What We Do: Children’s Chores

I am starting a new Motherhood Mondays series on Instastories next week and in preparation I had so many questions from readers about what kind of chores my children do and how that looks in our family. Today I am excited to partner with The Kid Who Can to share those with y’all along with some great products that make introducing chores to children simple and fun.

The Kid Who Can is a company that encourages children to take responsibility for themselves and their home. I am all about this because I believe – and I believe this more and more having a large family – that everyone in the family needs to take part in keeping a home neat and orderly.

I know many of us either have housekeepers or have the “I can do it better myself” mentality – or we think our little ones aren’t old enough to really make a dent in the chores – so we don’t take the time to teach them properly. But I believe we are doing children a disservice by not training them to help the family unit run smoothly. It’s important for them to serve their family in this way. As my husband says, we constantly have to remind our children that it’s not all about them;).

Young children are quite capable of doing more than we often give them credit for when it comes to chores. Many are eager to please their parents and gain a bit of responsibility. They just require a bit of training, which is where The Kid Who Can can help!

First, though, I wanted to share some of the things we expected our girls to do at different ages. When I was a younger mom hearing from moms with older children helped so much to give me ideas and figure out what was best for our family. Every child is different, of course, but this might help you gauge what they can expect from your children.

 Chore Expectations Before Age 5

(Keep reading for a breakdown of their daily/weekly chores.)

Toddlers – We started by teaching them to tidy up their toys after playing. The key is moving beyond singing the “clean up, clean up” jingle together to getting them to clean up a small area by themselves, generally when they two-ish years old. Not having an overwhelming amount of toys and having a simple system for toy storage makes this easier. And make sure they follow through. If children know you are just going to pick them up eventually your training efforts will be futile.

Three years old – We expanded from expecting them to clean up an area of toys to tidying up their room/playroom. Note: children have to be taught how to clean their room.They don’t innately know these things! Show them how to pick up scrap pieces of paper and put in the trash can. Show them exactly where the toys where they go. Make the bed together and demonstrate how to pull up each sheet and smooth out wrinkles on bed. Again, having fewer toys and a simple system for organization makes this easier.

Four years old – All of the above, plus make their beds. Yes, four year olds can make their beds; some three years old can! It will take them some time to perfect so don’t make them feel bad if it looks sloppy in the beginning. Just keep encouraging them. Keep showing how to pull up sheets on either side, where the pillows go, etc. And always praise a job well done.

If you are just starting off with children’s chores, or need to reintroduce these daily habits, The Original Chore Chart can help. It includes five helpful products to streamline the chore process, including a chart to simply check off when chores are completed. 

I used to make a morning chart for my oldest daughter so she would know what to do before school each morning. It soothed her fears about forgetting something and helped avoid so many meltdowns on school mornings. Now my five year old really likes the (much cuter!) morning and evening checklists that come in The Original Chore Chart System. They prompt her to remember everything I have been teaching her.

kids morning checklist

Because the checklists have simple illustrations they are also great for children as young as two or three. And their “What I’m Wearing” notepad (sold separately) is great for planning out clothes each week. (My girls wear uniforms but if they didn’t this would be so helpful!)

The Original Chore Chart also includes an adorable table setting checklist. I have it pinned to the bulletin board in our kitchen.

Because so many asked, here is a breakdown of my girls’ current daily and weekly chores. (They are 10, 8 and 5 years old) I don’t have a complicated or rotating chore chart system because frankly I don’t have time! My girls know their daily chores and on Saturday I will just tell them extra chores that need to be done. I switch out who does what occasionally. See below for some examples.

Daily Chores  (They are expected to do these things everyday!)

  • Tidy room in morning/evening
  • Make bed
  • Put clothes in hamper
  • Keep bathroom tidy, including wiping down sink and counter if wet or dirty
  • Empty dishwasher before school (one does top rack/one does bottom rack/my 5 year old does utensils)
  • Take care of dog (one feeds, one gives water)
  • Set table (I will usually ask whoever is in the kitchen to do this; sometimes it’s one of them, sometimes they do together)

Weekly Chores  (These aren’t set in stone; I tell them what to do based on what needs to be done that week!) 

  • Empty trash cans (My younger two will often do this together)
  • Windex french doors/glass countertops
  • Water plants
  • Scrub spots of walls
  • Sweep/vacuum (my oldest)
The Original Chore Chart gives lots of ideas for “extra” or weekly chores for young children.

A few side note: I am always trying to find the right balance between expecting quality work but also having grace when things aren’t exactly to my cleaning standards. Just like with their homework, I tell them it’s better to do it right and neat the first time, rather than spending more time having to redo something later. Good habits start early!

Also, we don’t pay our children for chores but believe they should do them because they are a part of our family. We found that tying allowances to chores made it easier for them to say, “Oh I don’t care about getting my allowance this week.”

So if you need a way to keep track or to help them feel excited to start on the path to chores the Chore Chart might be just the thing for your family. My five year old wants to be just like her older sisters to this little checklist in helping out so this chart has been so fun for her.

And a little tip when your children start complaining about all the chores they have to do: break out the classic literature. It is so eye opening for them to read what was expected of children before our busy, modern times. Sewing, mending, sweeping, dusting, cooking, farm work. Emptying the dishwasher seems like nothing compared to what they had to do in The Courage of Sarah Noble or Little House on the Prairie.  (Good for ages 4-10). I am sure my girls roll their eyes when I remind them how much was expected of Laura and Mary and how good they have it in the 21st century;).

One more product I had to share from this cute company that have been so helpful in our home are these Remember Your Cups. Perfect for parties and playdates, too! Each child picks their own color. No more confusion about whose cup is whose!

color coded cups

So what do you think of my girls’ chores? Too much? Too little? I would love to hear if this post inspired you to expect more of your children. And share any tips you have for getting children to do chores below.

Thanks so much to The Kid Who Can for sponsoring this post!

Photos: Sweet Memory Photography

 

Shop the Post:

My cardigan // my striped tee // daughter’s tunic (c/o Kate and Libby)

Office Details in this post //

The Original Chore Chart // Remember Your Cups

What I’m Wearing Pad Notepad

 

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4 thoughts on “What We Do: Children’s Chores

  1. This is so helpful. So empowering for our littles, and helpful for us! Have to remind myself that just because I can do it better/faster right now doesn’t mean it’s easier in the long run. And it robs my kids of things they can master and take pride in!

  2. This is so great! So how do your kids earn money? Would love to implement the Spend-Save-Give jars, but if they aren’t getting paid for chores (that failed here), what are they doing for that?

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