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The Hood Magazine

Age Appropriate Chores

03/24/2016 11:55AM ● By Hood Magazine
By Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services, LSS


Just last week, my free spirited, loving and silly eight-year-old bounced down the hall, grinning ear to ear. "I am the best pet care person in the world!" I had asked her to feed and water the cat and she had taken it upon herself to also take care of both dogs, brush all 3 pets' hair and even put the cat's favorite blanket in the laundry. I want my daughters to be confident, caring and responsible adults and experience has shown that asking them to take care of some age appropriate household chores has contributed to that goal. However, that success isn't happening by accident.

There are some important factors to consider:

Safety­ – Be sure that the chore you ask your child to take care of doesn't create an unsafe situation. For example, I do not ask my daughter to go get the mail because our mailbox is across a busy street.

Set them up for success – When beginning a new chore, teach your child what you expect and give them some tips and tools to help. If setting the table is one of the tasks, you may need a step-stool to make it easier to get the plates from the cabinets. Choose activities that are age-appropriate and challenging but not difficult. Maturity and ability may be more important factors than age when choosing activities.  You can build on what your child is already able to do and add additional responsibility over time.


Time – There are some tasks that my oldest is capable of that we don't ask her to do because school, church and music activities fill up much of her time and she would have no time left to relax or play. If there isn't time for your child to complete the task, he or she may become discouraged or frustrated.

Encouragement –If you ask your child to do a chore, do not do it again after they are finished. For example, my daughter is sometimes asked to fold laundry. She may not fold as neatly as I would but she does the best she can so I never re-fold the clothes. Thank your child specifically for a job well done when appropriate.

 

Motivation – The great thing about chores for children is that many of the tasks that you ask them to do have a natural reward or built-in motivation. Toddlers love time with a parent so helping a parent with household tasks is fun. As children get older they value independence and the opportunity to accomplish something on their own. Chores can also help families develop an allowance system. In our home, some household tasks are expected from each family member but other "extras" can be done to earn allowance. This provides the kids with the opportunity to learn money management and the value of working hard.

‘Hood has provided a chart to help you come up with some chores that your child may be ready for. A child doesn't need to be doing all of the chores that they are capable of but you may find an idea or two that could get you started. Have fun!