For many millennials and older generations, doing chores was a daily part of life. Many Gen X parents also share how they grew up doing chores before school. Things like fetching water, milking cows, and taking livestock to graze were run-of-the-mill daily duties. But with how modernised and automated current life has become, there aren’t many intensive chores to help children learn responsibility.
Benefits of assigning children responsibilities
1. They give kids a sense of contribution
Everyone has an inherent need to feel needed or useful. For adults, this comes from work or parental duties or being helpful to their friends. But for kids, there may not be enough activities to make them feel like they’re accomplishing much outside of school and sports. But, giving your kids chores that can be shared with the whole family or among their siblings or friends can help them feel like they’ve contributed to something.
2. Life skills
As a grown-up, plenty of life skills come in handy. But knowing them when you’re younger can help you manage things better. Teaching kids how to cook, wash up, or budget. These are not necessarily taught in schools and can offer them a leg up when they move out.
Teaching kids how to work with others helps them learn how to collaborate. Accountability to others teaches children how to step up and become problem solvers. They are also more likely to be kind to others and willing to go out of their way to help those struggling.
Chores teach children to respect. Meeting their parents’ or guardians’ expectations helps children maintain respect. They learn to ensure they don’t cross your boundaries and do their duties without being told. In addition, they become proactive and anticipate how to ensure chores are done most effectively. They also develop a healthy work ethic and learn to communicate when they need to reschedule their chores.
Chores that are suitable for children
1. Toddlers aged 3-5
These are really young kids who can’t do more demanding chores. But they can still take on a few responsibilities. Instruct them to put away their toys after they’re done playing as soon as they can talk and listen. They can also learn the importance of scheduling, and teach them to take their dishes back to the kitchen when they’re done eating or drinking. Kids at this age can absorb a lot from watching the actions of the adults around them. You can teach them how to be responsible by showing behaviour they can emulate.
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You can also buy toy versions of mops, brushes, and other clean-up equipment to show them that chores can be fun. When they use them along with you, they gain an appreciation for cleaning up after themselves.
2. Children aged 5-8
Pre-tweens are old enough to understand instructions. They also have more advanced hand-eye coordination and can perform various tasks without supervision. One of the best tasks for kiddos this age is wiping down counters and tables after meals or during clean-up. At this age, they can also bathe themselves. The older ones can help wash dishes, but if they struggle with washing, they can put away the utensils in their drawers. They can also watch the cooking so when they’re finally old enough to cook, it’s easier for them.
3. Children aged 8-11
At this age, children can do chores such as making their beds without assistance, straightening their rooms, washing dishes, making themselves, and being sent to the shops. They can also help buy a few groceries and put them away. They can also help prepare meals. At this point, children have acquired unique personalities, which you can help hone. You can get them building blocks or knitting equipment if they enjoy working with their hands. This is an age where they can also start doing minimal laundry and folding their clothes.
4. Children aged 11-14
Children this age are old enough to know what they’re capable of. They don’t need constant reminders. A chore chart can help them map out their duties, and they can arrange their social life around chores. At this point, they are also capable of all duties around the house. They are self-reliant and can be tasked with watching their younger siblings. If you’re comfortable, this is an age where you can give your child a cell phone they can manage independently. Where possible, giving them an allowance can help them learn to manage a small income, budget for personal effects, and even start a savings account.
Read also: Parenting: 6 Mistakes To Avoid When Teaching Children About Money
5. Teens aged 14 and older
At this age, teens are completely self-reliant. Many go to boarding school for high school. When they return home, they can continue with all chores and help them prepare for when they eventually move out independently. By this point, teens can be tasked with all the main chores in the home, such as deep cleaning, babysitting, making meals, taking care of pets independently, and grocery shopping. They have also formed their own systems for doing chores, and you may clash with them because you have your way of doing things.
Read also: 6 Tips For Parenting Teenagers
This is the time to negotiate with them and perhaps let them figure out their own path to accomplish their tasks. As long as everything is clean and neat to your standards, they can do their chores how they see fit. At 18, after high school, some can get jobs that don’t interfere with any further schooling they may attend. Ultimately, all the life skills they’ve acquired will help them become self-actualised adults.
PS. It is important for both boys and girls to learn to do chores around the house. The idea that some chores are specifically for girls and women is an outdated concept.
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