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?
16 thoughts on “Chore Ideas by Age: Why should kids have chores?”
This is a very interesting topic and I am sure there are people at polar ends.
To be honest I could never decide which way I fell. I must admit that we made sure our kids knew how to do things, but we rarely asked them to do it as a duty. But I have just realised that we should have been doing it together as a family and that would have made all the difference.
I was brought up knowing how to do things, but my parents rarely asked me to do things. But I had no difficulty doing them when I needed to. I will never forget when I was small, my grandmother told me to put coal on the fire, but my father jumped up and said he would do it. My grandmother said I should be doing it, to which my dad said that I would have years and years to do it in my own house, so I didn’t need to be doing it yet.
As I said, I really don’t know what I think lol.
Oh I agree 100% that kids should have chores. And this is why I enjoyed this wonderfully written article! Thanks for sharing the chore ideas by age as I have some children it could be used for. I also believe that nothing should be a must, but presented as free will, as part of a daily lifestyle. Thanks again!
Allow our kids to do chores, since they are young is absolutely a right and good practice. Your article is a masterpiece for every young couple to read. I am a husband who worked overseas for more than 20 years, but luckily my wife does what you have mentioned to me. Also, thanks to my beloved mother in law, stop her business came to my house to assist her daughter.
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It looks like your kids were in good hands, I guess now they are independent adults,
This is a great site with a greater post. I 100% concur with you that our kids should start up little by little, bit by bit according to their age in doing house chores.
The parents could not start in the good that destroys our modern time kids when they become of marriage age.Many ladies have lost their marriages because their parents failed to teach them house chores so to the level that they don’t know how to cook and can not cook.
This is one thing that the Igbo tribe of the Easter Nigeria we’re I come from trains both the boy and girl alike so that house chores becomes everyone’s responsibility.
We should learn how to train up our kids in a way that will only help them to become somehow independent in the future for no knowledge is a waste. Thanks for this great post.
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I appreciate your culture that teaches both boys and girls chores alike.Every parent must strive for this kind of independence.
A critical article and very well-written.
I also agree that chores are important for kids to teach them lessons they’d otherwise not learn.
I know that I had plenty of chores when I was a kid, from doing the laundry to washing dishes and keeping up with the house’s landscaping.
I think the formatting is a bit off, so you should look through the article again and check it out!
Well, I agree with you a hundred percent that 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, as you outlined.
I have noted the importance of chores to our kids, you mentioned. This is very helpful and interesting.
I am a mother of 4 and I totally agree that it is important that kids have chores. Chores teaches them to become independent and prepare them for the real life outside the household! I love the listing of chores according to the different ages. Great tips and advice! It is also true that each kid is different and learns at his/her own pace and that is to be taken into consideration. We need to adapt to each kids’ abilities.
I have two kids, we seem to be on the same page in regards to chores. As a parent, our job is not just to make sure they stay breathing. It is to create productive members that contribute to the society they are in. That may be confined to the household, the community, or a broader population.
As you mentioned, I too believe that positive reinforcement is important early on. Focusing here, rather than negative reinforcement tends to yield better result. I do believe that your chores outlined are age appropriate and will result in outstanding, independent young adults.
Doing chores is something that has to be taught, for this skill be valuable later in life, for the benefit of all in the household. There are so many positive aspects for teaching young ones the value in doing chores.
As you said, it builds teamwork. It also brings a sense of pride to one’s own accomplishments that will be needed later in life. It teaches that self-reliance and teamwork are part of the same target of achieving a goal. It teaches that when two or more work together great things are possible.
The age progression you have posted is great. I can not think of another progression quite as detailed or as simple as the one you have posted. I would recommend it for all parents or guardians of children.
What an interesting read. I think we can all relate to this article, as parents and at one point, as kids ourselves. Doing chores will teach you a bit of self reliance. But, the satisfaction a child gets from a job well done is amazing. Also, as a parent, it is reassuring to know that your child is not totally dependent on you for all of his needs. It is never to early to learn the value of hard work and doing a job well.
Kids love being able to do things on their own, so giving them tasks that are just within their capabilities is key.
If you give them something too difficult or complicated right away, they might feel discouraged or frustrated when they don’t succeed at first.
You want chores to be an opportunity for learning and growth – not another thing that makes any kid feel bad about themselves! Also ,I find that doing chores together helps bonding.
If only every parent taught their own kids to do chores, I am sure we would have a better society.
Your content is perfect for me because i have a girl kid of 7 years old which I believe should now start to have an important chore. it’s really so good if there is somebody who can guide because when I was a kid, I didn’t remember any chore assigned to me but what I could recall is that I was helpful with my mom, and I used to follow her whatever she was telling me to do. I like your list of chore ideas by age where I can apply it to my daughter. Feeding our pet dog independently; she already did it, she even did the emptying of trash bins, making her bed room, etc., but what is lacking is that, she needs to be reminded and instructed to do it or else she sometimes forget it. so it’s really different when there is a guide like what you shared to us which is very helpful in making the kid more responsible, once they will become used to what chore they are having. I really appreciated for having given the chance to comment your very nice post, I have learned a lot, it’s only that some of it can’t be expressed by words but in my mind I am fully equipped with the knowledge about kid’s chores. Once again thank you very much for sharing to us such valuable content, it’s benefiting not only me but to all the parents in the world specially those who have more than one kids. I wish you all the best with your online business.
I totally agree with the chores for kids. Here is my biggest struggle. My toddler 3.5yo is not the type that wants to help out often. If he does it’s because I make it sound like a game and it’s still hit or miss, I do sometimes but often I’m just too tired. Any tips for someone who struggles making chores an activity? If I set up a chore list for him to complete he’s resist it’s more because then he feels pressure.
This article definitely strikes a sensitive chord. Some kids take naturally to doing chores, In fact, this kind of kid will take it on themselves to help out in the home. Then there are kids who try their best to avoid being tasked to do any of the assignments you listed above.
Why is that? The parents definitely have a responsibility to instill in their kids to accept responsibility. However, this works better in some kids and not in others. What options does a parent have when one or more of their children resist doing chores right from the beginning?
Here is where I feel that parents need training or coaching in how to work with children to do the right thing, I feel that it is supercritical how this process is developed and followed. Included in this process must be a system of reward and punishment. The nature of the rewards and punishment has to be tailored to each child and they are all unique.
Most kids respond to rewards for doing a good job better than being punished for a bad job or not doing the job at all. This is a sensitive topic and one where a great deal of thought is necessary. Definitely not easy.
That is what life is about. Figuring out how to work with others including our own kids to get the outcome we desire. Thanks for creating this blueprint on the subject of chores for kids. Great work indeed.