My husband and I are always discussing what our girls should and should not be doing at each stage of their life as far as chores are concerned.
When I was growing up, my brother and sisters and I had very few, if any chores. My parents wanted us to focus on school and enjoy being kids. I remember helping with the lawn, trash and dishes and of course, we always had to clean up after ourselves, but nothing major, especially during the school year.
My best friend, on the other hand, had to pick one day of the weekend and spend it cleaning. Her list was always twenty tasks long. She did everything, from bathrooms to wiping doorknobs to windows. It was exhausting!
The little ones are two now and we all encourage them to do the same, as well as help putting toys away and trash in the trash can.
It can be daunting trying to figure out what tasks to give which kid or if they can handle chores at all. I know many say kids should start pitching in as toddlers and I agree to an extent.
L can go and go, but H is exhausted by 6:30pm. By the time she gets home from school and sports, homework is complete, she has had dinner and then showered, she is done! There is no room for her and chores during the school week.
We decided that on the weekends, they will help in all aspects of the household work and during the week, they can focus on school and sports (with the exception of laundry). They must always put their dirty clothes in the hamper and when I’m ready to fill up their baskets with clean clothes, they must bring it to me empty. If clean clothes are left in there from last time, they better hurry and put them away!
On the weekends, along with the laundry and making their beds, H does the dishes and L empties the trashcans. They help with the dog and whatever major projects we have on board.
My life is full of lists. I’ve found that making my girl’s lists not only helped them to read, but taught them to be accountable and it makes my life easier!
I have a wet/dry board that has their daily to-do lists in order to get ready for school, and after school they have what we call their six things listed on the other side, which is a chalkboard. I also list anything we have going on for the day.
We have been using this system since they started kindergarten and it makes life so much easier. Our mornings are pretty seamless and the afternoons start off on a good note, too. I believe this can be counted as chores, after all, the dictionary claims a chores is simply “a routine task”. Their morning board consists of several things including:
- Brush/style hair
- Brush teeth
In school they have “A” day and ”B” day, which means they either have gym or not. They each picked a letter and when it’s their letter day, they are the first to get in and out of the car so we avoid that fight.
At the very bottom of the board, I usually write a word that the girls have to figure out. For some reason this is very exciting for them!
The afternoon list of their six things is as follows:
- Wash hands
- Backpack on chair
- Folders placed on the table for me to review
- Lunchbox, water bottle and snack pack on counter
- Shoes away
- Jacket hung up
If you are still uncertain, here is a guide that the experts agree is suitable for each age My siblings and I had limited chores and yet we all turned out to be responsible adults. It’s not worth the fight to get your child to empty the dishwasher if they just aren’t ready. Personally, I’d rather focus on manners and school but that’s a story for another time.