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The Age-old Question // When to Start Chores

The Age-old Question // When to Start Chores

We all know that kids can learn a lot from doing their bit around the house, but there is a lot of debate around ‘how young is too young’ to set up a chore system. Check out these ideas for chores that are best suited for certain ages, and then let us know – how do chores work in your house?

The Under 5’s

At this age, it’s more about developing their sense of responsibility and independence than anything else (once they’re five and older, we don’t think you’ll consider ‘getting dressed’ to be legitimate housework) so introducing them to the world of chores with menial tasks is a good idea.

  • Pack away their toys and books
  • Get dressed, and put their shoes on by themselves
  • Water plants
  • Clean their spills – including after bath time – and tidy their food mess

The 5-7’s

In addition to the ‘chores’ they were doing as toddlers, kids of this age might also begin to develop a better understanding of what it means to work for their own benefit – this is where ‘pocket money’ might come in. But note: not all chores should be paid chores. Things that take more time and effort – like say, vacuuming the floors – can reap a small reward, but things they should really be doing anyway – like tidying up after themselves or doing their laundry – probably shouldn’t.

  • Unpack groceries
  • Set the table
  • Tidy up after themselves – make their bed, put away toys, books and clothes, clean up dishes or food scraps, etc.
  • Feed pets

The 8-10’s

By now, your kids should probably be earning a little more in the ‘pocket money’ department (if you’ve chosen to give them pocket money at all) but the jobs should be getting more time-consuming in return. By the time your children are eight and older, you might also be more comfortable making them go outside to do some of their chores.

  • Take out the rubbish (and maybe even the bins!)
  • Walk and wash the dog
  • Fold clean laundry, and bring dirty clothes to the washing machine (rather than leaving them in their rooms)
  • Wash the car

The over-11’s

With high school just around the corner, your 11-year-old should be taking on a lot more responsibility for themselves – and even for their younger siblings, if they have any. While you might not feel comfortable leaving them to babysit for hours and hours, some experts say that 11-year-old children are perfectly capable of looking after their younger siblings for short periods of time. And to prepare them for the responsibilities of high school and teenage life, small tasks like packing their own lunch and doing their own laundry can help them understand the value of doing things themselves – they’ll learn from their own mistakes… eventually.

  • Mow the lawn
  • Do laundry (at least hanging out their own clothes)
  • Make simple meals
  • Mop floors and wash windows

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