By Aiyana Ma’at
If you’re anything like me you understand the importance of giving children chores and allowing/requiring them to contribute to the smooth running of your household. It’s important for a whole host of reasons. Assigning household chores to our kids teaches personal and social responsibility. It allows children to experience both a sense of contribution to their family and a sense of accomplishment-and pride in that accomplishment. All of this will transfer to who they become as adults for sure.
I get all of that. But, raise your hand if you get me when I say It’s so much easier to just do it yourself!
I have to admit that my hubby and I have been guilty of being inconsistent with making sure our children have clearly defined chores that we actually make sure they do. It’s more difficult with young children-our kids are 4, 5, 7, and 10. It’s at this age where the chore is more about instilling the discipline in them and allowing them to feel good about their contribution than it is about the task itself. In other words, when my girls ask to wipe the table, clean the mirrors, or wipe down the refrigerator (I don’t know why they like wiping stuff so much…smile); I don’t really expect for them to get that clean.
On the other hand, my newly turned 10 year old son is at the age where he can actually make a dent in some things and I’m loving it. The other day there was a little odor coming from my sink where my dishes were piling up. As I cleaned other areas around my house I kept thinking “I’ve GOT to get to those dishes!” So, my oldest comes in the kitchen and says “Mom, when are you going to clean those dishes? I’m tired of that smell”. On the inside I was like “Say what? Oh, no he didn’t.” But, what I said in my sweet as syrup Mommy voice was: “You are so right Asante. Thanks for reminding me that you have two hands. Roll your sleeves up and get to it.” You should have seen his face. Priceless! He actually looked as if I said I need you to clean our dishes and all of our neighbors dishes every day for the next two weeks. He tried his best to get out of it and it was at that point that I realized we have to be consistent with giving our children chores and making sure they do them.
Chores not only instill discipline and the beginnings of a strong work ethic but they also create a sense of self-sufficiency and self-respect. When you can do for yourself and others (beginning with your family) you are automatically empowered and begin to think (without even realizing it) “What else can I do?” So, let’s not sleep on the many benefits of having our children, even as young as age 2, do their chores. It’s a bigger deal than a lot of us realize.
So, now what? Stumped like I was about what exactly are the best chores to assign based on your child’s age? Check out this list that wife and homeschooling mom of four, Mandi Ehman created and give your kids some chores! 🙂
Here are some age-appropriate chores for kids of all ages:
Chores for 2 and 3 year olds
Two- and three-year-olds are especially eager to help with household chores, especially when you’re by their side. Rather than asking them to pick up toys and then walking away, make clean up fun by turning it into a game. Invite them to dust the lower shelves and furniture while you’re dusting the higher places. And praise them for pitching in with a happy heart!
Pick up toys
Put dirty clothes in hamper
Chores for 4 and 5 year olds
Four- and five-year-olds are capable of a lot more than we often give them credit for.
Put clean laundry away
Wipe window sills
Empty small trash cans
Chores for 6 and 7 year olds
Many mothers of older children say that everything gets easier when kids turn six or seven years old because they are suddenly able to really help in a way that makes a difference.
Help fold clothes
Wipe bathroom sink*
*Vinegar is an amazing natural cleaner and safer than traditional chemicals for children (and adults too!) to use.
Chores for 8 year olds and older
While eight year olds are certainly still kids and need plenty of time to play and just run free, they’re also able to help out around the house at an age appropriate level. Now is a great time to start teaching them to do laundry, wash dishes, cook simple dishes, take out the trash and more!
Take out the trash
Clean the shower or tub
BLAM Fam: How do you do chores in your household?
Aiyana Ma’at is the wife of Ayize Ma’at, mom of 4, and co-founder and owner of this website, BlackLoveAndMarriage.com, as well as PurposePusher.com. Aiyana is a Seeker, Motivator, Risk Taker, Explorer, & Overcomer. She is a self-described PurposePusher and does her best to live her life with self-awareness and intention. Some of her official titles include licensed psycho-therapist, certified marriage educator & relationship coach and speaker. She is clear that a part of the call on her life is to help bring insight and awareness to others so that they can “get out of their own way” and create the lives they want to have.