Face the facts folks, we did not have children for the enriching joy, wonder and awe they bring to our lives. We had children to make certain aspects of our lives easier. Who needs to load and or unload the dishwasher anymore when you have kids. Who needs to mow the lawn anymore. Trash and recycle, done, with kids. They are cheap, affordable laborers. Why not create chores for your kids that are age appropriate. Engage your children in engaging in the family responsibilities.
Children by nature desire order, a sense of belonging and responsibility. They desire rules and engagement. While they may seem unruly and incorrigible in regard to rules and engagement, children are merely testing the boundaries and edges of those rules, assessing the grey area. When I had the twins I found two additional little people who really wanted to help and be part of our family unit. Since they are a team of their own I also discovered how competitive they were to each others actions and activities.
In order to curb their restless, and sometimes competitive nature, I found a way to engage them to teach them responsibility. We created chore boards to help validate their feelings of belonging to the family structure by giving them responsibility to their own rooms, areas of the house and specified chores that support the family. Additionally, certain chores apply to each of my kids. Since we have a five year range between the oldest and the youngest we were able to spread out quite a bit of small and large responsibilities.
The chore boards were super simple to make. I bought three cookie sheets with a lip and smooth base, three cans of different colored spray paint, 1″ flat round wood discs, 1″ square magnets (or a roll of magnet tape one inch wide) and choice or stickers or stamps and adhesive. Ribbon, decorative rope or other decorative tie to create a hanger for the boards to dangle. Create a “DONE” section so that the kids can move their magnets to this section when their task is complete.
I had my kids pick out their own stickers and pictures that would represent their chores around the house. The process committed them and heightened their interest in helping the family.My kids also added their own personal touches, Jeep stickers, ballerina emblems and karate emblems. We also made chores to pass around, taking out the trash, recycling and taking out the compost.
Since making these my kids have added more personal touches. Personal stickers, knick knacks and more are how my kids have defined their crowning glory of making chores fun.
Here are some suggestions for chores for kids in various age ranges:
Toddlers are especially tricky but tons of fun for assigning chores. We found the most constructive tasks for our two-some happened to be loading our dishwasher. Giving them flatware to load into the basket and plastic dishware instilled a gratifying sense of accomplishment and when they completed, the reward of pressing the start button was comparable to winning the toddler lottery.
Other easy tasks that my short people love to do are feed the dog, put away groceries and set the table. Since we taught them at an early age they have continued to help out the family through habit. Another easy chore for these little tots is checking the mail; mine used to run to the mailbox just to see what was inside.
What a great age to help with chores. Now that my twins have crested into this age range they are tremendous help, especially with two of them. Continuing to load and unload the dishwasher but with more responsibility, they can actually handle glass dishes. Laundry is also a great chore as I have my kids sorting their laundry into the color bracket baskets we have setup in our washroom and they can take their clean laundry and put it away in their dressers. Taking out the trash and recycle have been made easier as well with two more helpers that are big enough to take on larger chores.
When my oldest hit the double digits I watched him really grow and mature with his desire to want more from life and more responsibility. One spring afternoon we experimented and had him give a go at mowing the lawn. From that day forward we never looked back. Cleaning the pool, taking the trash and recycle cans to the curb. Some other inside chores are vacuuming floors, dusting and mopping.
These are just a few ideas for chores for your kids, in addition to keeping their rooms clean and picking up their toys. Creating age appropriate chores for your kids helps to build responsibility, accountability, and helps the parental units around the house. Make the activity fun and not a drag. I found that getting my kids’ input on what chores they felt they should be doing around the house really made a difference in their cooperation. Are you struggling to get your kids to help? Maybe they are willing to help, what other chores do you assign to your kids in your household?