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Age Appropriate Household Chores for Children

Posted on by admin | in Housekeeping

Even at an early age, it’s common for children to want to be “helpers.” Although it may seem as if your children are creating more of a mess than they are “helping,” it’s important to build their confidence and allow them to establish independence as a contributor to the household.

Household chores are a beneficial way to allow your child to “help” while also teaching him the importance of responsibility. Let your little ones and big ones join in on cleaning day to ensure your home is spick and span by implementing these creative tactics for completing age-appropriate household chores.

Motivate and Participate

One of the challenges of cleaning day is getting the cooperation of children of all ages. Although your toddler may be eager to help at first, his interest may wane after he realizes that cleaning is work. Older children and teens have already had this realization, so they may be less-than-eager to join in and help.

Providing choices is the key to cooperation, says Yaelle Shaphir, mother of three and health, wellness and parenting expert in Los Angeles. “It is not a question of are you going to help out or not, but rather: ‘Do you want to dust the furniture or sort the clutter under your beds?’” says Shaphir.

Incentives may also motivate your children to whip the house into shape. Provide monetary rewards or other privileges for any chores completed for the week. Display a chore chart with stickers so they are reminded of the potential rewards. You can even ask your child to make a list of privileges or rewards he would like to receive to customize the chore chart. With a treasured prize in reach, he may be more willing to jump in and help when its time to complete household chores.

Involve All Ages

As your family sits down to discuss the division of household chores beyond their preferred choices, it’s also important to determine age-appropriate chores. Everyone needs to be on board – even toddlers can lend a hand around the home.

According to Shaphir, her two-year-old is in charge of dusting. “Give him a spray bottle with water and a rag and he will clean,” she says. “Be prepared to go over the areas again later; however, remember you are laying the groundwork for a helpful, happy co-worker.”

Toddlers can also help in the kitchen when it’s meal time. Ask your little one to fill a small cup of water to put in the mixing bowl or allow him to run items to the garbage can when needed.

As children get a little older, they can take on a bit more responsibility. Shaphir’s six year old gets overwhelmed when sorting or decluttering needs to happen. “However, she loves to do dishes, set the table and dust and clean the windows and mirrors,” she says.

Once a child reaches the 10 to 12 age range, you can begin to trust him or her with bigger tasks, such as dishes, taking out the trash, folding laundry and vacuuming. Anything goes with teenagers since they have the ability to mop floors, mow the lawn and help re-arrange furniture when needed.

Any chore can be customized to fit the age, says Shaphir. “Everyone can help with carrying groceries,” she says.

Make it Fun

The idea of mopping, taking out the trash or even cleaning toilets may not be how your child envisioned spending a Saturday afternoon. Counteract the dreaded looks and somber attitudes by making chore time fun.

Turn up the tunes, have your children race the clock when working or ask the family to work together to complete a task so it is less intensive for one individual. Work right alongside your children, too, so they can see that you are invested in making the home healthier and happier.

Completing all household chores in one day may also be too overwhelming for your children. If it works better with your schedules, consider assigning specific days for certain chores. Designate Saturday as laundry day, Monday for dusting and vacuuming and Tuesday for scrubbing. The key is to provide consistency when involving the entire family in household chores.

“What is most important is the attitude in which the parent introduces the concept of a shared household,” says Shaphir. “Make it fun and it will get done.”

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