Growing up I wasn’t given a lot of responsibilities. My room was always a mess and I never had a lot of respect for my possessions, something that pains me as an adult to look back on. When I was around 10 years old, my Mother had surgery and I was left responsible for doing the dishes, vacuuming and other household chores. This was as complete shock to my system and it was a definitely a hard adjustment. I place no blame on my parents, that isn’t what this is about…but I feel things would have been so much different then and my struggles with chores even now.
It’s my firm belief as an adult that children NEED chores. Even little children. Even my 2 year old. This wasn’t something that I have always believed. I, as a young Mom started out my parenting journey repeating a lot of the same learned parenting traits/habits I had picked up during my childhood. I thought that it was super necessary for my kids to not only be spoiled beyond reason, but for them to not lift a finger. After the birth of my middle child, I started realizing that this was not only detrimental to my children, but even the very structure and harmony of our family life but wasn’t sure what to do at the time.
Recently I sat down and did some thinking, some talking to Grandparents who unlike me, grew up working on their family farms and learning the responsibility that so many of us even as adults today, are lacking. And what I realized, is that I was underestimating my children. By thinking that they couldn’t handle their own responsibilities, I was setting them up for failures later on in life.
My children needed chores. They needed to learn that they have the abilities within themselves to be self reliant someday. So we implemented a chore list ( we check out other chore charts online and added our own ideas to suit our particular needs as well ). I admit it wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t. We still struggle with my middle son’s extreme dislike of cleaning or anything chore related, but that’s ok. Our house may still be a mess, it may still be a struggle, but they are still young, they are still learning.
Today my 11 year old daughter cooked us a complete breakfast. Eggs, bacon, biscuits and sweet tea! She organized our toy area ,vacuumed two rooms and did a load of laundry. Without me asking. My two year old dressed himself–pants, shirt, socks AND shoes ( on the right feet! ), cleared some toys and helped me wipe down the furniture. My middle son made less progress…he emptied the bathroom trashcans and worked on cleaning his VERY messy room, and honestly, he didn’t get done, but we will get there. It’s not too late. We have set expectations and I know that he will meet them and will be SO proud of himself and feel the confidence that comes from doing things for himself.
I can see so much more confidence in all three of them already. The look of pride when they accomplish something all on their own. They may not always enjoy it, but that’s ok. It really is.
Our Age Appropriate Chore list : ( All of these lists are in addition to the previous )
2-3 ( In my opinion, this does depend on the maturity of the age when this young )
- Dress Themselves
- Feed/Water A Pet
- Dust and Wipe Down Furniture
- Pick Up & Organize Toys Into Bins
- Throw Away Trash
- Empty Dryer with Help
- Empty Small Trash Cans
- Clean Their Rooms
- Sort and Fold Smaller Pieces of Laundry
- Sweep Small Areas
- Help Set the Table
- Organize Cans In the Pantry ( according the photos on the cans )
- Help Load the Dishwasher
- Put Laundry Away in Their Drawers
- Help Put Away Groceries
- Make Small Meals- Such as Sandwiches, small snacks, etc.
- Get the Mail
- Make their Beds completely
- Help With Outdoor Chores
- Help Unload Groceries from the Car
- Clean the Toilet with Toilet Brush
- Wipe Down the Tub and Sinks
- Take Garbage to the Dumpster
- Cook Entire Simple Meals
- Wash and Dry/Hang Dry Laundry
- Help with Younger Siblings
- Preparation for larger jobs such as babysitting, more difficult yard work, etc.