Are you doing all of the work around your house? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little help so that you could play, too?
Young children love to help!
If your children are young, you have a huge advantage here, please don’t let this slip away.
If your children are older, it’s a bit more work in the beginning. However! In the end, you will have well-rounded, knowledgeable children who can take care of themselves when they are off on their own. Not to mention a little more time for yourself before they leave!
Two important things you need to do to be successful:
1. It’s important to find age-appropriate chores and to realize that you will need to teach and re-teach these chores on occasion.
2. It’s also important that you pick chores you can live with being done at a ‘child-level.’ If you need to have the mirrors wiped without streaks, or it will bother you all day long, this is not a chore you should give to your child. If you don’t care that there is a smudge here or there, give it away and put your feet up for a few moments!
Obviously, young children will need more help and supervision, and older children will need to be taught and supervised in the beginning, too. Just remember, you are training your child for the long run. If you can stick with it, the benefits are worth it.
A few age appropriate chores and a few tips:
Young Children (3-5 years old)
Vacuum/Mop: Young children love to help. In the beginning, a toy vacuum is a great way to have children help and enjoy doing the chore.
- Pick up Toys: You can make a game of this or have your child race a timer.
- Set/Clear the Table: If you put the items on the table and have taught your child (or continue to teach) where to put the plates, napkins, forks and spoons, your child can start this task as early as 3-4 years old. Encouraging your child to clear his/her plate and silverware can start as early as they are able to carry something from the table to the counter.
- Laundry: Children love to make pairs and find matches. Have them help by sorting socks.
5-8 Year Olds
All of the above chores with a little more responsibility.
Pick up Toys: We have a saying at our house: “Whatever you take out, you must put back.”
- Set/Clear Table: Your child can set the table with items you have put on the table and can also start helping bring food to/from the table. Clearing can include not only his/her place setting, but also parent and guest place settings, too.
Vacuum/Mop/Dust Mop: Children can start using ‘real’ vacuums and mops at this age.
8+ Years Old
All of the above chores and…
Pick Up Toys and Crafts: At this age we added the saying: “If you can’t clean it up within 15 minutes, it might be too much.” My daughters preferred to spend more time playing than cleaning, so this saying seemed to resonate with them.
- Load/Unload Dishwasher: When my children first started unloading the dishwasher, they were too short to put some of the dishes and cups away in the high cupboards. They started by putting the things on the counter and I would put them away. As they grew, they were able to stand on a stool to help them be tall enough to finish the job. And, yes, for those of you who know me, I still have to use the stool sometimes, too!
So, there you have it!
A list of a few age-appropriate chores you can try at your house.
My suggestion would be to pick one or two chores and experiment with those chores, not to try all of them this week. Once you have established a routine or a system that works with one or two chores, you can add another one. Slowly, over a few months, you can continue to increase the responsibility.
Don’t forget to figure in the “Fun Factor” to keep things from seeming too much like work.
For tips on how to get your kids to help with laundry, check out: Loads of Laundry
CLICK HERE to be notified when I teach my next class on How to Get Your Child to Cooperate and Complete Chores.