Who truly enjoys completing chores? Not many people can answer, “Me!” to this question. Implementing chores for young kids often verbalizes how we (adults) actually feel internally when we have to do chores. Regardless, it’s a great habit to start and teaches them important values, plus it takes some stress off of you mama!
Values That Chores Teach Kids
Having your children complete chores helps you out, but it also teaches them some important life lessons.
Chores help kids learn responsibility, self-reliance, and they teach them some basics that are needed to keep a household running efficiently. They also teach a child to respect their belongings and take care of them, which is a lesson that has hit out home hard this week!
Chores for Young Kids
One thing you’re going to have to let go of… perfection. It’s not always going to be perfect, but it’s going to be good for them (and you). If they fold a pair of pants and it looks like a wadded up ball, teach them how to do it properly and let it be. They will get better!
It’s never too early to start! Chores for preschoolers may include:
- Picking up their toys before bed
- Putting their dirty dishes in the sink after a meal
- Brushing their teeth morning and night
- Feeding family pets
Using a sticker chart, or something similar, is extremely helpful for preschoolers. You could take the sticker chart a step further and offer a small prize, special snack, or different reward if they receive all of their stickers for the week! Up until last year, I used a hanging chore chart like this one.
Since preschoolers are not typically fluent readers, using a chart with pictures helps them understand what their responsibilities are for the day/week.
Elementary Age Children (5 – 12 years)
Have your kiddos continue picking up after themselves like they have been practicing. Gradually add more chores as you deem appropriate. As they get older, it is also a good idea to add complexity to their chores.
Some ideas for elementary age children may include:
- Loading/Unloading the dishwasher
- Putting away their clean clothes
- Making their bed and cleaning their room
- Clean the bathroom
- Wipe down counters
Ease into things! My kids are now 5 and 6, Kindergarten and 1st grade. At the beginning of the school year, they were required to put their clothes that I had folded where they belong. Starting this month, they fold them as well!
Here are my kids (5 and 6 years) current chores:
- Clean their rooms thoroughly (once a week).
- Fold and put away clothes
- Feed the dogs twice a day
- Take recycling to the proper trash can outside
- Wipe down bathroom counters
Make Chores Fun
Chores are something everyone has to do, and it’s okay to make them fun. If I have loads of laundry to fold, I enjoy turning on Netflix and folding to whatever show I am watching at the time. We find ways to make chores fun as adults, so it makes sense that we do the same thing for our kiddos.
Let Them Watch TV
If my boys choose to fold their clothes in their bedrooms, I allow them to turn on their TV and watch a show while they fold and put them away. I do it, so what’s the harm in them doing it too?
Turn On Some Music
As they are picking up their rooms or around the house, put on some of their favorite tunes so they can sing and dance as they pick up.
Make It A Game
Hide small trinkets or candy around the house in places you are expecting them to clean, dust, or pick up. As they complete their chores they find fun little prizes!
If you have more than one kid, you could also give them a time limit to see who can get the most done in the set amount of time.
Rewards come in all shapes and sizes. Receiving stickers on a chart can be a great way to reward your kiddo. Other options include:
- an allowance
- picking what’s for dinner
- picking a weekend activity
- movie night… their choice!
- a special dessert
Really, you can get as creative as you want!
Implementing chores for young kids is a great idea for everyone. As busy moms, we tend to get overwhelmed our plates are more than full most days. Let your kiddos help! In the process, they will learn some great values.
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