Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kids and Chores

kids chores sweeping age appropriate broom kid child
Sis sweeping the floor
A couple weeks ago a friend asked me what kinds of chores my kids do.  Even though I'm really quite horrible at housekeeping, I have always made it a point to teach my kids how to do things around the house and work with them on developing good habits.  Honestly, they are much better at it than I am!

As a kid I never really cleaned much.  I think it was just easier for my mom (whom I get my perfectionist tendencies from) to just do it herself rather than try to teach me.  It all came naturally to her and I don't think she ever really understood (still to this day) why it isn't that way for me.

So, I've had to teach myself how to clean.  And, since it really doesn't come naturally for me, cleaning lessons have been hard lessons over the years.  I knew I didn't want my kids to have the same struggles over housework that I have.  I honestly believe it is just as important for me to teach my kids how to care for a house as it is for me to teach them math!  So, I started early with teaching them to do some small chores.

One of the first habits we worked on was emptying the dishwasher every morning.  In the beginning, when they were about four-years-old, I helped them.  They would hand me dishes and I would put them away.  Eventually, I had them do it while I watched and gave them a hand as needed.  One of them would stand on a step-stool to put away items in the upper cabinets and the other would hand the child on the stool the dishes.  When I was confident that they knew what they were doing, I stopped hovering and let them do their work, but I was still close by if they needed help.  They were only five when we reached this point.  But, they did the work well and followed my directions.  By giving them this responsibility early it become natural for them.

kids chores dishes dishwasher age appropriate kid child
Putting away the dishes was my kids' first daily chore

Now, I rarely have to remind them to put away the dishes.  They know that first thing in the morning they have to be done.  This just recently stopped being a joint task and they started taking turns.  This is great because it frees up one child for another morning chore before school starts.  Today, Bub put the dishes away while Sis took out the recycling.  It always takes Bub about twice the time it takes Sis, but they do get done!

kids chores dishes dishwasher age appropriate kid child
Bub putting away the dishes

I'm working to develop other habits with them, as well.  As a rule, I tend to give them jobs that might seem too hard for them from an observers perspective.  But, I don't expect them to do it perfectly!  I lend a hand and help them do their best.  My goal is for them to learn, not just for things to be clean!  So, by the time they reach the age where they can do it on their own, they are confident in their skills and are able to do a good job.

So, what types of chores do my kids do?  Below is a list of their various chores and how often they get done (or should get done).

Chore List for My Kids (age 7)

Daily Chores
  • Make their beds (Doesn't have to be perfect!  Just pull up the blankets and make sure toys aren't falling off.)
  • Pick up toys
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Make sure drawers are neat (for us this means closed with no clothing sticking out - I don't really care how well things are folded right now)
  • Unload dishwasher and put dishes away
  • Load dirty dishes into dishwasher after meals
  • Wipe off table and counters
  • Sweep floors (They have to sweep under the table every day because they are messy!  But, the rest of the floor is just "as needed" right now)
Every Couple of Days
  • Take out recycling
  • Take garbage out (if it isn't too heavy - they can easily take the bathroom garbage out, but not the kitchen)
Weekly Chores
  • Take garbage cans to curb (unless they are too heavy)
  • Bring empty garbage cans back from curb
  • Take dirty clothes to the washing machine (we have a laundry chute they dump it down)
  • Sort dirty clothes
  • Help with a load of laundry (I'm working on teaching my kids how)
  • Fold/hang and put away clean clothes (on laundry day)
As Needed (or when I think of it)
  • Mop floors with Swiffer-type wet mop (a bucket would probably just make more of a mess!)
  • Dust (Doesn't have to be perfect!)
  • Wipe off bathroom sink and counter with pre-moistened wipes
  • Wipe down outside of toilet
  • Scrub inside of toilet (I put the cleaner in for them)

What chores do your kids do?  Are you doing anything special to teach them how to care for a home?

I'm linking up over at Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family and Loving our Kids Tuesdays at Teaching What is Good.


  1. WONDERFUL!! I've known many moms over the years who don't teach their children chores simply because it is easier and faster to do it themselves. Well, at first that is true. But in the long run, it is SO MUCH BETTER to have them learn!

    1. Thanks, Kate! I know first-hand how hard that makes things for the kids when they are adults!

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    Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.