Look around your house, and you will see that there are a lot of chores that need doing. As a parent, you probably think that it is your duty to do all that housework. Sure, household chores need to be done, and they are, indeed, your responsibility. It’s not, however, your duty to do ALL of them by your lonesome, especially when you have children who are old enough to help you around the house.
Unfortunately, some parents think that all that children should focus on are their studies and playtime, and that’s it. While well-intentioned, parents who never draw up a chore chart for kids aren’t really doing them any favors.
A University of Minnesota study says the best predictor of success among kids when they become adults is doing chores from as early as three years old. According to the study, says adults who did chores when they were kids are generally able to finish their education, embark on a good career, and have good relationships with family and friends.
Wouldn’t that be something you would want your kids to have when they finally leave the nest?
The benefits of doing chores as kids
Getting kids to help with the chores isn’t just about getting an extra pair of hands to get things done.
With every chore you assign your kids, they get to pick up a skill that will help them when they’re living independent lives. Cooking, doing the laundry and dishes, or basic carpentry are skills so many adults do not possess simply because they never got any practice as kids.
There’s also that sense of responsibility they develop when they are tasked with chores they’re expected to carry out regularly. Just like adults, your kids will also feel accomplished whenever they finish their tasks, knowing they have contributed to the good of the household. That sense of pride will also help build their self-esteem.
There are so many things that we want for our children, but ultimately, seeing them become independent, successful, and happy adults is more than enough to fill us with joy and pride. Let’s assign them chores and help them reap all its benefits as they grow up.
Age-appropriate chores for your children
When assigning chores to your kids, always consider their age, which is typically an indicator of what they are capable of doing. Here’s a list of the ideal chores for your kids by age.
For 2 to 3-year-olds:
- Making their bed
- Picking up toys
- Picking up dirty clothes and putting them in the hamper
- Feeding pets and giving them water
- Helping set and clear the dining table
- Folding towels
- Assisting you when hanging freshly-laundered clothes to dry
- Sorting fresh laundry by color
- Dusting tables, picture frames, shelves
- Straightening and fluffing throw pillows
- Helping carry lighter groceries
- Cleaning their rooms
- Assisting with food preparation
- Emptying indoor garbage cans
- Watering plants and flowers
- Folding fresh laundry
- Putting fresh laundry in closets and drawers
- Taking dishes out of the dishwasher
- Answering the phone
- Dusting and mopping rooms
- Taking out the garbage
- Washing dishes
- Keeping their bedroom clean
- Helping clean the bathroom and kitchen
- Preparing easy meals such as cereals by themselves
- Raking the yard
- Putting groceries in cupboards
- Changing the sheets
- Walking the dog
- Peeling vegetables
- Helping wash the car
- Washing windows
For kids aged 13 and up:
- Changing light bulbs
- Mowing the lawn
- Preparing dinner
- Vacuuming the carpet
- Doing the laundry
- Babysitting younger siblings
- If old enough to drive, wash and maintain the car
Remember that the list above is only meant as a guide. You can make adjustments to it as you see fit, especially if you already have an idea what your kids are capable or incapable of doing at a certain age.
A few things to keep in mind
Your kids are young, and it’s likely that they wouldn’t be able to do whatever task you assigned them perfectly the first time around. So don’t be so hard on them. In fact, you have to ease them into the chores you’re asking them to do.
The usual procedure would be showing them step-by-step how the chore is done on the first day. The following day, allow your kid to help you do the chore. Then let them perform their task under your supervision. Eventually, your child will be able to master the task enough to be able to do it alone.
During all these, makes sure that you deliver your instructions and supervise them in a calm and relaxed manner. Barking orders at them will only turn them off toward chores. Never expect them to perform their chores perfectly, or force them to do their tasks.
Motivating your kids to do chores
Let’s face it: most kids don’t like doing chores. Many even do everything they can to get out of doing them. And since you can’t really force them into doing chores lest you want to have people from Child Services knocking at your door, the best thing you can do is to motivate them.
There are a number of ways that you can motivate your children to do chores. You can, for example, make a game out of doing chores to make them fun for your kids. Allowing them to play their favorite music while doing their tasks should also be motivating enough.
However, few things work better than monetary rewards in motivating kids—tweens and teenagers especially—to help around the house. By giving them an allowance for each task they complete, you are providing them something to look forward to when doing their chores.
If you decide to give them an allowance for doing chores, then create a chore chart (here is a great printable example) that will reflect what they’ve accomplished and how much they have earned for each week. Whatever concerns you might have about giving them money for chores, all that should disappear once you realize that an allowance gives them the opportunity to learn how to manage their money, an ability that will surely come in handy when they grow up.