This post may contain affiliate links in it. If you click on them and purchase I will make a few cents.
A Chore List Won’t Kill Your Child
Once we moved into our new home I knew we’d have to come up with a chore list. Chores! Yes, that dreaded word. We needed to distribute the chores fairly and what days with the schedule of life. The only fair way to do this would be to divide it up by the family, using our schedules and ages. Do your children have chores? Why not? In this post, I’ll explain three reasons why a child should have chores growing up.
Knowing When to Introduce Chores is Important
Chores can be introduced to children as early as two years old. It doesn’t even have to be anything big. Keep in mind a 2-year-old loves to imitate everyone, especially parents. They also want to help everyone, they want to feel important. Children want to know they are part of something and appreciated. SoccerBoy used to follow me around with a broom and dustpan. True it could sometimes make a bigger mess, but he was helping.
Something as simple as picking up the toys they brought out can become part of a chore list. Demonstrate for them. Pick up a toy, put it back in the toy box, and tell them this is picking up your toys or cleaning your room. Tell them it is their turn and applaud their good behavior with a high five, clap, or smile. Kids love getting positive attention.
Parents Must set Rules up for Chore Lists and Stick with Them
Teaching kids responsibility can only help your child. They know they must do things on their own to get things done. But sadly according to NYTimes, many decide to pass out chores to our children we won’t follow through or end up doing most of them without our kids finishing their lists. If your child decides to skip chores for several days shouldn’t there be a consequence?
How to Stick with a Chore List
Consequences for not doing their chores don’t have to be spankings or grounding them. This could be as simple as letting dishes pile up and telling them to grab a cup, plate for them to use from the dirty dishes. Eww, gross. If they are like mine they are going to quickly do the dish and others.
Maybe they have friends coming over but their room isn’t clean. Tell them to call their friend and cancel. Now tell them their friend can come over once the room is clean. This will show them you aren’t going to do it and they will lose out if it is not done. A bonus will be they discover by doing it every day it is easier to keep it clean.
Parents let them do it!
Parents you won’t always be there. Don’t do your child’s chores just because they have a ton of homework or need to go to a sporting event. Have them quickly get it done and then go or get back to studying. Show them it can be broken down or if they do it quickly it doesn’t take much time.
See how you can set it up fairly and make sure to stick with it. This will teach them proper ways to balance life. Just because they want to do something fun doesn’t mean they can get out of doing work. Trust me they need to know this for when they hit adulthood.
Kids of ALL ages can do chores
As your child gets older, give them a few more chores added to their chore list that you know they can do. Make their beds. Clean their rooms better than before. Sweep the hallway, kitchen, or front porch. Put dirty clothes in the basket. As they grow into their teen years, you can give them even more chores like doing dishes. Assisting with cooking a meal, maybe even making dinner on certain nights, etc. Taking out the trash and putting a trash bag back in the trash can. Cleaning the kitchen counters, bathroom sink, etc.
Responsibility is taught
Giving your child a chore list does not mean you are torturing them, it means you love them. Sadly we are becoming a culture where everyone thinks everything should be done for them. Having kids do chores can actually teach responsibility. Have a chore list on the wall in the house so everyone knows what they are supposed to do. They will see this and remember every day what needs to be done and they can look at the house and know they’ve helped with it.
The NPR actually suggests ways to get your child to do chores without them resenting it. If your child doesn’t like the idea of the chore chart you gave them ask your child what THEY can do to help you clean part of the house. Give them an option on what they want to do. Sometimes you will find a child prefers one chore over another.
Chore Lists Teach them Goal Setting
Think about it. Isn’t chores about having a clean house, well-kept yard, homework completed? The only way to get it that way is by breaking it down into small do-able sections. If you told a child to simply have the house clean before you got home this could possibly overwhelm them. Or what they think is done isn’t done entirely because they just picked up clothes or trash in the main room. Thankfully you taught your child each chore that is now expected of them and you watched them grow so you know they can achieve it. Chore lists make coming home or going to bed to a clean house easily manageable.
Start with Morning Chore Lists
When your children are young you may start a simple Morning Chore List. Get up (check), get dressed (check), make the bed (check), eat breakfast, etc. This shows a child what they are supposed to do next, but is broken down into small tasks which makes the bigger goal of being ready to go to school simple. If they’ve forgotten something they will know when they check to see their chore list. What’s not marked off means they still need to do it. If everything is marked off they’ve completed their goal for the morning.
Afternoon Chore List
This type of chore list teaches your child they can be responsible for getting themselves ready. They’ll love knowing you have enough confidence in them and they’ll grow their independence knowing they can actually do it. Create an afternoon chore list so they know what they are responsible for getting down until bedtime.
From the moment they get home what should be done? I normally start small, clean something that won’t take long, sweep a room, or even prepping for dinner. Next would be homework, setting up the table at a certain time. Once dinner is done, someone has dishes, drying dishes, baths, bed. I even have the kids help me grocery shop, keep count of what everything is adding up to and come up with meal plan ideas.
Chore lists will Help Prepare them for Adulthood
I can already hear my kids whispering, how is having a chore list preparing me for adulthood. It’s really simple. As we become adults we are expected to do things. Right? Chances are at one point or another the child will work for someone else which means they will get a daily list of things they are expected to do (very similar to a chore list). Many of those things they will be expected to do it top-notch. Are they ready for that?
Remember all those chore lists growing up? Whether you had one for your morning chores or just knew who was suppose to clean which rooms, this taught you routine. I’ve made my kids a morning chore list that showed things they had to get done before leaving the house. Hopefully, this would help them NOT forget anything before school.
Getting out of bed. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Dishes in the sink. Brushing teeth. Making lunch. Putting homework in a backpack. These were normally following a certain timeline so they could be out the door by a specific time so they wouldn’t be late for school. They knew what they had to do in the mornings and afternoons.
This could definitely be applied to adulthood. It taught them how to break up the bigger tasks. Know what’s on the schedule, what meetings, what needs to get done by a certain hour, etc.
There’s No Such Thing as a Cleaning Fairy
Most businesses, whether food, janitorial, military, or even an office setting expect your area to be neat and tidy. Now if a child has never been expected to do that growing up they will most likely have a hard time with it. They may think leaving all their stuff on a desk is okay. I mean if you are constantly picking up their mess instead of giving them a chore list they may just think someone else will do it for them.
Imagine walking into your child’s home and finding out they weren’t ready to live on their own. The place has clothes lying all over the floor. Bowls in the sink or a bunch of fast food laying around. Worse you may only see soda, milk, and cereal.
Imagine hearing she goes out to eat every night because she doesn’t know how to use the stove/oven? You’ve realized you never let her cook because you could do it. She didn’t know how to do her own laundry. All the white work shirts/blouses are pink or blue. She didn’t know she couldn’t mix all her white clothes with colors if she was running hot water.
They can’t figure out why they can’t pay rent in their first month because they didn’t know how to budget. All it would’ve taken was to have them help make dinner, plan a meal, go grocery shopping with you. She could’ve counted up how much it all cost to make sure she had the right amount. She didn’t realize you had to pay a bill by a certain date or it would get shut off or kicked out. You never discussed it with her.
Chore lists really do help develop their minds, it helps them become more responsible and prepares them for life. These aren’t things they learn how to do in school. That list of chores you gave your child has helped them become independent adults. YOU taught them each skill they needed to know to live on their own.