It Takes a Village – Chores Kids Can Help With
I am no parenting expert, but I am a firm believer that it takes a village for our world to go round.
We need other adults in our community to help us raise our children, agree?
We also have a village within the home… It takes a village to help the housework stay in order. My village within my house is obviously JT and I, but it also includes our three kids. I know that our kids are responsible and important enough to allow them the privilege to help keep our house moving. Although, they might feel a bit differently about what a privilege it is – like chores (ha!) – but, one day, they will know and believe in the importance of a house village.
Let me start out by saying….
JT and I started our kids early in knowing that every family member plays a part in keeping our house running. If your children have been guests in your home that you wait on hand and foot for a while now, know it’s not too late to start sharing the responsibilities.
Let me warn you, though, baby steps are important.
You can’t all of the sudden expect your child to unload and reload the dishwasher. You can ask him/her to help clean up the table after dinner by having them put on the silverware in the dishwasher. Then, after awhile, move toward them putting the silverware and the plates in the dishwasher. And, then after awhile, move toward them putting all items on the table in the dishwasher after dinner.
I think 20-30 minutes of chores a day is a great timeframe. During school breaks, this time may increase since there will be more “messes” made since your family will be home more frequently BUT it’s important to make sure your kids are still kids, too, of course!
So, let’s dive into the chores list…
Something I believe children of just about every age are capable of is…
….making his/her bed!
You can make this chore fun by having fun sheets of their favorite characters and/or animals. Even if their bed isn’t perfectly made, this is an early chore that we liked starting in our house.
Another chore that kids of all ages are capable of are picking up their toys. If they have the ability to take toys out of their toy box, they have the ability to put them back too. Start getting your child in the habit of picking up their toys before getting another toy out to play with. This not only keeps cleanup easier, but helps keep your house from looking like your house is the local toy store.
If you’re like me and like every toy having a designated spot to live make cleaning up toys easier on your kids by having specific buckets or drawers for each of their toys. For example, if your child loves dinosaurs then have a bucket with a picture of a dinosaur on it so they know when picking up that all dinosaurs go in the dinosaur bucket.
Of course, as your children get older, you wont have to use pictures for cleanup reference but this is great for the younger kiddos. Plus, it’s tricking them into learning how to match items based on pictures. It’s a parenting win-win.
One of my favorite trick them into learning chores is…
…having my kids help me make the grocery list.
When I sit down to meal plan for the week, I have my notepad and James has his. We will write out the items needed on our lists. This helps James hone in on his writing skills while learning how to spell common grocery words like apple, banana, meat, juice, etc.
When we go grocery shopping, my kids will help me check the items off the list. (If your child is learning higher addition, this is a great time to add a trick them into learning opportunity by having them help you calculate costs. You can also use grocery shopping as a time to learn how to budget what items you really need vs. when you have enough to splurge on something extra like cookies!)
And, of course, my kids help me put the items up when we get home from our shopping excursion.
Here’s a list of other chores that I have Kaiser, Mary Catherine, and James assist me and JT with…
- Set the table
- Clean-up spills
- Put dirty clothes in laundry basket
- Sort and put away clothes
- Feed the animals
- Water plants
- Fold laundry (towels are a great place to start for younger kiddos)
- Clean the glass on the windows and doors
- Clean the fridge (check expiration dates)
- Wipe down kitchen counters
- Mop the floors
- Fill soap dispensers
- Pick up leaves
- Take out the trash
- Pack lunches for school
- Bag leaves from outside
- Clean the sinks
- Clean out the car
- Wash the car
- Help with yard work
Just let me know if you have ?s about any of these and I am happy to share how we implement them in our home!
Here’s what Chores Do for Your Kids
The benefits of chores (minus having someone help you clean up) are two-fold.
Chores help your child learn about responsibility and build their work ethic. Plus, chores set them up to be a great team player. Their future roommates and spouses will thank you!
Consequences for Not Doing Chores
Learning that our actions (or no actions) have consequences at a young age is important. Some actions have good consequences and some have bad.
When it comes to your child not pulling their weight and skipping out on their chores, I do think their should be a bad consequence that’s fitting for their age.
For example, James didn’t like putting his clean clothes up so instead he’d mix them up with his dirty laundry. His consequence was that he had to start folding ALL of his laundry. You can only imagine the conversation that happened after he asked why he had to fold more laundry than his sisters.
Your children may deny and argue all day long; but chores are SO GOOD for them.
There have actually been studies that have proven children who had regular chores, ended up being more successful adults.
Plus, your giving your kids additional purpose within your house.
I’m a firm believer that my job as a parent is to set my children up for the best possible success they can have – this includes a strong work ethic without grumbling.
Your kids are key players in making the house run. Remember it takes a village!
Tell me… What chores do your kiddos help with around your house?