You would think asking my children to take care of the potty papers for the dogs, hanging up their clothes or taking out the trash would be a world crisis. I had my usual lecture, as he calls it, with my 9-year-old today about chores and responsibilities even though my kids have had chores and responsibilities ever since they were two years old and could scrape their plate in the trash.
The conversation pretty much goes the same every single time with the eye rolling, the grunts, the multiple questions but it all ends the same also by my usual lecture and the kids getting it done with no further questions asked. I tell my kids that doing their chores now develops not only the work ethic they will need later but also the pride they will take in their homes for knowing how to do everything and the pride in themselves for being independent, builds character. I have found that research indicates that children with chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.
There are a lot of proven health benefits to doing chores/tasks at home. These include: washing dishes with T.L.C reduces anxiety, cleaning with a lemon cleaner (we do in our house) is a mood booster, making your bed every morning boosts productivity, cleaning up your yard and doing housework reduces chances of first time heart attacks, getting organized and reducing clutter reduces weight gain/obesity, improves emotional and physiological wellness.
Some may look at me crazy when I started giving little tasks to my two-year old because by golly he’s only two; however, it’s never too young to start teaching discipline and responsibility. In fact the younger the better because they are little sponges. Although, I don’t deprive my children from being kids I have a higher expectation of them. They all are aware of this down to my three-year old daughter but she helps out more around the house and does what she is told without asking. I believe this all boils down to our expectations and pushing her to do things on her own.
So how do you fairly divide chores up between your children depending on their age. First of all take baby steps with your children. My kids started out with simple chores and my husband and I have gradually added more. We give them sufficient time to get their chores done, along with school work and still able to have some play time. I will have you know that we don’t pay our kids to do what is expected of them but if they do something that is up and beyond what we ask then we think about giving them compensation.
10 Major Chores We Expect From Our Children
1. All my children have to pick up the living room before bed every night. This is a simple task even for as little as a two-year old with direction.
2. My boys have to clean their room once a week and help clean their sisters with her. I use to go in my boy’s room when they were as little as 2/3 and help them clean up as I directed them. You can make it fun for your younger children.
3. My boys, 6 & 9, have to clean their bathroom once a week.
4. My boys have to hang up their clothes. It’s their responsibility to take the initiative to do it when I first give them the clothes. Sometimes they get backed up on hanging them up and they start to complain about it being too much to hang up at once. My response to that is simple and usually shuts down any objection, “If you chose to hang them up when I gave them to you it would not pile up and then you wouldn’t feel overwhelmed right now to do them.” They’ve got better at hanging them up as soon as I give them to them and my 3-year-old has even started trying to hang hers up because she sees them do it all the time. Leading by example.
All my kids do take their clothes after they come out of the dryer to their rooms.
5. My boys alternate taking out the trash.
6. My boys alternate cleaning up potty papers on the weekend since there’s no school. We have small dogs that can’t go outside all the time so we have a potty station. The boys have to collect the paper and put down new ones for the dogs.
7. My daughter and youngest son take turns helping me set the table for dinner.
8. My daughter helps me with wiping counters most of the time and she picks up her dirty clothes to put in the hamper. I am starting to teach my oldest boys how to do laundry. Vacuuming their room after they clean it will be becoming a regular chore.
9. My husband and I have made it an expectation to fold their blankets by using teamwork but now they will fully make their beds before school.
10. When asked my children unload the dishwasher and after each meal if the dishwasher is dirty they are expected to put their dishes in it.
See I had started out small and gradually added more. I will continue adding more because chores are a need to be and this list is not nearly close to what I did as a child. These are all the major things they do every week but of course there’s always yard work among the little things we ask of them.
I took this image off online to give you further idea of a chore chart to start incorporating in your home. Children are very smart and if stuff is done for them then they will act like they don’t know how to do it so you will continue to do it for them. I know my youngest son did for the longest time but not anymore and he has become more independent than I ever thought he would be. If they honestly don’t know how to do it then we continually teach them until they do.
Do you believe in chores? Do you believe in paying your children to do chores? Shoot me your thoughts through my email or comment below.