Long time readers here will know that I used to talk non-stop about the importance of children doing chores. It seems in recent years I’ve talked less about it however that doesn’t mean I think it’s any less important. To have everyone contribute in someway to the household responsibilities is one of the best decisions we ever made. Keep reading for my tips on how we did this. You’ll also be able to download my fun FREE printable chore chart and age appropriate chores for kids printable.
My kids are older now at 22, almost 20 and just about 14. My big kids are away at college but I still have one at home who very much contributes to the running of the household. It’s non-negotiable around here. He has his set daily/weekly chores that he knows he has to do before he can do any of his other activities. These chores include his own laundry, dishes, help with supper, clean one of the bathrooms, empty trash cans, dusting and mowing. And because it’s just something that has always been expected of him, we really don’t have too many issues with it. Yes there are still days he might “forget” and have to be reminded but not very often.
Today I’ll share some of the steps we took to set our kids up for chore success.
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids with Free Printable Chore Chart
Start them young:
I strongly encourage you to get your kids helping around the house as young as possible. Kids are so keen to help at the younger ages. And yes I know that it can be more work for you when they are small (FOR SURE!) but all that hard work will eventually pay off for you. There were many years I didn’t have to clean a bathroom thanks to my kids. If your kids are older, don’t worry. It’s never too late to get them started. It just may require a little more patience on your part with each of these steps.
Set up expectations:
Give kids clear expectations of what the end result of their chore should look like and when they have to have it done by. You need to be very specific with kids because they always try and get you on a technicality (am I right moms?!). For instance, if their chore is to empty the dishwasher, do you also expect them to put away the dirty dishes that are piled on the counter? Do they know what the exact steps for each job are? You might even want to go as far as writing up index cards with the steps you expect of each chore.
Oh and one piece of advice my almost 14 year old suggests to other kids is to do the chores you dislike the most first. So if you can, give your kids some flexibility on the order the jobs can be done.
Depending on the ages of your children, we also need to exercise some grace as they are learning. You have to know what your child is capable of because all kids are different. And while I didn’t expect perfection from my kids, I did expect them to do a good job and not just rush through the job to get it done. I knew the difference. If they were rushing it and sloppy I’d gently correct them and have them do it again.
Here are a few suggestions of age appropriate chores for your kiddos to give you some ideas. Like I said these are just suggestions only, please of course do what is appropriate for your child.
Shadow to start:
Whenever a child was starting a new job I’d have them shadow me (or an older sibling) for the first little while. That way they could see exactly what needed to be done and how it should look when completed. I set them up for success. Once they moved on to doing the job on their own, they’d have to come and ask me for a check. Eventually I didn’t need to do those checks anymore once I was confident in their ability to get the chore done according to my expectations.
Use a chore chart:
Kids are notoriously forgetful. To help my kids when they were younger, I would use chore charts to keep them on track with their daily/weekly chores. Kids love checking off lists as they go along. Please feel free to download this fun free printable chore chart to use with your own kids if you’d like.
My son has now outgrown the chore chart but when he was younger this is often where we would keep it. On his bedroom door in a dry erase pocket (affiliate link) using an adhesive hook.
If you have your kids do chores one week and then nothing the next, it sends a confusing message. As parents we need to be consistent for the training to be effective. This is not where you want to waffle. Set the day of the week that the chores need to be done and stick to it as best as you can. This way it becomes a habit for the kids and part of their daily and weekly routines. The chores eventually become less of a battle if they know mom means business and won’t be a pushover. Stand your ground!
I know it’s frustrating and I know that it’s so easy to want to throw our hands up sometimes and say it’s useless but if we are consistent about what is required of our children and consistent with the consequences if it’s not done, results will come eventually.
Speaking of consequences, the time to set these up is in advance. Make your kids clearly aware ahead of time what the consequences will be if the chores don’t get done. Whatever it is, make sure you follow through. This is so important because it takes the battle out of it. You won’t be nagging them every hour of the day to get it done.
I hope you find these tips and printables helpful. Hang in there mommas. You are doing a great job but may also need to give yourself some grace too. Parenting is hard no doubt about it. But if you stick with it and are consistent, you’ll eventually work yourself out of a job. And this is the sweetest place of all to be! Then when the time comes for your kids to leave the nest, you’ll know they have the tools needed for adult living. Whether they do it or not is an entirely different matter but at least they’ll know how 🙂
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