April 15, 2024

Do Your Kids do Chores?

Should your kids do chores?

Did you know that helping around the house could actually help your kids develop their gross motor skills?

Did you know that there are many benefits of chores for kids? You can use chores to work on gross motor and coordination skills, among others.

A quick online search will confirm that doing chores can teach kids responsibility and perseverance, and may also contribute to better life skills and self care.

There are many chores that are great at helping to develop upper body strength (shoulder girdle stability) and bilateral coordination skills.

Additional benefits of chores that require pushing, pulling or lifting are that they provide lots of proprioceptive input and can be considered “heavy work” tasks.  Taking part in “heavy work tasks” can have a calming influence on a child who is feeling sensory overwhelmed or who is losing focus, and can be helpful as a break during the school day.

Here are a few chores that your child can easily do in order to develop gross motor skills.

Laundry Chores

Folding Large Items

Good For: Bilateral Coordination

Folding sheets and table cloths neatly is always so much easier when you have someone to help you. So rope your child in to help you!

Helping you fold these large items will give your child a chance to practice large bilateral movements.

Folding and Rolling Towels

Good For: Bilateral Coordination

Folding and rolling towels will help your child use both hands together in a coordinated way (bilateral coordination).

These pics show a child folding the towel in half (using his chin to keep it in place) and then rolling the towel so it stacks nicely in the linen cupboard.

Of course, you can also ask your child to continue folding the towel to the size you like it to be.

Actually, any clothes that need to be folded can give your child a chance to work on bilateral coordination skills.

Pushing and Pulling Chores

Sweeping, Mopping and Vacuuming

Good For: Bilateral Coordination, Shoulder Girdle Strengthening, Proprioception

Let your child help you with sweeping, mopping, and/or vacuuming, as these are great bilateral activities.

Sweeping, mopping and vacuuming all involve pulling and pushing so they are good “heavy work” tasks which can build shoulder girdle strength and stability as well as being good for proprioceptive input.

You may need to show your child how to hold the handle with both hands in an effective way, as it does not come naturally to many kids.

You may also need to consider the size of the broom/mop/vacuum cleaner to make sure it is not too large for your child to work with.

Cleaning Windows

Good For: Bilateral Coordination, Shoulder Girdle Strengthening

Cleaning windows is another cleaning task that kids love! Washing windows can also help strengthen your child’s shoulder girdle muscles as your child will be working against gravity on the vertical surface.

Let your child use a window cleaner sponge/squeegee to clean your house windows, or even your car windows. Encourage your child to have both hands on the handle at all times for best bilateral benefit.

Cleaning With A Cloth

Good For: Bilateral Coordination, Shoulder Girdle Strengthening

Have your child clean the car, a table or any other surface using both hands together on a soft cloth.

Show your child how to use back-and-forth movements as well as circular movements with both hands on the cloth. This is also a great activity for toddlers and preschoolers, who will probably enjoy wiping down any surface even if it does not need it!

The ultimate aim is to get both hands moving together in a coordinated way, not to get a perfectly clean surface 🙂 so you may need to go back and finish it off later, but your child will have a lot of fun doing this with you!

Cleaning a vertical surface also helps to work the upper body and may help strengthen the shoulder girdle muscles – so you can use their enthusiasm to wipe down walls and blackboards as well!

Thank you to Tracey le Roux. OT Mom Learning ActivitiesTM & OT Mom E-BooksTM & OT Mom Free PrintablesTM & Mamá TOTM


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