It's an excellent idea to have your tween participate in deciding what her chores will be and when she will do them, although until she can work on her own she should choose a time when you can supervise. When it comes to actually doing chores, plan to remain very involved until she matures. As your child's supervisor, expect to be responsible for the following:
Announce when it's time for your tween to do chores or start on homework rather than expecting her to remember.
Don't be defensive or angry if she argues or tries to put you off. Remind yourself that she may have the intellect of an Einstein, but she's still a child. Tell her it's fine to feel angry, but she still needs to get started.
If she doesn't comply, give her a shadowing time-out until she has her anger under control to the point that she can function. If the time-out lasts until bedtime, so be it. If the situation doesn't improve after several days, contact a local child guidance clinic, mental health clinic, or private therapist to inquire about anger management classes and counseling.
Have your tween let you know when she is ready for you to check her work. Avoid criticizing poor work. Instead, point out any small thing she did
right, tell her what needs to be fixed or finished in a matter-of-fact manner, and tell her to call you when she is ready for you to check her work again.
Congratulate her on having finished and express pride in her accomplishment.
Be polite when telling your tween to help with a chore. Children resent being ordered about as much as anyone. Say, “I need your help mowing the lawn,” or “We need to mow the lawn.” Don't ask, “Would you help me mow the lawn?” unless your tween is free to say “no.”
Never apologize for requiring your tween to help around the house. That communicates you have done something wrong by expecting her to contribute to the upkeep of the household and develop into a responsible adult. Those are definitely the wrong messages to send!
The key to keeping tweens on track once they know how to do whatever chores are required of them is to be conscientious about taking time to survey their handiwork and give positive feedback whenever they have finished a task. Don't expect to ever reach the point where your appreciation of a job well done becomes irrelevant.
If your child sees herself as an irresponsible ne'er-do-well, dedicating lots of time to hands-on teaching and verbally praising each small accomplishment can help her to see herself differently. Avoid criticizing errors and lavish praise for a job well done.
Study after study shows that adults find positive recognition critical to their overall job satisfaction. In fact, employees are more motivated by having their work acknowledged, recognized, and appreciated than by their salaries.
Direct compliments are important, but letting your child hear you tell someone else really has an impact. Comment that you are proud that he is learning to be responsible for his own room, getting better about handling his homework responsibilities, taking more initiative, and requiring fewer reminders to start on his daily chore. Success builds on success, failure upon failure, so keep the warm fuzzies flowing. Make sure the accomplishments you note are real, albeit small.