Monday, October 26, 2020

List: Ten simple chores to task young children with to teach self sufficiency.

I remember my childhood filled with lots of playtime, family time, and laughter.  I also remember having to do my chores before being allowed to partake in the more enjoyable things.  To be clear, having responsibilities as a child did not in any way negatively effect my childhood.  The chores that were required of me were minimal, but were required nonetheless.  I remember vacuuming on Saturday mornings, changing laundry, setting the table, and drying dishes.  Like me, my brother had similar chores that he was expected to complete before doing what he wanted.  Also like me, he has zero negative feelings towards our childhood because of this.

The reason for this ramble is because recently a family member of mine made a judgmental comment.  Yea, I know.  I'll say it with you.  What else is new with my family?  Sigh..  According to this family member, I expect too much of my daughter at only seven years of age.  I do expect her to participate in minimal household chores before playtime.  I do expect her to have responsibility and complete tasks to the best of her ability.  I do expect her to establish a sense of value for hard work and show a little independence.  While that's all true, I also expect her to ask for help, to make mistakes, and to learn along the way.  Doing chores may not be fun, but I believe that it's an important part of growing up.  I'll stop my rant now and just get to the point of the post.

what chores are ok to give children

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Ten chores to give your young child today.

1.  Setting the table.
This one is a great place to start.  It's simple and harmless enough if it goes wrong.  The biggest tragedy could be a misplaced fork, assuming that you don't use fine china on the daily.  It's also a good routine to start because it eliminates the hassle of the dinnertime roundup.

2.  Emptying the dishwasher.
In my day, this simple childhood chore was drying the dishes.  It's since evolved to emptying the dishwasher.

3.  Organizing their room.
Every Saturday morning my little girl starts the day with organizing her room.  She'll put away her toys, cleans up her vanity, fixes her bed, and rearranges the closet spillage.

4.  Bringing their plate to the sink.
After a child is done eating, they must get into the habit of clearing their space for themselves.  I remember when Mushy turned 4 and her preK teacher schooled me.  "I'm not clearing 20 dishes for every child that wasn't taught to clear their table setting!"  It's also important to see mommy, daddy, and siblings clean up after themselves too.  This helps them realize that it's everyone's responsibility.

5.  To care for something living.
This simple childhood chore could be as simple as watering an indoor plant weekly or watering an entire garden.  It could be a little more complicated such as feeding a pet fish, hamster, dog, or cat.  As they age, you can up the responsibilities to weeding and/or walking the dog for exercise.  As much as I'd love to include caring for a younger sibling, maybe that's going a bit too far at this age.  Whatever it is, your child will learn that with care and responsibility a living creature can grow and prosper.

Idea:  For Valentine's Day a few years back, Cupid brought my daughter an indoor herb garden kit like this one.  She really enjoyed caring for it and watching it grow.  Flash forward four years later when she is the main caregiver to our vegetable garden.  She enjoys it so much that she doesn't even think of it as a chore.

6.  Cleaning the floors.
I wouldn't task them to mop at age 4, but they can start out slow and steadily progress.  At age 5, my daughter would use the Swiffer Sweeper to pick up residual dust and dog hair.  At age 7, she's graduated to vacuuming smaller spaces and using the vacuum extension periodically.

7.  Polish the low sitting furniture.
We don't polish our furniture as often as we should, but we do a deep clean about once a month.  Mommy and Daddy do the heavy scrubbing with chemicals while Mushy polishes the table and chair legs.

8.  Putting their clothes in the laundry basket.
My kids and husband love to leave their dirty laundry right where they took it off of themselves.  Mommy no longer picks this up.  Everyone must pick up their own clothes and put it in the hamper.  If they don't, it get tossed into a pile behind the bed where it doesn't get washed!

9.  Snapping the string beans.
It's important to give kids small tasks in the kitchen otherwise they'll never learn how to cook.  I task my little princess with snapping the string beans or putting together the caesar salad kit.  She's recently graduated to cracking eggs and making pancakes!  & totally thinks she's a master chef..

Idea:  Last Christmas, my daughter was gifted with this child friendly cook book.  It's really done a great job of motivating her to help out in the kitchen and make simple meals.  On really good days, she puts on a "cooking show" for her baby brother.

