Most kids find chores boring and many of them like to think of them as some form of punishment for misbehaving. However, what many parents might forget to reiterate is that household chores serve as a way for kids to develop essential life skills such as cooking, while also learning how to be independent.
Another thing some parents forget to keep in mind is that not all household chores for kids are age-appropriate. For example, a 4-year old can be in charge of taking clothes to the laundry basket but expecting her to operate the washing machine will be inappropriate for her age. In this article, we’ll share 10 household chores for kids that are age-appropriate and how you can make them fun for your kids.
Why Kids Need to Have Chores
It can be very easy to put off assigning your kids chores, especially when you think they’re still “too young” for a bit of manual labour. On the other hand, you might only assign chores as a way of punishing them for doing (or not doing) something. Well, if you belong to any of these categories, then you need to know the importance of household chores for kids and why your kids need to have them as part of their daily routine — and not as a form of punishment.
- Household chores teach kids life skills
Kids won’t always be kids; eventually, they’ll grow up and move out. Doing chores at home will enable kids to learn some basic life skills such as cooking, organizing, budgeting and coordination etc., that will definitely make adulthood a lot easier for them.
- Household chores help kids develop strong work ethics
Sticking to a chore schedule, completing chores in time or finding better ways to complete an assigned chore; these are all attributes that can help kids develop a strong work ethic that is highly desirable in the corporate world.
- Household chores promote self-reliance for kids
It might seem basic at first, but learning to do laundry, clean up the dishes or simply making the bed after waking up, grooms kids to be self-reliant and independent.
- Household chores create room for family time
It may seem a bit unusual to suggest that chores can help you bond as a family. However, if you trade all the time you spend doing chores alone with splitting the chores among everyone in the family, you’ll see that the chores will get completed quicker, while your family can spend more time together.
10 Age-appropriate Household Chores for Kids
Household chores for kids in Preschool
The most appropriate chores for preschoolers involve simply picking up after themselves. For example, making their bed in the morning or taking off their clothes and putting them in the laundry basket. If you need more ideas, here are a few household chores for kids in preschool:
- Clearing up their room: Most kids this age would enjoy playing with toys, and oftentimes, their rooms could be littered with all sorts of toys and things. Assigning your preschooler to pick up litter in his or her room at a suitable time during the day is a good chore to start with.
- Making their bed: Of course, a 3-year old won’t be able to make his or her bed perfectly, but with your guidance, you can start showing how to smoothen the sheets, arrange the pillows or tuck in the sides.
- Sorting clean laundry: It might sound simple to you, but for a preschooler, matching socks and sorting clean laundry into appropriate drawers can be quite a chore, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t equal to the task.
Household chores for kids in Elementary School
When your kids have advanced to elementary school, gradually add more chores to their list, but ensure you keep them simple. Also, be on stand-by to supervise or lend a helping hand whenever needed.
- Emptying the trash: At this age, kids are a bit more ready for some more hands-on tasks. Create a schedule for what day of the week the trash should be taken out, and show your child how to do it the right way.
- Washing the dishes: Every parent will always preach that cleanliness is next to godliness, and one of the basic aspects of cleanliness is being able to clear the table and wash up dishes immediately after meals. Make this a habit for your kids, and you’ll be doing yourself a favour.
- Sorting grocery and meal preparation: Being able to figure out what tins and boxes go into what shelves and what ingredients are used to make what meal, are the basic things kids need to know, to prepare them for cooking lessons. By sorting grocery and helping with meal preparation, you’ll be building your child’s interest in the very essential skill of cooking.
Household chores for kids in Secondary School
Once your kids are in secondary school, you need to start preparing them for independence in the real world. The chores might get a bit tougher, but so will your kids.
- Cleaning out the refrigerator: This is another lesson in cleanliness and household hygiene. As you know, sometimes food or drinks can spill in the refrigerator or even microwave. By assigning this as a chore, your kids will be more conscious about how they use both appliances to ensure they don’t get dirty often.
- Planning and cooking meals: You’ve shown them how to prepare meals when they were much younger; now it’s their turn to take charge of cooking family dinner or lunch, as well as setting the table. Make sure you guide them where necessary until they become very conversant with all aspects
- Washing the car: Most parents leave this task for the boys to handle, but it’s very important to ensure that all chores assigned are gender-neutral. That way, your kids don’t feel like certain things are meant or not meant for their gender to perform. Don’t overwhelm your child with washing all the cars you own, sticking to one is acceptable.
- Taking care of a younger child: This could be a younger sibling, cousin or neighbour. Taking care of someone younger is a great way to make your child more empathetic and responsible. You can simply assign him or her to help the younger child with homework or any other necessary task.
How to Make Chores Fun for Kids
- Offer a reward
Kids love rewards, so best believe that if you’re going to make them do something they wouldn’t voluntarily choose to, then you should have something interesting to offer them. It doesn’t have to be money. Extra TV/game time or giving into a pending request are both good rewards.
- Create a ritual around chore time
Hiding little presents such as chocolates or biscuits around the chore area can be a good way to build anticipation for your kids. When they know that chore time doubles as a scavenger hunt for edible gifts, they’ll be a lot more excited when the time comes.
- Do chores together
If you make your child realize that he or she isn’t alone in doing the chores, that will be a huge compensation. Make it obvious that mummy and daddy are also busy with their chores. Feel free to make silly jokes and goofy faces while at it, especially for preschool kids.
- Turn up the music
Spending a whole Saturday cleaning? Then you’ll need some good music to bring some much-needed energy. While your kid’s sing along and dance to the tunes, they’ll easily forget that they’re also hard at work.
- Make it a competition
Who doesn’t want to win the prize for the most hardworking son or daughter? Kids love prizes, so you might as well create an award for this. You can go as far as giving monthly cardboard trophies or putting up a decorated picture of star-worker of the week on the fridge or bulletin board.
If you can get your kids excited about chores, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone; they’ll get all the benefits and skills they need to succeed in life and your house will be sparkling clean.