Guest post from House Tipster
When's the Best Age to Start Giving Your Child Chores?
With children comes a whole slew of messes. For those who found it difficult to keep their house clean before they had children, you're in for quite a wake-up call for after you've included a child into the home. Exhaustion runs rampant, and as a result, the last thing you want to do is clean a house after working all day and tending to the family's needs. One of the perks of having kids is that they can help with chores around the house. While they may not clean as thoroughly as you might, at least the job is getting done. More importantly, it's also teaching them how to be responsible.
Responsibility is a lesson that is never too young to learn. In fact, the younger you can introduce your children to responsibilities, the better off they will be, as it will become naturally honed into them to take charge instead of leaving tasks unfinished. Knowing just what chores are appropriate for what age groups, however, may not be as clear. This article will go over daily and weekly chores that children can perform, divided into age groups.
Two to Three
For children in the two-to-three bracket, a lot of the tasks that they can perform is going to depend upon whether they are comfortable walking yet or not. Hopefully, by this juncture, they are. You can begin to give them simple tasks like making their bed each morning. Not only does this save an extra step for you in the morning that you can delegate to another task, but it also helps the child start up a morning routine that they can perform each morning for the rest of their lives. It also teaches them how to be responsible and clean in the places where they rest.
Another task that can be assigned to them is to clean-up their toys. Since they're quite young at this stage, it's best that this task is supervised. Children will likely be slow, and their young ages will likely see their attention constantly being diverted. For example, they'll likely want to play with the toys as they attempt to clean them. You can help them by keeping them on task. Just be sure you keep your patience in check. By cleaning up after themselves, they start to cultivate responsibility for their own personal objects.
In addition, they can also perform tasks like bringing their clothes to the laundry basket. This will help you from having to hunt down the clothes strewn all over. Children should also be made to help clean up dirt and spills, especially if they were the cause of the spill. This reinforces the lesson of fixing mistakes and cleaning up one's own messes.
Four to Five
Once they've reached this category, they should still be performing the tasks assigned above. However, chores for 4 year olds should include tasks like bringing any items that they had with them from the car to the house. Not only does this help to reinforce memory but it also cements the responsibility of knowing where one's belongings are and taking care of them.
It is also appropriate at this stage to ensure they know to wash their hands frequently. Not just after using the bathroom, but they should also wash their hands after playing outside. By lightly supervising these tasks, you can instruct them in the ways of personal hygiene and excellent sanitary responsibility.
At this point, you can also show them how to set the table. This should be done with supervision to prevent any accidents. Since cooking is going to be a vital part of their life, it certainly doesn't hurt to bring them into the kitchen and start them with basic food preparation skills either. Again, the importance of sanitation could be reinforced here.
In addition, they should also be given the tasks of dusting and mopping with a dry mop. If you have a pet, you can put them in charge of ensuring that the pet is fed and watered every day.
Six to Seven
Further morning tasks can be assigned at this age. For one, they should be able to brush their own teeth and comb their own hair. They can also choose what outfits they wish to wear for the day. When it comes time for the holidays and thank-you notes have to be written, this is the perfect category for them to start writing those notes themselves. Not only will it teach them appreciation and gratitude, but it will get them into the habit of sending thank-you notes anytime they receive a gift.
At this point, they can also be shown how to use the vacuum and can take up vacuuming responsibilities. Instead of dry mopping, they can now wet mop the floors. For dinner, they can help to put the dishes into the dishwasher. When it comes to their clothes, you can include the task of having to fold their clothes and hang them up in their rooms.
Finally, depending upon their strength, you may wish to assign them trash duty. They can take the trash out either to the trash bin outside or just take the bag and set it outside for you to take to the bin later.
Eight to Eleven
At this point, they should be relatively independent when it comes to the tasks that you've assigned them in the past. For their morning ritual, you may want to start getting them used to waking up with an alarm clock rather than having you wake them.
More outdoor responsibilities can be assigned, too, like washing the car (with supervision), raking the leaves, and taking the trash bin to the curb on pick-up days. It isn't a bad idea to teach them a few easy meals to cook on their own at this juncture either. You should also instruct them on how to use the washer and dryer, so they can start doing their own laundry.
Twelve and Thirteen
Bed sheets should be brought into the laundry room regularly to be cleaned, and they should be able to change their bed sheets as well. Learning how to change a light bulb at this stage is also recommended. You may also feel that they are ready to learn how to mow the lawn, though this should be done with supervision.
They may also be given the task of cooking a meal every now and then and babysitting where it is legal in certain states.
Fourteen and Fifteen
For those who use a library, they should be taught responsible library etiquette like knowing when books are due. Washing windows can be assigned at this point, and they should always be assigned to do their homework. You may even take them along with you to the grocery store to show them how to buy food. From this shopping, they can then be taught how to prepare a meal, and they can be assigned to cook a meal either once a week or every other week.
Sixteen to Eighteen
From here, the only additional tasks that need to be taught and reinforced is car care. They should be able to look after the simple tasks and maintenance that cars often require. Since this is the time where many will be acquiring their first jobs, you can also instruct them on how to save and spend money.
Big thanks to House Tipster for this post. Do your children help with chores?