Kids with learning and attention issues can have trouble following through on tasks like household chores. Help your child by assigning tasks with a clear beginning, middle and end—and keeping these tasks short!
Clearing the Table
Clearing the table is an example of a household chore with a clear beginning, middle and end. Walk your child through the steps. First she can take dishes from the table. Next she can scrape food scraps into the compost bin or trashcan. Then she can put the dishes in the sink. If your child has trouble remembering each step, you might write them down on a chore chart. If your child has trouble with reading, the chore chart can describe the steps using pictures as well as words.
Unloading the Dishwasher
Unloading the dishwasher is another chore that is easy to define: each item goes in its proper place and your child is finished when the dishwasher is empty. Demonstrate how you approach this task. Show her how you start with the silverware and sort them in the silverware tray. Next show her how you stack the plates and put them in the correct cupboard. Then show her where the cups and glasses belong. Encourage your child to ask you questions if she’s not sure where something goes.
Helping With the Laundry
When it’s laundry day, your child can be responsible for gathering the dirty clothes. Develop a system to help her with this. If you just say, “Look for dirty clothes in all the rooms,” it might be hard to complete this chore. It’s easier if you put a hamper in each bedroom. Then your child can gather the clothes from each hamper. If you have a big family, consider working with your child to make a checklist that will help her remember where to look for dirty clothes. Then she can feel confident that she’s done with the task.
Making the Bed
Making the bed can be a good chore because it’s quick and because it can be broken into smaller steps. Show your child how you want her to make the bed. Start by pulling the sheets up. Then pull up the comforter and straighten it. Finally, show her how to place her pillows at the head of the bed. You could also take a picture of her bed made nicely so she can refer to the photo for help if she gets stuck.
Picking Up Toys
If your child’s room is a mess, she may not know how to begin cleaning it up or understand what needs to be done before she’s finished. The more specific guidance you can offer with this task, the better. For example, it can help to make a checklist with items such as “Put Legos in the Lego bin” and “Put stuffed animals in the large wicker basket.” It can also help her to refer to a photo of the room when it’s all tidied up.