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Thursday, July 1, 2010


The Importance of Getting Kids Involved in Household Chores

One of my goals this summer is to teach Little Man to help with chores. He is 6 and will be 7 in April. I would love for him to learn he needs to puts his folded clothes away and make his own bed. This is one of our goals!

Start them young, it's said. When it comes to household chores, some of us don't get our kids involved early enough. In fact, some don't get them involved at all. When these kids head out on their own, they find themselves sadly lacking in certain skills and are often calling home with questions about laundry, cooking and budgeting a household - if not actually bringing their laundry bags home, stopping in often to eat or borrowing money.

If you want your children to become competent, responsible, independent adults, it starts while they are still under your care at home. Teach them good habits early on and you will sow the seeds of their future.

Working together are a family, keeping household chores done up and sharing the work, also shows them everyone has an important role to play in a family unit. Handing out chores fairly, without gender-based biases can teach them a lot about attitudes toward others as well.

As with most life lessons, the key to success is to get them started early when they still want to be mommy's helper. Then keep them excited about the idea of helping by making it fun so that chores don't have to be a chore.

Age Appropriate Chores
Ages 2-3 -- At this age kids love to do whatever you are doing and will work along side you if you give them a task.They can dust with a sock on their hand, help sort dirty laundry by colors or clean laundry by owner, pick up toys and books and even help with wiping (without using chemicals, of course). Make it fun by making up silly songs about what you are doing, hiding treats or stickers to find while dusting. If you have more than one helper, make it a race to see who can do their task the fastest.

Ages 4-6 -- Kids at this age like being given responsibility because it makes them feel grown up. Keep them interested by keeping this in mind. Establish some routine responsibilities, such as daily and/or weekly chores.These chores could include setting or clearing the table or wiping down the bathroom counter. Perhaps you can even give them their own special "cleaning kits" so they feel like their work is very important to the household. To reward them as they go, start a simple version of chore chart which they can add a sticker to every time they do a task they've been asked to do. When it's full, give them a fun reward, or perhaps "graduate" them up to a task with even more responsibility.

Ages 7-10 -- Eventually all kids reach a point where they are no longer interested in doing chores. Starting or expanding on your chore chart can help overcome this because it is a visual reminder of what needs to be done. It's also a built-in reward system for this age group that is often too young for an allowance. Be sure to include them in the creation of the chore chart and dividing up of the responsibilities. Once they complete their chore chart, they will have earned a special reward (such as choosing the family night movie, picking their favorite meal for dinner or even getting a day off from chores). Kids of this age need increasingly more difficult tasks. Put them in charge of caring for a pet, folding and putting away laundry and vacuuming and mopping.

By this time, they will have included the idea of doing chores around the house into their everyday routine. As they move into teenage years, they may grumble, or not, but skills they will need to build on as adults are in place. And you will have set an example for them when they have a household and children of their own.
About the Author:
Jennifer Kirkpatrick is a mother of two, serial entrepreneur and blogger. Check out Jennifer's personalized children's clothing line Define*Me Clothing or her baby gifts boutique Pipsqueak Boutique for great kids items. When she's not busy filling orders, Jennifer blogs about the crazy journey that is parenthood at Parents Only Zone.


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