Every now and then I come across that rare individual who seems to enjoy household tasks. Let’s be honest, for most of us, the word “chore” really rings true. I, for one, would much rather be hanging out in the sunshine, or cozied up on the couch with a book (ok, that’s fantasy land for us parents of young children!) rather than washing dishes or doing the laundry. If we dislike these tasks so much, how can we possibly expect to get our children on board? Below are different age appropriate chores for kids and how to get them involved.
Make Chores For Kids Fun
Truth be told, I’m much more efficient with cleaning my kitchen (or any other room) when I’m also dancing around to music. There is something about it that distracts us from the task at hand and just makes the chore a little more fun. Children are no different! They are typically very responsive to music and as with anything else, the more fun a task appears, the more likely they will be to take part willingly. So crank up your (or your child’s) favorite tunes and get the cleaning dance party started!
I know that when I was a child, earning money for the chores I completed was a huge motivator. Granted, I wasn’t going to be able to buy a Barbie Dream House with those funds, but it gave me the pocket change to get something from the ice cream truck or save for a few weeks and a buy a toy I wanted. The amount of money each parent chooses to give their children for completing chores will vary. My best advice is, make it enough to be worth their while, but not so much that they end up with unrealistic expectations regarding a work for pay structure later in life! Earning your own money can be such a rewarding feeling and it’s a great start to teaching children about a strong work ethic and responsibility.
Of course, chores for kids don’t have to only be rewarded with money. Maybe it’s getting to do something they have been asking about, or going to a special place they enjoy. Be creative! Create a sticker chore chart. Perhaps when they reach 20 stickers of chores they’ve chosen to complete around the house they can earn a special adventure of their choosing. You can also say, to earn your $5 allowance at the end of the week you must have 10 stickers or checkmarks on your chore chart.
Be Realistic With Expectations
Depending on the age of your child, you probably shouldn’t expect a Martha Stewart-like outcome. Give children tasks that they can complete and feel successful at. The better they feel about the outcome, the more likely it is that they will want to help again in the future. If they complete a task and their work is criticized (or worse, you do it again yourself), your child is likely not going to want to participate again in the future. Even if the outcome isn’t quite up to your standards, be sure to praise their hard work and as Elsa would say, “Let it go!” They will improve with practice!
Age Appropriate Chores For Kids
So what tasks can you give your children to do that they will be successful with? Below are a few ideas, although keep in mind that every child is different and you will likely know what they are and are not capable of!
Preschoolers: Ages 3-5
Setting the table
Moving laundry from the washer to the dryer or from the dryer to the basket
Wiping down tables
Picking up their toys
Making their bed by pulling up sheets and blanket
Emptying small trash cans
Cleaning windows and mirrors
Sweeping (likely with a dustpan and brush)
Putting away their clean clothes
Middle School and Up
Loading/unloading the dishwasher
Taking out the trash
Walking the dog
For additional help around the house consider hiring a household manager to care for the kids and help with chores and errands. To learn more about a household manager or begin your search with Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny, click here.
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About The Author
Sarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.