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It can be tricky as a parent to know when your child should begin to be aware of household chores and help out themselves. We often think of our children, understandable so, as helpless and in need of our assistance and it can be difficult to resist the parental instinct to do everything for them. The truth is kids can handle more than we think, and a lot of kids like the independence that comes with being able to complete a task themselves, even when the novelty of the task wears off and it becomes a chore.
Most importantly, teaching and requiring your children to help out around the house sets them up for success in their teens and early adulthood. A child who never has an opportunity to do their own laundry, or prepare their own lunch will be burdened with the task of learning these basic skills as an adult, or alternatively relying on someone else for help. As parents, we have a duty to set our children up for individual success; striking a balance between assistance and independence is important.
For some guidance and perhaps to ease any guilt you may be feeling giving your children tasks you may hate doing yourself, consult our guide below of manageable household chores based on your child’s age.
At this age, small, manageable chores are a way to develop healthy habits with your young one and set the stage for being an active participant in the household. Although you’ll still have to supervise, resist the urge to speed up the process by helping too much; the goal here is for your young one to learn a small amount of accountability.
As your child gets a bit older, simple chores they were already performing can begin to be done independently and they can take on a few more complicated tasks with supervision:
As your child starts to hit the higher grades, tasks they helped with before can be unsupervised, and their chores can extend to tasks that help the entire family, like loading the dishwasher, not just their individual asks.
Age 11 and Older
As your child hits pre-teen and up, they’ll be looking for more social independence, and correspondingly their workload should reflect their desire to be more grown up. You should be removing yourself from their personal tasks like doing their laundry, making their lunch etc. and at the same time give them more responsibility maintaining the household and helping the family. You may be getting more resistance at this age, but striking a balance between time with their friends and completing whats expected of them will begin to teach them valuable time management skills as they reach their teens and begin to juggle more schoolwork, social events and eventually a part-time job.
A great way to keep the household chores clear between siblings and other family members is to have a Chore Board that you can create as a family. Check out some of the fun options below that encourage kids to complete their tasks with fun and colorful ways to track chore completion. Cheekier parents may even attach a monetary value to each task, ranging from $1-$5 that kids can collect once their complete. Keep in mind chores worth money should be chores that benefit the entire family, like mowing the lawn or setting the table. It’s important for kids to learn that tasks like making their bed, cleaning their room and sorting their own laundry are personal tasks required of them to keep their own space clean and tidy.