10.  Maintaining their studies.
There is no playtime or fun time until ALL homework is done.  It's their responsibility to use their agenda to log assignments and check off when done.  I'll gladly monitor and help when needed, but I do expect a sincere effort before asking for assistance.  While it's not really a chore, it's definitely a responsibility.

What chores did you do as a child?


  1. That pesky cousin needs to be sent to a mine to dig some coal... Kids should slave away from the very beginning, otherwise they turn into ungrateful brats and they need to be taught the systematic discipline: you work in order to get things, they don't fall from the tree. And it is not just about work, you have to teach them to say thank you in order to get anything or to share if they get anything. The feathers would fly if that was my cousin... I mean as a kid I worked in the field, raking, digging, weeding, you name it, I even worked on a corn grinder machine when I was maybe 8 or 9 tops. Da only thing I refuse to do was to pluck chicken and my granny hated me for it LOL

    1. I wouldn't pluck the chicken either! No wonder you won't eat meat. :) I have a bad habit of letting people's judgements get to me, but I still have her doing her chores. You're right. I don't want a brat that doesn't understand the value of anything running around. Her new chore has been to make the lunches for school & work the night before. She was so proud to do it the first few times. Now it's a battle, but we still make her do it despite her protests.

    2. Yes, I hate parents who spoil their kids because it is selfish: while you have fun spoiling them, later on they will become a burden to society or even menace. And your country already has too much freedoms which makes people overlypriviledged, which you've seen in those who refuse to wear masks. Back in the days kids used to work all day long in factories, so how difficult it is for a modern brat to clean the floor once a day or wash a plate? That being said, I do hate the parents who give birth to kids only to have free workers in their private businesses. You know, like a boy who has to work in his father's sawmill all day long etc...

    3. There definitely has to be a balance. We aren't looking for free labor, although when I'm balancing a million things at once, not having to worry about setting the table is nice. :)

  2. I liked doing chores as a kid because I enjoyed having some ‘adult’ responsibilities. Plus, we had a checklist and if you completed everything for the week, you got $1. I started a Chore Chart for my kids when they were around age 5 with stickers that they liked. Some chores were: set table, clear table, unload dishwasher, dust, get mail, sweep kitchen, empty wastebaskets, make bed, fold laundry, feed fish. My kids seemed to like doing everything but clearing the table (for whole family).

    My kids started doing their own laundry by 7th grade. I’m still dumbfounded when people tell me their college kids bring home laundry for their moms to do! WTH??? Also drives me nuts are moms who pack lunches for anyone over the age of 12!

    1. Eep!! I was just telling Dez that my daughter started packing her own lunch at age 7! I mean, it's just some rolled up salami and cheese, but still.. lol! I refuse to have a child that doesn't know how to take care of herself. It felt like a punch to the gut to hear that "I expect too much of my child" when I was so proud of all the things my daughter knows how to do. My son is 2 and already empties the silverware from the dishwasher and puts away the folded socks. A pet peeve of mine are the people who can't make a simple meal. They eat take out every night or they starve to death. My dad's g/f is 50 and uses her oven for storage because she doesn't see the need to know how to cook!!

  3. Kids definitely need to have chores from an early age. Mine used to have 2 set chores every day. Nothing major, but small helpful things like taking the laundry and hangers to the basement, changing the dog food/water bowls, emptying out all of the small waste bins to the outside trash, or taking out the recycling. I don't give my kids an allowance, but they are expected to help around the house for when they do want to do things like go to the movies or out to eat with their friends, it's not considered free money. Since they contribute to chores around the house, I will contribute to their funtime activities.

  4. Yeah. Just letting them do nothing teaches nothing. Chores aren't a bad thing, unless the parents are just lazy turds and get the kids to do everything. Then yeah, that is just stupid. But teaching them work ethic and that things just don't magically happen isn't bad at all. Laundry in the basket or dishes in the sink isn't that hard.

    I did picture you making her get down on her hands and knees and scrub the floor til it shines though. lol what? Good it is only swiffer and vacuum haha


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