Posts tagged with: responsibility

The When’s and What’s of Chores

When should my child start doing chores? What chores can they do at what ages? Are questions I am often asked by moms. Every child is different, so you need to base what jobs you give your child by what they can accomplish. You will probably be surprised though, most kids are able to do more than they are ever asked to do. A child as young as 2can be responsible for basics like putting her toys away and putting dirty clothes in the hamper. By age 3 you can add basic hygiene like brushing teeth and hair. At age 4 is when true chore responsibilities can begin.

Most 4-5 year olds can be responsible for picking up their toys/bedroom, making their bed, dressing themselves, brushing teeth, washing face and hands, helping separate the laundry, putting dirty clothes in the hamper and putting clean, folded clothes away in their drawers.

By elementary school you can add feeding pets, doing homework, practicing for music lessons, etc. By age 8-9 children can start doing the laundry, this was my boys’ favorite chore! They can also start doing more pet care at this age. They can help in the kitchen by loading the dishwasher, cleaning the microwave, washing pots and pans by hand, wiping down counters, tables, chairs and cabinet doors as well as sweeping the floor. In the bathroom they can clean the sinks, toilets and bathtub. Taking out the trash, dusting and vacuuming can also be added during the elementary school years.

Once they enter middle school they should be folding clothes and towels, mowing the lawn, learning to cook and iron. One of my goals when having my children do chores is that when they grow up and leave my house I want them to know how to care for themselves, their homes, and their families. Now that my boys are in high school they each have 1 night a week that they plan and cook dinner as well as their other chores. I was blessed to marry a man who knew how to take care of our home and I am determined that when the time comes, my boys will bless their wives with housekeeping skills.

The Why’s of Chores

The dawn of a new year often brings discussions of children and chores. In the last few days I have spoken with several parents about this very issue. Common questions parents have are: Why should my children do chores? What age to start chores? What chores are appropriate? How many chores? and To pay or not to pay. There are several philosophies on how to approach chores. Over the next week or so I am going to share my chore philosophy.

Why should my children do chores?

There are many reasons children should do chores. The most important reason a child should do chores is that doing chores teaches responsibility. In my years of teaching and working with youth, often when I am working with a student who is rather irresponsible I will ask him, “Do you do chores at home?” The asnwer is almost always 1 of 2 things. First is just, “No.” Second is, “I’m supposed to but I don’t.” As parents we want our children to grow up to be responsible citizens, I believe this starts with how we deal with chores. For a child to learn to be responsibile the parent must see chores first as a learning environment then as a work environment.  Yes, this will create work for the parent but-that’s what parenting is all about. We will cover this more in detail in my article “The How’s of Chores”.

Another reason children should have chores to do is that it actually helps them have a stake in the family. Each member of the family should be a productive member of that family and for children having chores to do gives them that feeling of “I’m doing my part.” This is true especially today. We no longer June Cleaver home all day cleaning the house in her pearls and pumps.  Many families have either both parents working outside of the home, or are single parent families. In homeschooling families when often only 1 parent works outside the home but the other parent has the added responsibility of educating the children, everyone in the home needs to pitch in and do what they are capable of doing.

In the next article I will be discussing “The When’s and What’s of Chores”. What age should children start doing chores and what chores are age appropriate.