Dusting the dining room table. Washing the windows. Feeding the cat.
Just what chores can your child be trusted to handle? And at what age?
Household chores are important for children to learn, both for their development as individuals and for contributions to the family and home.
But there are appropriate ages for various chores. Although you wouldn’t want your 3-year-old to be in charge of taking care of the family dog, you might want him or her to help you make the bed, and you definitely would want little Aiden or Ava to pick up their toys and put them in a safe area.
Our friends at thespruce.com have published a list of age-appropriate chores; here are some highlights for all parents and caregivers to consider, keeping in mind that all children develop differently:
Ages 2-3: Toddlers love to help with chores. With that in mind, they could: take laundry to the laundry room; dust with socks on their hands; mop in some areas (with help).
Ages 4-5: Preschool-aged kids still are fairly motivated to help around the house. They also love individual time with adults. They also love rewards, which don't have to be huge (think stickers!). Thus, they could: clear and set the table; dust; carry and put away groceries; and help with the cooking and food preparation.
Ages 6-8: Although enthusiasm for chores might diminish for school-aged kids, they have other redeeming qualities that work well for chores. Most school-aged children have an overwhelming desire to be independent. Parents can guide children to become self-sufficient in their chores by using chore charts to keep track of their responsibilities. Noting completed tasks will help motivate children to continue working. Chore suggestions for this age group include vacuuming and mopping; taking out the trash; folding and putting away laundry.
Ages 9-12: Kids at this age will appreciate a set schedule and expectations; they don’t like unexpected work. If you create a schedule or system with a little input from them, you should have a smooth transition. Among the possibilities for them: help wash the car; learn to wash dishes; clean the bathroom; rake leaves; operate the washer and dryer.
Beyond age 12, the spruce.com makes several suggestions, including washing windows and cleaning out the refrigerator. Remember that these chores are intended not to punish your children or force them into being your personal assistant, but to help them develop as people.
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