There are many different responsibilities that a parent must face and of these, one is preparing your child for the real world that they will face in adulthood. One way in which you can do this is through chores, such as household chores are a great way to give your child hands-on experience into what they may need to do as adults.
Motivating your children to do chores can be one of the most difficult tasks you will ever have as a parent but most children do really well with a little incentive and once they have a habit of doing chores regularly. When you assign age-appropriate chores to your child, you are teaching them responsibility. However, many parents may already know that this is not always well received from the child.
Chores may feel like a punishment or they may think them boring and not fun. This is why the more you can do to make it creative and fun, the better chances of success you and your children will have. Just remember that your children will be better off as they grow older when they’ve been given these opportunities to learn responsibility and also taught how to do many household chores and tasks.
In addition to deciding which chores your child should do, you should also choose which ones they will do for allowance or reward and which ones will be expected of them without this, such as possibly making the bed or brushing their teeth.
What Chores to Pick
One of the first things you might want to know is what chores to pick. This can be a difficult task for many parents and there are different factors that go into choosing what will work best for you. The chores that you pick for your children will depend a great deal on the age of the child. Children below the age of 2 are not really mature enough yet to do any regular chores. However, even a small toddler can start warming up to the idea if you encourage them to help you at clean up time or with small chores around the house.
Here is a breakdown of the age groups and some ideas for chores you can have them do at these ages. This is not exact and it will depend on each individual child and their maturity level. The lists of chores are also not exhaustive and you may think of some of your own to add to the list.
From 2 to 5 Years:
· Put away the toys
· Put dirty clothes away in a hamper
· Water houseplants
· Sort laundry
· Clear away dinner plates
· Help put away clean clothes
· Help set the dinner table
· Dust furniture and throughout house
From 5 to 8/9 Years:
· Make the bed
· Dust/ mop the floors
· Feed household pets
· Clean up bedroom
· Clean up vehicles/ trash and clutter inside
· Collect and take out trash
· Wash outside of vehicles
· Fold clean clothes
· Put away groceries
· Load or unload dishwasher
· Basic yard work- raking, sweeping, etc
· Wipe down walls and doors
From 9 to 13 Years:
· Vacuum and mop
· Prepare school lunches
· Change bed sheets
· Wash bed sheets
· Clean bathrooms
13 and Up:
· Mow the lawn
· Help prepare meals
· Clean the dishes
· Clean the garage
· Do laundry
As your child grows older, you will find they are able to do more and more things. The maturity level of your child should also be taken into consideration. Whenever you advance to a new chore with your child, take time to go over the instructions properly with them. Give them a chance to ask questions and be sure to supervise the first couple of times they do something.
Don’t just assume your child will know how to do it from seeing you do it. This is how accidents happen or chores don’t get completed properly. It’s also a good opportunity to bond as you do something together and spend time with one another.
Many parents enjoy making a list of possible chores for each child and their age and then allowing the child to pick which ones they want to do that week. If you have your child do 3 chores each day, you can have them pick their three from the list at the beginning of the week.
Variety is nice because it allows them to learn new things and it also keeps the mundane tasks from being boring. This will also be a good time to focus on how many chores to give per child.
How Many Chores per Child
Once you have decided which chores are appropriate for your child and their age and maturity level, you also need to consider how many chores to have them do per day. Some chores will be weekly and others will be done once a day so you may have three daily chores and a weekly chore, etc. You just need to find what works for you and your child.
2 to 5 years: Two to three daily chores will be about all that your child of this age can handle. Take their maturity into consideration but don’t try to make them into little worker bees. This is a learning stage and you will still be doing a great deal of the work yourself. This is the time when most children are the most excited about doing chores and getting to help out. You may find that your child asks to do things, even some things they are not really old enough to do alone yet. Allow them to help you whenever you can.
5 to 8/9 Years Old: At this age, you can bump the chore list up to about three to five chores or so if your child seems mature enough to handle the responsibility. You might even want to let your child help suggest chores for them to do but you will also find that some kids think they can do more than they really can at this age. Don’t let them get ahead of themselves. Teach them how to commit to the chores they have and then do them properly.
9 to 13 Years Old: Now you can move the chore list up to about five to seven chores comfortably. A lot of kids at this age will start wanting to quit chores. You may get moans and groans when you even begin to talk about it. This is when it’s important to teach your child to pull through and do it even when they don’t want to. This is one of the most important things to learn about responsibility.
13 Years Old and Up: Teens of this age can usually handle about 7-10 chores but keep in mind if they have other responsibilities such as clubs or sports teams. They may volunteer to do extra chores to help earn extra money for things they want or are saving for.
Remember also that some chores will be daily and some will be weekly so this can also affect the number of chores you give and how you sort them out.
How to Reward for Chores
The next thing you might have questions about is how to reward your child for chores. Parents have many different takes on this. Some parents offer money as compensation, others may offer prizes or coupons for prizes and some don’t believe in giving their children anything for their chores.
While it’s true that there probably are some chores that your child should learn to do for themselves without compensation such as picking up after themselves or maybe making their bed. However, positive reinforcement can go a long way.
When you begin talking about other household chores, it really helps prepare them for the real world to do these chores and have these responsibilities so it just makes sense that there would be some compensation for it as well.
If you can’t afford to give your child a monetary allowance of physical “prizes” as rewards, you can make your reward some family time together. In fact, I highly suggest this as a reward for chores done correctly anyway. You might have a family game night or play a board game together. You might decide to watch movies and make popcorn or have a crafts day. Whatever you do, just make it something special you can do together and explain to your child that since they helped with chores, you now have more free time to spend with them.