Most children are given chores to do. However, depending on our parenting style, the nature of the chores and at what age we give them, varies hugely. We are guided by our own work ethics, our lifestyles, and sometimes a necessity for a helping hand around the house. Whatever your views, it’s worth knowing that giving children age appropriate chores has heaps of benefits.
According to Raising Children ‘Research shows that children learn in many ways about family relationships and how their family functions. Being involved in household chores is one way they can learn. When children contribute to family life, it also helps them feel competent and responsible.’
So there you go, you’re actually benefiting your children by enlisting their help. And I believe the younger the better. Why? Well, younger kids actually LOVE to be involved in ‘mummy stuff’. So get them started while it’s fun for them. If your children grow-up not contributing, then you suddenly expect them to, you may have a challenge on your hands.
All that leaves is the decision as to whether you pay your children for their household help. Again, it’s a tricky one that varies with families. Personally, I don’t fork out for everyday chores, such as making their beds and clearing the dinner table. However, anything over and above does deserve some pocket money. Things like weeding the garden or cleaning the car. And how much do you pay? Well, I’ll leave that decision to you.
See below for a basic guide of age appropriate chores for children. Again, I stress, the chores you give your children is a personal decision. Every child is different in their ability to complete tasks and their willingness to do so. And only you know what your child is capable of.
AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR CHILDREN
2-3 YEAR OLDS
Put laundry in basket + Help put away toys + Help wipe table
4-5 YEAR OLDS
All previous chores + Help feed pets + Fold towels + Help wipe up messes + Help set/clear table + Match socks in laundry
6-7 YEAR OLDS
All previous chores + Take clothes out of dryer + Sweep floors + Water plants + Help make own bed + Help tidy own room + Help wash dishes + Set/clear table
8-9 YEAR OLDS
All previous chores + Make bed + Fold laundry + Dust + Wash dishes + Help prepare meals + Weed garden + Vacuum + Help wash car + Take out rubbish + Tidy own room + Make own bed + Help load dishwasher
10-12 YEAR OLDS
All previous chores + Wash basic laundry + Make basic meals + Empty dishwasher + Put away groceries + Mop floors + Help with younger siblings + Feed/clean pets + Wash car + Rake garden
All previous chores + Make family meals + Ironing + Test smoke alarms + Most gardening + Some grocery shopping
Oh, and one more tip: When it come to age appropriate chores for children, don’t expect too much from them. If you give them chores they are unable to complete they may feel they have failed. Yet a completed task will give them a sense of satisfaction and pride.
And remember to thank them (whether with money or not). We all like to know we are appreciated.