while you sweep."

4-5 year old

When children get to this age Dr Gilboa says that they can be given the responsibility to complete tasks alone but they need to have a time frame and a prompt. Asking them to tell their parents or caregivers when it is finished to keep them on task.

6-8 year old

Dr Gilboa encourages parents to build up a daily set of chores so that children will get into the habit of doing them and achieving what is expected of them. "A repetitive kitchen chore or pet care can be a great choice," she advised.

9-11 year old

As your child gets older and is more capable of completing more complicated tasks, Dr Gilboa says parents should "take advantage of your child's ability to tackle multi-step projects". It will encourage their problem-solving and planning skills as they have to figure out how to complete it.

12-13 year old

The pre-teen years can prove to be a challenge for some, but according to Dr Gilboa if you've instilled the idea of chores from an early age then connecting them to an activity they care about to continue the trend. If they like eating, ask them to help prep meals, if they need kit for sports, the laundry, lifts to their hobby, cleaning the car.

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14-15 year old

Take advantage of your teenager and give them a chore that you don't like, Dr Gilboa says. Many children at this age may already have a job so "they can certainly handle making dinner for the whole family once a week or tackling larger projects around the house."

16-18 year old

At this age your teenagers will be looking to learn how to drive, be thinking about heading into further education and eventually leaving home so the priority here is making sure your child has key life skills they can employ in real life. "Cooking, cleaning, car maintenance, even getting them involved in bill-paying … make sure they're ready to adult!" she said.

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