Did you know that chores aren’t just helpful for keeping your house in order and for teaching independence? Before my son was diagnosed with sensory processing, I never knew about all the great benefits of involving children in chores and “heavy work”. I am excited to share how we use chores in our home to help focus and calm our children and ease our son’s sensory needs. I have made a handy printable chore chart for home, school, and for outdoor heavy work.
What is Heavy Work?
Just like adults, children need to be able to calm their bodies and self-regulate. Not all children can do this on their own, however, which is why heavy work is so important. Heavy work is any activity which requires you to use your muscles and joints, putting pressure on them as you move. It provides your body with necessary proprioceptive input to self-regulate.
How Does Heavy Work Calm and Help Children Focus?
By providing deep proprioceptive input into a child’s muscles and joints, and “Heavy Work” helps them self-regulate in the same way that exercise may help an adult deal with stress.
It allows them to recenter and refocus their body and energy into appropriate outlets.
How Can You Use Chores to Provide Heavy Work?
This list of chores isn’t meant to be done all at once, or even in one day. I have gathered as many examples of chores that provide “heavy work” to give you and your child options. The key is to remember that not all children are the same, and therefore will react differently to each activity. You will want to take the first few weeks introducing each chore and making sure your child is both developmentally ready and willing to complete the tasks.
Teach the Chores | Don’t assume that your child knows how to do any of the items on the list. If you want to limit frustrations and make sure they are successful, do each chore on the list with your child until you know they feel comfortable doing them on their own.
Small Doses | There is no reason to try to do all of the chores on the list. At the start of each day pick one to two chores that you will use throughout the day.
Choice Goes a Long Way | By involving your child in the choice of chores, it will allow them to take ownership and pride over their task. They will start asking to do chores (I know mine do)
Need a Break? Do a Chore! | In our house, often time while we are working on a “sit down” activity that requires focus and attention, we will take a short 5 minute break to do one chore on the list. Without fail, after a load of laundry has been changed over or the recycling has been taken out, the boys are ready and focused to get back to work.
*Free* Printable Chore Chart for Home, School and Outdoor Heavy Work
Click here to Download your FREE Printable Chore Chart!
More Resources for Heavy Work and Helping Kids Calm and Focus
I am excited to be sharing over at Creative with Kids. I am sharing 5 Sensory Activities to Help Children Focus through the use of “heavy work”.
Do you have a special chore you love to incorporate in your day? What chores do you kids absolutely love? I would love to hear about how you manage chores in your house! I would love to hear! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or subscribe by email. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.