Today, many kids are overbooked with soccer, piano, karate, Spanish class, homework and more. They don’t have the time to perform the normal chores that were once expected of children. Back in the day, part of being a family was sharing the household jobs. Now, parents are left with picking up after their kids, making their beds and cleaning their rooms. I think we are robbing our kids from learning about not only responsibility and teamwork, but also how to function in the real world. That first year of college is hard enough, but add to that an 18 year old that has never done laundry or emptied a trash can? Yikes!
It’s true, when children are little, it is easier to just “do it yourself” than teach them how to pick up their toys or make their bed. However, you have to see the big picture. Slowly teaching a three year old how to put away his toys is much easier than trying to teach a hormonal, grumpy teenager how to suddenly clean his room. Additionally, with today’s environmentally conscience cleaning products, children are able to help even more (and kids love using a spray bottle).
Here are jobs that I have my children do (depending on their age):
- Unload the dishwasher or silverware
- Wash kitchen counter tops (I like them to use Mrs. Meyers products which are environmentally friendly and contain no harsh chemicals or smells).
- Sweep front porch (not a big deal if it’s not done perfectly)
- Wash bathroom sink and counter top
- Wash French door windows (large windows are a little tricky)
- Wash the dog
- Dust their own room
Often times parents don’t know what kind of chores to give their children. They are unsure what a kid is capable of doing. Chores need to be suitable to a child’s age. For example, when emptying a dishwasher, a four year old can help unload the silverware, while a seven year old can put all of the plates and bowls away, and a 12 year old can unload the glasses and cups. Kids aren’t going to do their chores perfectly, but if you show them how to do it and show them what a job should look like when it’s done correctly, eventually it will be worth your time and energy. Additionally, your child will grow up being more productive and responsible.