While getting them started is often not for the faint of heart, a lot of us underestimate how much kids can do to help around the house (and how much easier it makes life for everyone!). Here’s a stack of jobs for kids at every age … and a few bonus tips for getting them to do it without level four whinging!
Being aware of your child’s skills and realistic as to what extent they’ll be able to perform a job will help. Regina Camacho Ferrari, psychologist with Melbourne Child Psychology, says younger children should be able to handle two or three jobs – go for a mix of daily and weekly chores, and you can increase the number of jobs as they get older.
Below is a guide of age-appropriate chores for children of different age groups, though Regina recommends adjusting it according to your family’s needs and to the abilities and maturity level of your child. And, of course, children can do the jobs in the younger age brackets. If you are late to the party, get the kids started at the early level jobs, knowing they’ll progress quickly through to their age groups jobs.
Ages 2 to 3
Pick up/put away toys and books
Put dirty clothes in laundry basket
Help with making own bed
Ages 4 to 5
Help with feeding pets
Vacuum using a hand-held vacuum
Water indoor flowers/plants
Wipe tables and other surfaces
Help with bringing in groceries
Ages 6 to 8
Help with setting and clearing the table
Hang out and sort out laundry
Help with making and packing own lunch
Take bins out
Clean bathroom and kitchen sinks
Keep bedroom tidy
Pack up own schoolbag
Put away groceries
Ages 9 to 11
Make own snacks/breakfast
Help with basic food preparation
Fold and put away laundry
Water the garden
Clean bathrooms and toilets
Clean microwave oven
Ages 12 and older
Clean bathrooms and toilets
Clean fridge and freezer
Cook simple meals
Operate washing machine and dryer
Change own bed sheets
Wash family car
Take pet for a walk
It’s all in the attitude
If you’re struggling to get them on board, have a look at how you approach chore time – rather than creating a sense that chores are a punishment, make it a matter-of-fact part of life that can sometimes even be fun. The trick to getting kids to do their jobs with a spring in their step is to make it fun – music, everyone pitching in together and plenty of team work.
Regina says it’s also important not to be a perfectionist – they may not get it done to your standards immediately, but through practice they’ll get better so let them learn by repetition and by not jumping in and ‘fixing’ it for them. She says the key is to start as early as possible with simple tasks and then build upon what they can do. “While it may take double the amount of time to complete the chore at the beginning, it will save you heaps of time in the future,” she says.
This article was written by Melanie Hearse for Kidspot.
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