Let’s Talk Chores
The word “chores” usually brings on the moans and groans of dread, but it doesn’t have to. Age appropriate chores can benefit your child’s development. It can help prevent boredom and make family life run smoother.
Benefits of Chores
- Life skills: Helping around the house allows children to gain the confidence to do day to day tasks independently. Therefore, it takes the stress off of moms and dads to support every want and need (i.e. simple snacks, getting dressed, tidying a bedroom).
- Teamwork: Chores don’t have to be an individual activity. Allowing siblings to work together for larger tasks (i.e. dishes, laundry) shows them how to work together for a common goal.
- Time Management: Does your kiddo really want that screen time? Have them do a few days of chores first and fun after. This will likely increase their efficiency and teach them the reward of getting a task done quickly, compared to wasting time whining and fighting.
- Family Support: Starting kids out early with simple household tasks and responsibility increases the chance that your aging child will respect their role in household needs. In addition, completing a task as a family allows time for bonding, turn taking, and language emersion.
Chore Ideas by Age
Toddlers/Preschool (ages 2-4 years)
- Help make the bed
- Pick out their outfit for the day
- Feed the family pet
- Help clean up their toys and/or play spaces
Preschool/Kindergarten (ages 4-6 years)
- Clear and/or set the table
- Bring laundry to their basket or laundry room area
- Help put away groceries
- Assist in making dinner/snacks/lunches
Elementary School age (ages 6-10+ years)
- Walk the family pets
- Vacuum parts of the house
- Take out the garbage
- Fold and/or put away their own laundry
How to Make Chores Fun
Of course, some kids are resistant to the idea of chores. This could be because of how they have approached them in the past, the amount of work they think is required, or simply because they would rather be playing. First, it is important when introducing or revamping your household chore system to make sure that the tasks you are asking your child to do are activities that they are able to be successful with. While there are opportunities to learn and teach new skills with additional chores, we don’t want these tasks to be overly difficult or frustrating. Start simple, and add later.
Secondly, many kids benefit from use of timers, reward charts, reward systems, or games. A visual timer may motivate a child to get a task done faster, a kitchen timer may motivate two siblings to complete and see who can get more chores checked off faster in ten minutes, and a sticker chart to earn screen time may motivate others. Above all, try out some options and see what works for you and your specific family.
For additional ideas, check out our Chore Infographic!