Since we’ve been focusing on chores this month in our home, I thought I’d share how I’ve delineated chores based on the ages of our children. Keep in mind I have three girls ages 5.5, 3.5, and 24 months. I also want to be fair and let you know that we have a very small, one-story house, so there isn’t as much to clean: we have 1 bathroom and 3 bedrooms.
Let Me Be Honest . . .
Lest you think I have super kids, I’m going to be honest with you: Teaching my children new chores and staying on top of them to make sure they’re doing them and doing them correctly, completely, and with a good attitude is hard work. My girls — just like your “angels” — require close attention, or they will do the bare minimum. They will also try your patience, hoping –I think — that Mom will give up and just do the work for them.
That’s why when I offered 1o tips for getting started with chores I mentioned giving yourself plenty of time to do them and starting small so as not to overwhelm them or you. You don’t want to rush through this learning process or everyone will get frustrated and want to give up.
Below is a run-down of the specific chores each child is responsible for in our family. The older children should be able to do the chores listed on all of their younger siblings’ lists. For example, the 3 yo should be able to do her chores plus those listed for the 2 yo, and the 5 yo should be able to do her chores as well those listed for the 2 and 3 year olds. Of course that doesn’t mean she does all of those chores, just that she should be able to do them. Some chores are done daily, others 1, 2 or 3 times a week.
If you’re interested, below is a pdf version of our (above) Chore Chart. This list is simply a starting point. Your child may be able to do far more or less and that’s fine. I believe children are capable of a lot more than we give them opportunity to do. Still, you know your child. Do what’s best in your situation & circumstances.
**Before instituting a crash course in chores with your kids, I strongly recommend that you read my post “Children & Chores: 10 Tips to Get Started” first. It will save you the headache of learning from my mistakes.**
While my girls have certainly developed some great new life skills, it’s been a challenge keeping their attitudes cheerful and joyful as they work. They’ve met me with resistance and complaining; they’ve had to redo chores multiple times because they did not do a thorough job; they’ve used up whole bottles of cleaner just because they love spraying stuff; and, they’ve made huge messes that have made me completely rethink what I’m doing.
However, my girls are developing work ethics that will help them throughout the rest of their lives. They are learning at a young age the importance of cooperation and team work in the family. They also have a greater appreciation for my job as their Mom. While we still have a long way to go, I’m very proud of the start we’ve made.
What questions or concerns do you have about teaching your children how to do chores?
I don’t have all the answers, but I’d love to try to help if I can.