Do Children Need Chores?
With kids home a lot more this year, it may seem like your children are working against you by creating one mess after another. It’s important for your children to learn to take responsibility and learn the tasks needed to make a home clean for your health, happiness, and sanity.
Our favorite cleaning activity: dance party! Music can make cleaning more fun for both kids and grown-ups! Another great tool is a “job jar” or chore chart. With a job jar, you can add all of the household chores to a container and kids can pick out the chores they’ll work on that day. A chore chart, where you’ve listed out what chores should be done each day, is a great way for children to see what they need to do and track their progress! Making a job jar or chore chart can be a fun activity to work on with children, or you can often find free chore chart templates online.
It’s also fine to give your child a reward for helping with household chores. For younger children, try to make the reward simple, like picking what’s for dinner or what show they’d like to watch before bed. You could also let them stay up a little later or have a fun treat. As children get older, you can also incorporate an allowance into their rewards when they complete their chores.
Chores can be adapted for children of all ages. Your 2-year-old can help dust off tables or wipe down counters with a towel. A toddler can push a broom around to help clean the floor. Laundry is another great chore for kids to help with by matching socks or sorting clothes. You can even make laundry time fun for older kids by setting a timer and having the children race and see who can fold the most laundry before the buzzer goes off!
When asking your child to clean a space, do not tell them something general like, “Go clean your room.” This can be a very overwhelming task, especially to a younger child. Be specific with the tasks you’d like completed, such as, “Please pick your toys up off of the floor,” or “Please put all of your clean clothes away.”
Below are some great chore ideas that are appropriate for specific age groups:
- 2-3 years old: Pick up toys, put trash in garbage can, put dirty laundry into the hamper, dust off bookshelves, help put silverware away, wipe down baseboards, put clothes into drawers, sort recycling.
- 4-6 years old: All of the above, plus help care for pets, set and/or clear the table for meals, match socks, help put groceries away, make their bed, empty trash, use a broom, get the newspaper.
- 7-11 years old: All of the above, plus help vacuum the carpet, wipe down windows and mirrors, assist with meal preparation, take out the trash, bring in the mail, organize toys, weed the garden.
- 12+: Help mow the yard, babysit siblings, wash windows, iron, do laundry, cook meals, mop floors, clean bathrooms, clean out the refrigerator.
Remember that your children will work at a different completion level with their cleaning. It won’t always look exactly how it would if you cleaned! Always praise them for helping and remember that the important part of everyone helping with chores is that they are all contributing.
Children helping with chores has a lot of benefits as they mature, such as feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment by being a part of helping the family. Doing chores can build a child’s self-esteem and can lay the foundation for a good work ethic. Families working together to complete a task can create meaningful relationships and respect for one another and the world that they are living in.