Parents often ask me what chores are appropriate for kids from toddler to teenager as well as topics around pocket money and your expectations of what your child does around the home.
With that topic in mind I thought I would break it down into age groups what chores or household tasks can be taught from a young age all the way up to teens.
Although they still seem like babies, you will often be surprised at how much a toddler can handle. Not only that but most toddlers love to help.
This is the perfect time to teach them the way a home is run and allow them to help with small tasks.
Tasks that are perfect for toddlers include:
- Packing toys away in the toy box
- Carrying their plate to the kitchen after eating
- Helping put the cutlery back in the drawer after it has been washed
- Helping drop clothes into the washing machine (make sure nothing stray goes in too)
- Pressing the buttons on the dishwasher to turn it on
- Helping to wipe the table after a meal
So now that I have mentioned some perfect learning chores for toddlers, I want to mention that it should be done in fun and not a forced thing.
Children need to be children and if they are forced into it as youngsters it may make it very difficult to get them to comply when they are older.
The whole purpose behind doing things like this with them is to help them understand how a home works and encourages them to build skills that foster their physical and cognitive development.
I think this is a great age to allow children to be in charge of some small tasks around the home and encourage them to take ownership of these things.
Perfect chores for preschoolers can include:
- Making their bed (or at least pulling up the covers and making it neat)
- Putting their plates and cups in the sink after eating
- Putting away their toys at the end of the day
- Helping you put away clean dishes after washing
- Helping set the table and/or clean up before and after a meal
- Putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket
School age children
Children of this age are getting to be quite autonomous and are able to do most things.
Having a chore chart is perfect for this age as they can see what tasks they need do and can also have a sense of satisfaction of what they do to contribute to the family.
School children should be able to:
- Pack/unpack the dishwasher
- Put their clothes into the laundry when they need washing
- Put away their clean clothes
- Set the table for dinner/clean up after dinner
- Keep their rooms tidy
- Help prepare dinner
- Pack their own school lunches
Now obviously there are many, many chores that children can do around the home to help out and this will vary greatly from family to family according to their own needs.
Let Your Kids Be Kids
I happen to be one of those people who like children to enjoy being children so I don’t personally want my kids doing chore after chore.
I think kids should help out as the normal running of a home but not have a chore list so long that they don’t get time to play and relax.
What About Paying Kids To Do Chores?
Now moving onto the topic of pocket money. Before I had children I always assumed that I would give my children chores and pay them.
That is, until I went to a leadership seminar where I heard John Maxwell speak. He talked about kids and chores and he said something that has always stayed with me. He said that children should do chores and should be expected to do chores but he was against paying them to do it.
His philosophy was that the children are a part of the household too, so everyone should do their share. He said that when it came to pocket money, we should pay our children for doing things that we deem as important. For him it was reading. He explained how reading could change a child’s life through what they learned. This really stuck with me. I, myself am an avid reader. Half of what I know probably came through reading books and I want to instil this into my children too. I then decided that I would also pay my children to read books.
As a parent you can do what you feel works best for your family and if you want to pay your children for doing tasks around the home that is fine too. My whole goal in this was just to give you another perspective on what pocket money can mean for your child.
So what do you think? Has this article changed your thoughts at all?