Getting kids to do chores is a really common pain point among families! The subject of household tasks as chores for kids is a difficult one. Difficult for the kids because they would prefer a chore-free world. Difficult for busy parents because they know that to be successful you need to find the right age-appropriate task, teach the child the skill to do new chores correctly, and then follow up afterward to make sure the work is done. And the truth is, getting kids to help with chores without whining and complaining can be downright tough…
CHORES FOR KIDS The good news is that the whole family benefits when chores are distributed! Kid’s responsibility is way more important than we originally thought. In fact, current research shows that kids who are assigned chores at home during their childhood have a much happier life
HOW MANY CHORES SHOULD A CHILD HAVE? The overall goal of age-appropriate chores is to teach kids the responsibility of doing chores regularly and the ability to time manage those chores in their lives in a positive way. Depending on what age you start a child will likely determine how many chores they might do (and how long those chores last).
As a guide for time spent doing chores:
• Younger Kids (2-7) may spend up to 10 minutes a day doing chores.
• Older Kids (8-11) may spend 15 minutes a day doing chores but may have a project or two per week that takes longer like mowing lawn, changing sheets, etc..
• Tweens & Teens may have a longer chore list up to 30 minutes a day with some weekly projects as well.
APPROPRIATE CHORE LIST FOR KIDS BY AGE Toddler Chores (Ages 2-3)
• Pick Up Toys (show them how)
• Bring plate and cup to the sink after a meal
• Straighten covers on the bed
• Put dirty clothes into the hamper
• Sorting clothes (may need help)
• Transporting clean laundry back to family members rooms
• Wipe up spills
Preschooler Chores (Ages 4-5)
- All Toddler jobs
- Make the bed
- Help put clothes in washing machine/dryer
- Help put clothes away and fold them
- Take out recycling
- Load dishes into the dishwasher
- Dusting with cloth
- Feed animals
- Water flowers
- Unloading the dishwasher
- Wipe off the table after meals
- Picking up groceries
- Hang coats on hooks in a closet or coat rack
Elementary Kids Chores (Ages 6-8)
• All Preschool & Toddler Jobs
• Set table
• Wash dishes in the sink
• Put clean clothes away on your own
• Collect garbage around the house and take out rubbish or recycling
• Rake leaves
• Put away groceries
- Wash car
- Scrubbing bathroom sinks clean
- Wiping out kitchen counters after meals
- Tidying up the living room
- Packing their school bag each day
- Helping with meal preparations
- Sorting dirty clothes with dark and lights
Older Elementary (Ages 9-11)
• All Toddler, Preschool, & Elementary Jobs
• Help in meal preparation
• Clean toilets
• Clean bathroom sinks, counters, mirrors
• Walk dogs
• Take garbage cans to curb
• Mow lawn
• Clean animal cages
• Help make/pack lunch
• Change sheets on bed
- Look after siblings with supervision
- Do laundry with supervision
Middle School (Ages 12-14)
• All above chores
• Clean showers/tub
• Wash/Dry clothes – using both washing machine and dryer
• Mop floors
• Gardening/Yard work
• Help supervise younger children
High School Kids (Ages 14+)
• All chores for younger age kids listed above
• Literally any chore the household might have…these are important life skills! • Literally any yard work chore…these are important life skills!
CHILDREN’S CHORE LIST PLANNING
I recommend planning your child’s list of simple tasks either weekly or monthly. The last thing you need is the complication of trying to figure out what the kids were supposed to do that day and have to issue specific instructions. One thing that I recently learned was that kids are better off with the same task over time because it allows them to really learn the new skill needed for that chore, do it in a more efficient way and learn the valuable lessons associated with mastery. Chores for kids doesn’t have to be so difficult.
You’ve got this. Go mom!
SHOULD I PAY MY KIDS TO DO CHORES?
A question that many parents contemplate is whether or not they should pay their children to do their chores. While the answer will not be the same for everyone, let’s take a look at both sides. We’ll also take a look at how much to pay kids to do chores by age.
Why I should Pay My Kids to do Chores for every family this answer will be different, but here are some criteria to consider when thinking about paying your children to do chores:
• Because it teaches them the value of hard work.
• It gives me the opportunity to help teach them financial responsibility.
• They can learn the importance of having a good attitude.
• Teamwork is a valuable asset for a child’s life skills.
When Not to Pay My Kids to do Chores
• It’s simply not in your budget.
