Chores make our children happier, resilient and more connected…
Have you ever noticed how helpful a toddler is? They offer to cut veggies with you while you’re making dinner, they’re keen to place their plate in the dishwasher, they’re proud of getting a nappy from the other room for their baby sister. They seem to be glowing with pride after learning how to sweep the floor.
Helping around the house and doing chores comes naturally to children from a very young age. But sometimes if we haven’t noticed their early toddler cues and instead only introduce chores at an older stage of childhood, it can become an issue. You may find your child resisting tidying their room or emptying the dishwasher, and some days it seems easier to just do it yourself.
But what if I told you that chores are hugely beneficial to your child’s development?
In fact, they’re one of the best things you can do for them. When your child does chores, they are learning that they’re an integral part of the family unit. That the family functions better because of their efforts and contributions. They’re also learning about the needs of others and how they can help take care of them (in an age appropriate way).
Did you know that children who complete chores around the house at the age of four have the highest predictor of success in their mid-20’s? Having a vital part in the running of the home gives children a sense of responsibility which directly affects how successful they become (kids and chores).
One of the reasons that these chore completing children are so successful later in life is because they feel more connected to their family unit which helps them cope when life gets stressful. Chores are fostering resilience in your kids, they’re learning to manage the ups and downs of life through their contributions and responsibilities in the home.
So how can you get your kids onboard with chores? Well, there really isn’t an easy answer. It comes down to making sure your children know exactly what’s expected of them. Teaching them how to complete the chore to a high standard and then reminding and insisting that they actually do it. Some days they will resist more than others and offer all kinds of excuses, but at the end of the day, chores are more beneficial to your children than many other things in life (including sporting achievements and academic success). So keep at it, and your kids will reap the rewards.
To help you get started, here’s a list of chores my kids are capable of completing by age.
4 year old
- Tidy up toys into the correct bin or basket.
- Help empty the dishwasher.
- Pass me the laundry while I’m hanging it.
- Use the brush and shovel to sweep after craft time.
- Help pull weeds from the garden.
7 year old
- Tidy bedroom.
- Empty the dishwasher.
- Take out the recycling.
- Cut veggies for dinner.
- Help with baking for the week.
- Collect fruit and veggies from the garden.
- Fill the dogs water bowl.
9 year old
- Dry the dishes.
- Stack the dishwasher.
- Vacuum and tidy bedroom.
- Fold washing.
- Take out the rubbish.
- Help make dinner or dessert.
- Feed the dog.
- Stack firewood.
12 year old
- Wash the car.
- Vacuum around the house.
- Dust and wipe things down.
- Walk the dog.
- Change own sheets and duvet cover.
- Make a meal for the family.
14 years plus
- Put on a load of washing and hang it out.
- Cook for the family (dinner and dessert).
- Go to the shops to run errands.
- Babysit younger siblings.
- Clean the bathroom.
- Cut kindling.
Rosie Clark is a regular contributor to the Little & Loved blog. Rosie has a background in teaching and play therapy. She currently homeschools her five children in the sunny Hawkes Bay. In her free time she likes to teach ukulele, roller skate and grow flowers.