So here we have the decidedly unglamorous topic of chores for children. This is a fun subject for me mostly because I get tired of doing everything all the time.
It is actually a help to have the children more involved in chores. Plus we have the little ones on payroll for Chores so they can start to learn great lessons about money. So it is kind of a fun topic because the kiddos can earn money (if you choose) and Mom and Dad can cross a few things off the to do list each day.
To start with here are a few suggestions for chores by the age of your child. This is obviously not a list for every child but just intended to give you an idea of things that might work for your little ones.
You for sure want to keep the responsibility level appropriate for the child. For example, I used to have my 5 year old feeding the dog but if she ever forgets to do that or is late (which was all the time)… well that is not fair to our dog so we took that off her list.
I actually think now is a great time to start so that once back to school comes along you aren’t adding one more thing to an already crazy time.
- Pick up toys
- Put laundry in hamper
- Sort laundry (colors, white, towels etc…)
- Light dusting
- Put dishes in sink after meals
- Help pick up clutter (take this to Mommy’s room, take this to the kitchen etc.. etc..)
Age 5-6 (ones above plus)
- Make bed
- Empty Garbage
- Yardwork (light weeding, water plants etc..)
- Check mailbox
- Set table for dinner
- Clean bathroom mirrors and wipe counters
- Help put groceries away
- Feed pets
Age 7-8 (ones above plus)
- Sweep Floors
- Laundry (sort, wash, fold, put away)
- Help with meal preparations
- Pack lunches
- Walk pets
Age 9-10 (ones above plus)
- Load and unload dishwasher
- Yard Work (raking leaves, possibly mowing the grass, pulling weeds etc..)
- Clean Toilets (I am not a fan of having little ones clean toilets but totally up to you)
- Clean out the car (inside and outside)
Age 11+ (ones above plus)
- Mop Floors
- Clean Showers or Bathtubs
- Clean Kitchen (microwave, kitchen cabinets, wipe out fridge)
- Help with child care for younger siblings (with adult present)
So those are just ideas and of course with children you want to make certain you are using nontoxic cleaning products. If you add other items you might consider breaking them down into specific tasks. “Clean bathroom” might be confusing for a little one so breaking that down to “clean mirrors, wipe down counters, empty garbage etc…” is usually a better bet. (Check the bottom for tons of nontoxic DIY cleaner recipes).
And I thought I’d share our system for chores plus there are a bunch of cute little printables below to make your own chore charts.
My five year old has the following responsibilities:
- Empty Bathroom and Bedroom Garbage Cans
- Empty Laundry Hamper
- Make Bed and Pick up Bedroom
- Wipe down bathroom sinks and cabinet
- Set table for dinner
And then we have other tasks that she can do on a weekly basis. Those include helping with yardwork, cleaning bathroom mirrors, sorting laundry, vacuuming the floors (she sprinkles the carpet powder around and she walks all the rooms to make sure everything is up off the floor), wipe down kitchen cabinets and cleaning the cars.
She gets paid $.50 per day if all her chores are completed. If she does not want to do her chores or gets gripey about it, she doesn’t get paid. She is still responsible no matter what for keeping her room clean because that is simply part of being in the family. If she doesn’t keep her room picked up, I take the things away that are the issue (toys, books, jewelry etc..)
We used to pay her daily and that got to be a pain so now we pay once a week. She needs to finish all her chores and get the day checked off by Mommy or Daddy. At the end of the week she brings her chore chart to us and we pay $.50 for every signed off day. I think this is a good way to help children understand what a real job might be like.
When we first started with chores she would spend her money as fast as she earned it. She would just bring it wherever we went and think she could buy candy or treats without asking permission and it became an issue.
So now we have three jars- I made these myself for less then $5.00. I bought 3 jars from the craft store, spray painted the lids with gold paint and used my Silhouette to cut out words. I bought a cheap $3.00 tray from the Target Dollar Spot and also spray painted that gold.
The jars say “Spend, Save, Give” and she does divide her money up. She has money she can spend on whatever she likes (60%) and then we ask that she save 30% and she gives 10%. (We sponsor children from Compassion International so that is where the give money goes.)
If you don’t want to do allowances, you might consider rewards for finishing things up. Perhaps a movie night is a reward or a special meal or activity or an ice cream outing etc… And there is certainly no reason you have to pay children for helping out. I have explained a million times to my girls that they are a part of a family and that means they need to help out. After all no one pays me for all the things I do for them .
And last but not least here are a bunch of methods for organizing chores for little ones. The tricky part is toddlers that are not yet reading. For them you might consider pictures of tasks or take actual photos yourself of the various jobs (for example a table set for dinner so they remember what it should look like).
And there are zillions more if you check Pinterest or Google Printable Chore Charts.
So there you have it! Obviously the main goal of childhood is to have fun and enjoy life but I don’t think it hurts at all to start teaching a little responsibility now. This is a very small part of an otherwise jam-packed day of fun and laughter.
And PS: Here are a bunch of recipes to make your own cleaning products with just vinegar baking soda and dish soap:
This post is part of the 30 Days to a Funner Summer Series.