• If they don’t have a good attitude (complaining, crying, etc.).
• When they refuse to do the work.
• They don’t do a good job.
• Because we think it’s part of the family responsibilities.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PAY MY KIDS TO DO CHORES?
While there is no hard or fast rule for this but just some general guidelines. Here are some examples of what you could pay a child at different ages. Note that these suggestions are based on the chore categories by age at the beginning of this post.
A general rule of thumb is to pay your child kshs 20.00 a week per age. Of course, this is relative to your family’s unique situation. Below is an approximate amount, however, the final decision will be yours.
• Toddler Chores: kshs 20.00 a week
• Preschooler Chores: kshs 50.00 a week
• Elementary Kids Chores: ksh 100.00 a week
• Older Elementary: kshs 200.00 a week
As children grow up and prepare to enter the real world they need important skills. Many of them are simply not ready to handle their finances properly. Why? Because they are not taught how to be financially responsible on a daily basis. And one of the greatest areas we can help prepare our kids for the real world is teaching them how to be wise with their money. Doing chores can help our children grasp many basic (but necessary) skills to be financially responsible as they enter into the real world.
Some of the ways that chores for kids will help your kiddos be financially responsible are:
1. Chores can help teach them that money doesn’t grow on trees; you have to work for it.
2. When children have chores it teaches them the importance of consistency. If you work, you get paid. If you don’t, you won’t.
3. Conflict resolution is also a valuable money skill. If your children have an issue with the boss (YOU) they can learn to work it out rather than “quit” their job.
4. It gives you the ability to teach them about saving their money vs. spending their money. It’s best they learn these hard lessons under your roof with your guidance than out in the world alone with much greater risks.
5. Children doing chores is the perfect time to teach them that even if they don’t “feel” like working, they should. After all, we don’t “feel” like paying our bills, but we do it anyway. Do you pay them? We’d love to know!
HOW TO MAKE CHORES FUN
“I’ll time you!” Kids love playing games, so when you turn anything into a game, they’ll love it! Announce that you are having a race to see which team can clean up the fastest. Or, use a timer to see how long it takes them to clean up different toys. Use clean up bins. When I worked in a daycare, this worked like a charm! Each child gets a little bin, and they clean up as much as they can. When the bins are filled, the kids dump them into the toy box. Give a warning. This is especially important for younger children. About 10 minutes before it’s cleaning time, just announce that it will be time to get started in 10 minutes. It’s not such a jolt to their routine, when they know it’s coming. We do this with our friend’s kids before a play date ends, too.
Dance Around! Whenever my kids complain about cleaning, I turn on some music! It’s fun to see how many songs it takes them to clean up a designated area. Our kids have their favorites, so we turn them up and dance and sing as we clean. Get into the routine of cleaning up. As moms, we can so easily just do it ourselves, but that really does not teach our kids anything about tidying. It will be a challenge at first, but the more you do it, the more they will see it as part of their everyday routine. Sometimes I say, “Clean up and then we will go outside.” This reminds them that we will move into another place for fun play, after the work of cleaning. If you are consistent, it will always be normal for them to do clean up after themselves before moving on to the next fun activity.
Help them out! Every now and then, get down on the floor and help them clean. Or, work on one of your chores, close by the area they are tidying.
Share work together as you clean! Assign “special” jobs. Kids love to feel special, and you can do this while cleaning.
Tell your little one that he/she is in charge of cleaning up the dolls, and then share what your job is going to be. Plus, sometimes the words “clean up” can be so overwhelming and generic, so giving specific tasks is much easier, and they do a better job.
Change your wording. Instead of saying, “Clean up your room,” say “Okay, let’s clean up the cars first.” When kids look at their messy room or play room, they can feel overwhelmed. Breaking it down into specific zones is helpful and makes the job more manageable for little ones.
Chalkboard Apron. Kids love costumes, and an apron (like this chalkboard apron) just might make other chores more fun, too, so why limit it to the kitchen? Have cleaning tools that are just for them. My kids love helping to dust because we use the little Swiffer Dusters. It is so simple! You can also use custom-made to personalize a stylish cleaning storage bun with a handle to store their own cleaning tools!
GET ORGANIZED WITH YOUR FAMILY CHORES AND CLEANING TIME!
I don’t know about you, but my family thrives on a tight schedule! Once I was able to figure out that my kids understood cleaning better, after I broke each specific cleaning job or tidying area down for them so that it was more manageable, things really changed in our household!