Becoming a host parent is an exciting but scary time. When taking a student, you want them to have an enjoyable stay but you’re probably worried about lots of things. One concern you might have is about giving your exchange student housework to do. Should you assign them chores like your child or should you treat them like a guest?
Remember that your exchange student will actually become part of your family. That means, in most cases, you will treat them as one of your own children. If you give your children chores, you should also give your exchange student chores.
Chores Will Help the Children and Your Exchange Student Get Along
If you want your exchange student to be accepted by your children, you have to assign them chores. If you don’t, your children will begin to resent them and it will cause a breakdown in the relationship between your child(ren) and the student. Can you imagine how your kids will feel watching your exchange student sitting while their completing chores?
Chores Make Exchange Students Feel Part of the Family
Giving your exchange student chores will give them a sense that they are part of the family. If you don’t include them in chores, they’ll begin to feel like a guest which will get old real soon for both you and them. They’ll also be proud to contribute to the management of the home. You’ll be surprised at how much they’ll enjoy working side by side with your other children. They might even start to complain about you which will show that they are really becoming like one of your children.
Make Chores Fair Between Your Kids and the Exchange Student
It could be tempting to give your exchange student the “easy” tasks like feeding the dog or retrieving the mail. This too could pose a problem with the rest of the family so keep it fair.
Here are a few ways to divide the chores:
- Create a rotating schedule.
- Have kids draw chores from a jar.
- Let the kids volunteer for chores and flip a coin for the chores that no one chooses.
No matter what chores your exchange student has, make sure they are clear on their duties by making sure you have a chore calendar or magnetic chore chart that is easy for them to follow. Remind them gently if you have to and don’t forget to recognize your exchange student when they do a good job. If they’re going to use the washing machine, dishwasher or other equipment, show them how to use it first.
What Kind of Chores Can My Exchange Student Do?
Your exchange student can do a number of things to help ease your workload. This includes tasks like running errands, helping out the younger kids or doing housework.
Take a look at this list for some ideas of tasks you can assign and rotate between your kids:
- Take out the trash.
- Loading/emptying the dishwasher.
- Washing and cleaning out the cars.
- Help the younger kids change their bedding.
- Clean out the refrigerator.
- Checking on grandma/grandpa (if they live nearby).
- Walking the dog.
- Mopping the floor.
- Dusting the furniture.
- Babysitting younger siblings.
- Making lunches for school.
Along with the assigned chores, you should expect your exchange student to make their bed, do their laundry, keep their bedroom clean and clean up behind themselves in the bathroom. You might also require them to clear their dishes from the table after eating or get their clothes out for school the night before.
Doing Family Chores With Your Exchange Student
When possible, work together as a family to complete household chores. This is an excellent time to learn about your exchange student’s culture. They can show you and tell you how they do things in their country. It is also a great time for laughing and having fun.
Some things you can do together as a family include:
- Monthly tasks like cleaning the garage.
- Seasonal tasks like removing leaves from the yard or shoveling snow.
- Carrying in and putting up groceries.
- Setting the table for dinner.
- Preparing a meal (cutting the vegetables, tossing the salad or making lemonade).
You can also let your student have a night in which they prepare dinner for the family. This will give them a chance to contribute to the family while also introducing you to their country’s cuisine.
Your student may not be used to doing chores as some exchange students come from affluent families. Still, most Americans do not have housekeepers or maids. Therefore, chores are a part of the life of most American families. Your exchange student is here to immerse themselves in the American culture so having chores should be a part of their experience.