Some mothers really did not grow up with chores, and are working to develop their own sense of practical work and de-mechanizing their homes so there is actually something else to do besides push the button on the dishwasher, push the button on the vacuum cleaner, etc. A general reminder for children up to seven years of age is to think about what YOUR rhythm for the nurturing and care of your home is and how you can involve your children in your tasks. Think how you could do some things differently and do them by hand if you do not do that already. Could you wash dishes by hand? Hang clothes out to dry? What part can the children do?
Here is a list of different chores for different ages, perhaps this will provide a starting point for those of you thinking about this topic:
Up to Age Three: turn off lights whilst being carried, carry in newspaper, an older toddler could get own snack from low pantry shelf if you are comfortable with small child in the pantry, wipe tables and counters with damp sponge, wash vegetables or tear lettuce, help provide water and food for pets, help clean up after play and meals, water plants outside, pick up toys and books, throw things out for you, help clean up spills and messes, help with dusting or sweeping, help setting table…Again, you are doing these things and they can help. Think about your tasks and how your child can help you, and what would hinder you and not be helpful.
Ages Four to Six: all of the above, help fold laundry items and put them away, help find items at the grocery store if you bring your children shopping with you, give you a hand or foot massage, help measure ingredients for cooking and help you pour and stir, water plants, help you sort clothes for washing, hang things on a clothesline, help with sweeping and dusting, help plant a garden, put dishes in the dishwasher or help wash or dry dishes by hand, empty dishwasher and stack on counter or do just the silverware tray with no sharp knives if using a dishwasher and not washing by hand, rake leaves, help take care of pets, help wash car, help younger siblings, carry groceries, set table, clear table after eating
Ages Seven to Ten: all of the above, get up in the morning on their own, wash dishes, cook light meals or pack snacks, help read recipes, run washer and dryer or hang things out to dry, change sheets, address and stuff envelopes, read to younger siblings if reading, help younger siblings, clean bathroom,
Ages Eleven to Fifteen: perhaps in the older ages babysit younger siblings, cook meals, buy groceries from a list, make appointments, mow lawn, help in a parent’s business
Ages Sixteen to Eighteen: run errands for family, balance family check book or their own checkbook, handle their own checking account, help with family budget, maintain car, take care of house and yard, help younger siblings,
All children go at their own pace, most can start to work toward doing a task independently after you work with them around the age of nine.
Add your own suggestions in the comment box below!
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Great post. I was looking for something similiar to this for my daughter who is 5.
How do i get my 4 year old to participate?
Imitation and having the time to show and model repeatedly is the key. Most four year olds like to help if you have a song, a specific part of the task to do and you do it together. I think if you go through some of the back posts about chores and four year olds (use those terms in the search engine box), more posts should come up.
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