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Assigning Household Chores to Children with Special Needs

You have one or more children with special needs and one or more children who do not have special needs.  Of course, your children without special needs have household chores that they must perform, but what about your special needs children?  Should you delegate chores to them too?  If so, which chores?

Special needs children have wide ranging capacities.  Some are fully capable under most circumstances.  Others have many limitations.  You need to assess the capacities of your special needs children.  If you are uncertain, a visit with your pediatrician is recommended.

For special needs children who have the capacity to perform household chores, it is best if you assign chores that fit their strengths and work around their challenges.  For example, if you have an ADHD child, a long and detailed chore will not be a good fit for him.  Conversely, if you have a child with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a long and detailed chore may be a perfect fit.

You should also consider your children’s interests when assigning household chores.  Does one of your children love pets?  If so, walking the family dog may be a good task to delegate to that child.

If you have special needs children who do not have the capacity to perform household chores or whose capacity is significantly diminished, it becomes imperative that you help your children without special needs understand why they are being treated differently.   Helping your children without special needs understand the “big picture”, teaching them empathy, and fostering in them a desire to set their own personal interests aside for the good of others in need becomes not only essential for successful chore delegation in your household, but also an essential life lesson for all children.

By following the tips above, you can successfully assign household chores to your children with special needs.  

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