Chores, Chores, Chores there is an unending debate about this subject in the parenting streets. Parents are always asking questions, seeking answers on this subject. Questions like, should my kids do chores? why should they have chores? How do I know which chores are age-appropriate? How do I avoid conflicts caused by chores? Should I reward my children for chores done or not? If you are a parent with these questions in mind stick around, I hope you get your questions answered. This article will touch on the different questions but the focus will be on the chore ideas by age & why should kids have chores.
Why should kids have chores
The ideal thing every parent and child would wish for is to have a paid domestic worker in the house, who will take care of all chores in the house, affording the kids plenty of time to play and watch the screen and allowing parents to have tons of time for work and leisure. If we choose to satisfy our desire in this regard, one can wonder, what kind of adults are our kids gonna be? So let’s get into WHY kids MUST have chores.
1. Chores make kids feel more competent/capable
This was proven by research done by Dr. Kennedy-Moore (2013), that kids with chores have some increased competence with necessary life skills, values, and even general well-being. I can remember several times after successfully completing their chores my kids will come to me, all smiles ‘Mommy I am so proud of myself you know’, they will insist that I come and see and whether it’s a clean kitchen or bedroom, I will find it sparkling clean. In my mind I would just underline, I am so proud of myself, I could see a sense of unbelievable achievement that tells them You Are Capable‘. Without a doubt a sense of competency breeds confidence. Try it.
2. Chores teaches Self Reliance
I am confident and proud to say my kids can never sit hungry when I am not around and not know what to do. If for any reason they are required to wear a particular attire, and the attire is not ready, whether it needs to be washed or ironed, they will know what to do. They may not do it perfectly but the basics about the basics are intact. From the earliest age of seven, they started showing signs of self-reliance and that puts a smile on my face. And the sense of Self Reliance is strengthened by the power of three, I am certain that they call pull through some because they are there helping each other. And this takes me to the role chores play in building teamwork.
3. Chores teach or enhances team work
Humans , whether we admit it or not, we have some form of selfishness at our very core.We seek things for ourselves, we also seek to be better and outshine others. This nature is well contained and concealed in adulthood.But because kids have not learned to pretend, the selfish nature is very visible with them. I have also seen this attribute surfacing over and over with my three kids, each of them keeps seeking personal accolades for doing the better job than their brother or sister .I had to continually teach and remind them that team work is what counts.If they were cleaning the house, the house as a whole must be clean. I am not about who has outdone who.And in the spirit of team work I also teach them to take care and be compassionate to a weaker member of the team, which in most cases is due to sickness. They must be willing and able to offer to do their chores for that particular day. Some days are better than others. There are days that the team spirit is on cloud 09 while other days are the opposite. But this lesson should and will continue until it fully registers.Parenting is all about teaching and teaching is all about patience. Do not give up.
4. Chores enhances family bonding time
This will be like a shadow of the previous point on teamwork. Family bonds are one of the neglected aspects amongst families in the days we are living in. Families need to be intentional about staying connected or it will not happen. There are plenty of activities that families can do together to enhance the connections, I guess there will be a post dedicated to that. For now lets focus on how chores can develop and enhance family bonds.
gain I will refer to my own family. I remember the time when our evenings were solemnly dedicated to screens, each one of us will be on a screen from the dad to the last born, it used to break my heart. I didn’t know what to do but I was determined to bring this toxic habit to an end. One good evening I called a meeting and we agreed that evenings shall be dedicated to cleaning the house and family prayer time. So the flow from 7pm will be dinner, cleaning the house, prayer, and bedtime. During the cleaning we play loud music we sing and dance as we clean, sometimes we do small competitions on speed and quality of work done. The competitions will always be between parents and kids. It is during this time that I witnessed oneness/team work, Those who finished first will always rush to help others complete their work. They will be correcting each other on how to do things and corrections during these times are taken gracefully.
5. Relieves your hands for me time
Parents, especially mothers should note that if they fail to teach their kids how to do some of the daily and basic chores, the entire load will be on their shoulders. If you are like me, you are homeschooling, an entrepreneur, a mother, a wife, and plenty of other responsibilities outside the house, you will understand that there will never be enough time to perform all other household duties. Not forgetting the importance of that me time. It is in the best interests of the kids and the parents to teach their children these skills.
List of chores by age
- Help with feeding the pets.
- Pack the toys and clean up after playing.
- Clean up after their own spills.
- Feed the pets.
- Put dirty clothes in the basket.
- Help with dusting lower surfaces.
- Pack the toys after playing.
- Help with clearing up the table after a meal.
- Put dirty clothes in the basket.
- Help with folding their clothes after washing.
- Help with matching socks and putting their undies at the right place.
- Clean up his or her spills.
- Feed the pets.
- Help with watering the plants.
- Dust the reachable surfaces.
- Feed the pets independently.
- Empty trash bins.
- Make their beds.
- Clean their rooms.
- Help with food preparation.
- Help with setting the table.
- Dust surfaces.
- Fold laundry and put them in their closets.
- Put away dishes from the dish water.
- In addition to the above chores.
- Prepare meals i.e sandwiches and cereal.
- Help with peeling the vegetable.
- Load the dishwasher.
- Pack the dishes in the reachable cupboards.
- Pack the groceries.
- Prepare their school lunch and traveling snacks.
10 -12 Years
- Help wash the car.
- Wash the dishes.
- Be involved in meal preparations
- Help with cleaning the yard.
- Help with gardening.
- Can be allocated different areas in the house to clean.
Truth is I have seen teenagers who can do almost everything listed above and beyond and I have also witnessed teenagers who can do very few of the above.What the teenager can do or cannot do will totally depend on what the teenager has been taught in the previous years. The ideal though is that s/he should be able comfortably do the listed, including:
- Helping with the grocery shopping.
- Preparing meals
- Doing laundry by himself/herself.
The importance of teaching our kids how to do chores is inarguable. It is of great benefit to the family, the parents and the kids themselves not only now bit even their future.. It enhances their self esteem, their problem solving skills. It teaches them good work ethic, competence and excellence. It is on such basis that I urge families to be intentional about getting all hands on the deck, big or small to ensure that the house hold is runs smoothly with a fair opportunity for everyone to add value.
I would love to hear from you, comment below from your personal experiences. Do you think it is important for kids to be taught how to do chores or as a society we can get away with doing every thing for them?