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What Chores Can My Children Do?


Do Boy with Choresyou have children over the age of four? Then you have children old enough to do chores. Children need play time, trust me they will find the time to play, but chores are necessary for them and for you. Remember one of our jobs as parents is to raise children up to be adults that are an asset to society, not a debt. Teaching responsibility is one of the most important parenting functions. How do you teach responsibility? By putting your children in charge of cleaning up after themselves and others. Teach them young, so they will understand they will need to clean more than just their messes. When they become parents, if not sooner, they will be cleaning up after children and their spouse.

Here is a list of age appropriate chores children should be doing. They live under your roof, do not teach them their room and board are free, or they will expect life to be free.

0-1 year – Not a whole lot you can do at this age for chores. Let them learn to use their bodies, chores later.

2-3 years – This is the magical age where children want to use their new-found abilities to help so they can be a big kid and are capable of the biggest messes. Hand them a few plates to put by the sink, let them help unload unbreakable dishes. Let them retrieve the condiments for dinner and put them on the table. Most importantly, teach them to pick up the stuff they pull out. Many kids this age will want to follow mom or dad around and help because it seems big and they want to be big. Promote the idea of being big.

4-5 years – This age can clean their room without help, not well, but they can. Expect to go in and help organize every once in a while, kids this young seem to not understand organizing, make sure they see your organizing and understand why you’re organizing. Other chores include:
Sweeping up the dust after you sweep with a handheld dustpan and broom.
Cleaning the toilets
Cleaning the counter tops in the kids bathroom
Clearing the table after dinner
Picking up shoes around the house and putting them away
Picking up toys and trash in the backyard
Dusting furniture
Emptying the bathroom trash

The possibilities are endless. Do not put them in charge of a whole chore, instead a portion of a chore. Expect to send them back several times to do the job right, do not forget this step. You remember the old saying, “Any job worth doing, is worth doing right.” While they may need several tries and your head may actually combust from the sock they still missed on the third go picking up the backyard, they really can find that sock. Tell them the sock has chocolate in it, then they will find it, trust me.

6-8 years – This is the most annoying chore age. School age children are capable, they have the dexterity for more complicated chores, but their brains fall out too often. You just need to keep pushing the brains back into their heads so they can do their chores. Children in this age bracket are no longer naive about chores, they know chores are not fun, they are just another means of separating them from the iPad and DS. Be strong, be brave and do not be afraid to push their brains back in if they suddenly forget where the kitchens sponges are kept. They can begin to be responsible for a full chore, instead of a partial chore.
Load the dishwasher (if you love a specific dish do it yourself)
Unload the dishwasher
Bring their own laundry to the laundry room
Wash the table
Vacuum one room
Vacuum the stairs
Clean the back porch
Start doing parts of laundry, such as putting clothes on hangers or sorting socks.
Take care of the trash

The list is endless, the point at this age is to give them more responsibility.

9-12 years – Children of this age are capable of doing any and all chores, for the most part. I try to stick to around two to three chores a day, not including their room. My 11-year-old stopped bring his dirty laundry down, he expects me to do that for some reason, so now he is in charge of doing his own laundry. He is not aware yet. Once he runs out of clean clothes because he hasn’t brought them down and asks me why I haven’t done his laundry, I will inform he is now in charge of his own laundry. This age doesn’t need a list, you need patience because this age is going to require vigilance. This age is sneaky, they know how to do the chores just enough to make it look like the work is done, oh but the work is not done, it is only half done.

13-18 years – My children are not yet in this age category, but I once was a child this age. There is no need for a list here, they can do any chore. The chores that you should focus on for this age are the ones they alone are responsible for, such as, their laundry, making their lunches, their homework. Second level chores should be focused on Saturdays if possible since this age will have a lot of homework. Do give chores, do not feel like you are applying too much pressure. Your child should learn to balance chores, work, and family. Best to learn this before they leave the nest.

Chores can be paid for, I personally recommend only chores that go above and beyond, or are done consistently and done consistently well without reminders. If you constantly remind them, then you are still responsible for the job and they are not. If they want money, the job should be done to your satisfaction. Remember, the point of chores is responsibility, they are a part of the household, they are part of the work it takes to be in a household. You should effectively work yourself out of a job as the kids become older. You are the manager, they are the employees, this is not mean or cold. You are in charge of teaching your children how to present themselves in society. Working underneath people is a part of the training. Enjoy this time, someday they will be out of the nest, there will be less chores, but less noise too.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrina Palmer is a stay-at-home-mom to three wonderful children and a wife to an amazing husband. She has a bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University and is currently writing her first novel. Adrina is a Christian hoping to help other stay-at-home moms find the joy and simplicity as a mother and wife. In her free time she enjoys many crafts, writing, spending time with family, and reading. She would love to hear from you!

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