Household Jobs Kids Can Do

Children need structure, they need guidance, and they need to have some responsibilities. Often, they will fight these things tooth and nail, but without them, they fall apart. One way to provide these for your children is with household chores. Sure, they might whine about them, but deep down, in a place they won’t find until they are older, they want and need this type of structure. It is sort of like vegetables, but for the mind, they just don’t realize how important they are for growth and development.

As the parent, it is important for us to know and decide which household chores kids can do, and which kid can do which chore. First, of course, you must consider the skill level of the child. It would not be a good idea to have the 5 year old mowing the lawn, or the 16 year old wiping the table. The chore must be something that will slightly challenge the child, something that will give them a sense of accomplishment when they have finished it. It is also a good idea to change the chores around from time to time, giving them a chance to learn something new, expand upon their knowledge and also to keep them from getting bored and sloppy.
Younger children can wipe or set the table. This can be something that sets up the idea of the family eating together. While older children are helping to get the meal prepared, the younger one can feel part of it all by setting the table. After dinner, the older children can start the dishes or put away the condiments and leftovers, and the younger one wipes the table clean. Younger children can also be responsible for picking up and putting away their own toys, putting their laundry away and picking up yard toys outside.

As children get older, so should their chores. They want to be able to do more, go farther, stay up later; they should have more responsibility to go with their new freedoms. They can help at meal time by getting the drinks, making sure any proper condiments are on the table, perhaps even making the salad or vegetable. They are old enough now to handle folding the laundry, sweeping the kitchen or any tiled floor, washing dishes or loading the dishwasher, dusting, raking, a bit of snow shoveling, taking out the garbage, feeding the pets, and picking up yard debris or helping to move stuff outside like wood, stones or gravel. From the ages of 10, to about 14, there should be a steady increase of job responsibility and difficulty. Don’t just dump everything on them, and be sure to change the chores from time to time, even rotating them, to keep things fresh.

Once the child hits about 14, you want to let them start handling more “grown up” things little by little. This doesn’t mean that you let them run your household, or expect them to take care of everything, but they should have chores that they do regularly, on top of any homework. Perhaps their chores change daily, or some daily and some weekly. They can now help, and eventually, prepare the main course of the meal, scrub the kitchen, babysit younger siblings, supervise younger siblings while doing chores, do the laundry, though you may want to do any separating of loads yourself until they can learn that one, go to the store for a few needed supplies, vacuum, mow the lawn, and help with anything you might be doing.

Being part of any group requires that you perform certain duties for the group to function properly. Being part of a family means that everyone chips in and does their part. By giving your children chores, you are not punishing them or trying to get out of the work yourself, you are helping them to become active, responsible adults. Don’t just give them a list of things to do and then go watch TV all afternoon, get out there and do the things that you need to do done. If all your chores have been taken care of, help them with theirs. Show them how it doesn’t have to be all work, make it fun. Make chore time also family time. Your family will benefit in more ways than just having a clean house.