We all know that our kids should be doing chores. Having responsibilities makes kids feel like valued members of the family, teaches them important life skills and helps prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with all of the jobs that need to be taken care of on a regular basis. I know that I probably don’t expect as much from my kids as I should, when it comes to chores. Kids can do so much more than we often give them credit for! Here are a few suggestions for age-appropriate chores, starting with toddlers.
- Two to Four Year Olds
Kids this age are eager to help, and you should let them, even though their assistance might not really be very helpful at this stage. Let them follow you around while you do your chores, and give them little tasks. While you’re folding laundry, they can be folding dish towels and washcloths. They can pick up their toys from the living room and put them in a basket. Let them set the table, giving each person a plate, fork and napkin (you do the knives). If you bake a cake, they can help stir the batter. Enjoy their enthusiasm for helping with household chores, because unfortunately, it won’t last long!
- School-Aged Kids
Once children are able to navigate the rigors of going to school, they’re also able to help a bit more around the house. Young elementary schoolers can keep their rooms picked up (with your help and direction), dust and put their own laundry away (after you fold it). Little ones can help with pet care, such as feeding and brushing, but you’ll still need to supervise to make sure that your four-legged family member is getting the care that she needs. As they get bigger, they can start unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the kitchen after dinner, running the vacuum and helping with simple meal preparation. Watch younger ones with knives and when cooking on the stove, but their abilities may surprise you; my third-grader can scramble eggs or cook the ground beef for tacos, for example.
- Preteens and Teenagers
By the time kids are well into their teens, they should be capable of doing all of the jobs necessary to run a household; after all, in a few short years, they’ll be keeping their own dorm rooms or apartments clean and tidy. Preteens are usually strong enough to take the garbage out, and should know how to load the dishwasher (or hand wash dishes). Young teenagers should be able to wash, dry and fold a load of laundry, clean a bathroom thoroughly, completely make a bed, and make a grocery list. When your child is old enough to drive, send him grocery shopping, to the post office and on other errands that he’ll need to do for himself in the coming years. Your teen should also learn how to mow the lawn, use the snowblower or leaf blower and perform basic car maintenance.
Giving kids age-appropriate chores is an important step toward raising kids into self-sufficient adults. What chores do your kids do?