Raising children to become capable adults has always been challenging.  As I approach my 35th year in practice, I wonder at times about the loss of traditional expectations in the home such as doing chores.Lazaroff, Richard_2012

Kids these days are active with school, sports, scouts, dance, music, jobs (teens who want or need to make money), and a multitude of other activities.  Parents sometimes use these time commitments to excuse their children from doing jobs around the home.  As adults, we too are busy.  However, at times it seems easier for us to complete the chores ourselves instead of our children. Consequently, children are missing out on an opportunity to build character and contribute in the home.  Moreover, these are valuable adult skills that many children are not developing. Therefore, the development of a chore list may be the way to ensure children are completing their chores.

Before getting started on a list of age specific chores, here are some guidelines:

  • Be specific on what is to be done and how often the chores must be completed (a chart might help)
  • Consider letting siblings alternate the least desirable chores
  • Do not expect younger children to do their chores perfectly
  • Tying an allowance to chores is not necessary as allowances are part of teaching children how to handle money. Doing chores teaches responsibility and the value of contributing to the home, not an opportunity to make money. Perhaps work around the house outside of daily or weekly chores can be rewarded with money.

Okay, now for a potential list of chores by age:

  • Children 3-5 years of age may pick up toys, feed a pet, and put dirty clothes in a basket.
  • Children 5-10 years of age can do the above plus water plants, make their bed, set the table, put the laundry away, and help in the kitchen to prepare simple foods.
  • Children 10 and up can do all of the above plus keep their rooms clean, take out the trash, and unload the dishwasher.
  • Older teens can babysit, mow the grass, and help with larger cleaning projects about the home.

So much is changing about our world.  Sometimes getting back to basics is forgotten.  Today's children are sometimes so enabled by their parents, it is to their detriment.  If your household does not have assigned chores today, get started tomorrow.  Someday, your kids will thank you.