The Importance of Chores – Teach Your Children to Do for Themselves

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“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do themselves that will make them successful human beings.” Ann Landers

We are all familiar with the major milestones of a child’s development: first steps, first words, first tooth. But do you remember the first time your child was able to bring you a roll of toilet paper while you were stranded on the toilet?

Or the first time your child poured you a drink and you didn’t have to get up from the couch?

Suddenly, your child is able to do things FOR YOU instead of the other way around.

As your child develops these self-care and independent skills, it is easy to begin expecting him to “pitch in” and alleviate some of your household responsibility.

Chores can be a large source of stress and frustration but it is important to remember that the core purpose of implementing chores is not simply to delegate tasks – they can help to develop a sense of responsibility and self worth in your child. It should be understood that all family members, your child included, are necessary to the success of your household.

You can begin having your child help out with housework when they are as young as two, keeping in mind that there are certain tasks appropriate to differing age groups. As your child grows, you can have them continue with certain duties while building on and expanding other responsibilities.

  • 2-3 Years
    • pick up toys
    • put clothes in hamper
    • help feed pets
    • put dishes in sink or on counter
  • 4-5 Years
    • set the table
    • make their bed
    • put away laundry
    • tidy room
    • match clean socks
  • 6-8 Years
    • clean bathroom surfaces
    • help fold laundry
    • help make meals
    • collect garbage
    • vacuum or sweep
  • 9-11 Years
    • clean toilets
    • wash dishes
    • take out garbage
    • prepare simple meals
    • put away groceries
  • 12+ Years
    • cook simple meals
    • wash, dry and put away laundry
    • mop floors

Get Your Kids To Help You With Chores

It is imperative that you set parameters early on for the successful completion of a chore.

They may not perform up to snuff at first, but praise them for their strong effort and help them to make improvements.

It can be very frustrating to have to ask your child over and over again to complete their chores so consider designing a chore chart.

Sit down with your child and discuss their responsibilities and how often you expect them to be completed.

Once each task is done your child can put a check mark on the chore chart to track their progress. Just like our “to do” lists, your child will find great satisfaction knowing they accomplished a set task or list of tasks.

A chart is also helpful when organizing household duties among multiple children. It is important not to have the same child completing the same chore on a regular basis, so use charts to ensure that each child is accomplishing a variety of tasks from week to week. The charts will keep the expectation of household responsibility structured while the variety of tasks will keep your children from becoming bored or resistant.

Your child will learn a strong sense of teamwork and importance by becoming a functioning member of a household. They will garner responsibility by reaching expectations and the importance of earning by receiving rewards for their efforts.

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Chelsy Theriault
Chelsy started a parenting website when her first son was only an infant. Two kids and three ebooks later, she loves giving advice based on the trial-and-error that she’s gone through as a parent.