We all know that running a household is tough – with laundry, meals, cleanup, vacuuming, lunches to pack, pets to feed. That’s why we often encourage our kids to help out around the house. Many (sometimes little) hands make light work, right? But did you know what helping with household chores is actually vital to a child’s development?
Why are Chores Good for Kids?
According to a study conducted by The University of Minnesota, by involving your child in household tasks you instill a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance, and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives. Additionally, studies have shown that household chores help kids to develop a sense of gratitude – they’ll be able to appreciate everything you do and everything it takes to run a household. Of course, we also know that chores help children to become well-adjusted adults. You won’t have to fear the piles of dirty clothes that follow college students home on the weekends when they don’t know how to do their own laundry.
But Where do I Start?
The study from The University of Minnesota also found that the way in which the tasks are presented influences children’s abilities as well. The tasks shouldn’t be too overwhelming and should fit with the child’s age and abilities (read on to see our list of suggestions of chores for all ages!). Parents should present the tasks in a way that fits the child’s learning style and children should be involved in the process of selecting their tasks to accomplish.
The best way to start giving chores to your kids is to hold a family meeting to discuss the idea, and to post a household chore chart somewhere where it can be easily referred to – we suggest you put it on the fridge!
When do I Start?
The sooner the better! The later you begin assigning chores to your kids, the more difficulty you’ll have. If you ask a twelve-year-old to mow the lawn when they were never expected to do any tasks around the house before, you’ll be met with rolling eyes, long, and drawn-out sighs. This is an extreme example, of course, but, really, as soon as children are able to help with simple things like getting the mail, feeding pets or raking leaves, you should be comfortable drafting a chore list for them.
Involving your kids in household chores at an early age helps them to learn values, empathy and responsibility. These are qualities that will follow them and benefit them well into adulthood.
So, What Chores Should I Give My Kids?
Preschool: Age 2-5
- Set the table
- Pick Up Toys
- Sort Laundry by Colour
- Help Prepare Dinner (Like tossing salad, shucking corn, washing potatoes)
- Make bed
- Wipe off surfaces (dusting, wiping crumbs up after dinner)
- Help carry the groceries
- Feed Pets
School Age: 6-11
- Make the bed
- Set the table
- Help with food prep (with supervision, of course!)
- Clear the kitchen table after meals
- Wash the dishes or fill the dishwasher
- Sweep floors
- Take out the garbage
- Make lunches for school
- Wash the car
- Put away groceries
- Help in the garden or rake leaves
Tweens and Teens: 12-18
- Iron clothes
- Cook a meal (from scratch!)
- Yard work
- Babysit younger siblings
- Do the Laundry
Thanks for joining us on the blog today! Do your kids do any chores that aren’t on our list? How did you start them on their road to being fully-fledged chore-doers? We’d love to hear from you on social media. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!
Until next time,
– Today’s Family