As parents, sometimes chores and housework can get overwhelming. Add to that children of any age, and it can seem impossible. But there are ways that you can encourage your children to help around the house so you’re not doing the burden of the work yourself.
The best way to get children involved is by making a chart of chores that they can do, and either giving them a sticker for each chore that gets done, or by marking it off. You can make one yourself by listing the chores and laminating it. You can get clear contact paper at the store for a cheap and easy self-laminate. You can also find free templates and charts online through various blogs and sites.
Finding age-appropriate chores can be tricky, but with a little common sense and trial and error, you can find chores that your little ones of all ages can do.
Ages Toddler-4 years
At this age, the little ones want to help with whatever you’re doing. Most of the time they don’t actually “help” but you’ll want to encourage them to help while they want to. If you discourage them at this age, then later when you need and want them to help, they won’t be willing.
Some simple chores that they can do at this age are:
-pick up dolls, trucks, toys, and put them in bins or the toy box
-put pillows and stuffed animals on their bed
-put away silverware, plastic bowls (in bottom cabinets), or plastic cups.
It’s nice to have a bucket or basket in a lower cabinet with the plastic cups, bowls, and/or plates in it. Then they can also help set the table by getting their own dishes. If you’re super organized and have a separate bin for each toy, it would be best to get down on the floor and help them put each thing away. Expecting them to be able to sort the toys at this age is a huge expectation.
Ages 5 years- 8 years
Some children in this age range will still be struggling with dexterity and fine motor skills, so you’ll want to be sensitive to those issues. But as they grow older, they will relish having new responsibilities to feel like more of a family.
Expanding the chores at this age would be:
-clean up all toys
-make bed (it may not be perfect, but covers spread over the mattress)
-put away cups, bowls, plates, silverware, etc.
-take plates and silverware off of the table after meals
-vacuum small areas
You might want to invest in nicer plastic dishes, or have them take one plate at a time, but at this age they should be able to clean off the table and put clean dishes away. If you’re worried about chemicals from cleaning the bathroom, look into more natural cleaning options.
Ages 9- 12 years
At this age you can trust them to do more intense work. It still may not be perfect, but it all goes into training them to become responsible, knowledgeable adults.
Chores at this age:
-empty and load the dishwasher
-vacuum whole rooms
-take out trash
-clean entire bathroom
You might want to help sort the laundry and leave more delicate clothing for you to do. Or just have them do their own laundry. But the use of washing machines and dryers, and the folding and putting away of clothes can be done at this age. You may be able to think of more chores that they can do at this age, according to the need and the ability of each individual child.
As you can see, you don’t have to do the bulk of chores by yourself. By assigning age-appropriate chores, you can train your children to help you around the house. It may be more difficult at first as they’re learning how to do the chores, and how you want them done, but with a little patience and persistence, you can reap the benefits of that training.
Laura Carter is a freelance writer out of Oklahoma. She also home-schools her five children and is involved in music ministries at her church. She loves to write, do puzzles, and read.