There will always be chores in a household, and they all need to be done. Some parents take it upon themselves to do them all. Then there are parents who get their kids to help with the chores.
Both are legitimate options, but if scientific studies are to be believed, making children do chores around the house is doing them a huge favor.
For one, chores can teach them skills that will be quite useful when they enter adulthood. For another, doing chores helps kids develop a sense of responsibility and a strong work ethic. Housework with the entire family helps them learn about the importance of teamwork as well.
According to a decades-long study by researchers from the University of Minnesota, doing chores from three years of age onwards is a top predictor of the success of children when they enter their mid-20s. Their chances of graduating from college, embarking on the right career and having good relationships become so much better if they had been following a chore chart for kids.
If we want our kids to have a better chance of having any of that when they grow up, then assigning them chores would be a great way to go about it.
Assigning age-appropriate tasks
Of course, you have to be circumspect when assigning chores to your kids. Their age should always be a primary consideration. While different kids have different abilities and aptitudes, there are chores that are just within the general capacity of children at a certain age.
For kids 2 to 3 years old:
Start dressing themselves
Pick up their toys
Put their laundry in the hamper
Help make their bed
For 4 to 5-year-old kids:
Feeding pets, giving them water
Setting and clearing the table
Straightening throw pillows
Clean their room
Children 6-8-years can:
Sweep the floor
Water the plants
Get the mail
Wipe bathroom and kitchen sink
Fold fresh laundry
Answer the phone
For 9-12-year-old preteens:
Load and unload the dishwasher
Take out the garbage for pick-up
Rake the yard
Clean their bedroom by themselves
Make easy-to-prepare meals
Walk the dog
Clean the bathroom and kitchen
Change bed sheets
For teenagers 13 and up:
Prepare full meals
Do the laundry
Change light bulbs
Mow the lawn
Wash the car
Keep in mind that the list above is just a guide to what chores are possible at what ages. Whether your child should do more or less is entirely up to you and what your child is willing to do.
Instead of a chore chart, you could try this one simple thing.
Go easy on your kids
Getting them to do chores is alright, but don’t be dictatorial about it. We know that some children just don’t want to have anything to do with chores, but you have to make them understand how essential chores are not only for themselves but for the entire family. Explain to them that they need to contribute to the household, and chores are the best way for them to do so. So whether it’s a thirteen-year-old, learning how to use a cordless hedge trimmer or a ten-year-old setting an ant trap you should admire and acknowledge their work in order to motivate them.
You should also refrain from expecting your children to perform their tasks perfectly. You should give them more room for error, and always show them how it’s done in the most patient manner possible. And when they finally get the hang of their tasks, let them know they’re doing a good job. Praise is one of the best forms of positive reinforcement, so don’t be stingy about giving it.
Allowance for chores
Some parents may feel a bit uncomfortable about giving their kids an allowance for doing chores, but it’s one effective way of motivating them not only to perform their tasks but also to do them well. Besides, an allowance is also a chance for you to teach them what they need to know about money management. Since schools don’t exactly teach your children how to manage money, you should pick up that slack and help them develop the skills that will make them already financially responsible at such an early age.
Chores teach your kids a lot of things that will benefit them as they grow older, so don’t hesitate to encourage your kids to help around the house. With the life skills they’re bound to develop by doing chores, you can rest easy knowing they will be just fine when they finally leave the nest.