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Training Mother Helpers
What chores can your children do age by age?
My rule of thumb is kids can do far more than we give them credit for. If you expect a good job, they’ll give you pretty close! If you expect them to do a terrible job, you won’t be disappointed. Set your standards higher. Chores are a blessing for both the children (future adults) and the parents.
Remembering that a baby does not come directly from the womb with the ability to eat steak and potatoes, it is a learned skill. The kids who haven’t done a specific chore before do not usually just know how to do it. That’s okay; don’t let it limit you or them. Teaching someone how to do a chore doesn’t take much time, especially for children. They are quick and eager learners.
Remember, we are creatures of habit. Repetition is the key for getting something down well and doing it in the right way. Each child is unique and different. One child may easily learn to do the laundry while another struggles for months. Again, repetition is the key. Don’t give up. These are necessary skills for life.
We do not consider daily personal chores as “chores”. Responsibilities such as: brushing teeth, combing hair, getting dressed, saying prayers, making bed, tidying up the room are not put on chore charts and are expected to be a part of each person’s routine.
The handi-vac is a great tool for little kids doing cleaning. When we give them the stairs to vacuum or other little odd jobs they can pull it off the charger and easily vacuum something. I highly recommend owning a mini-vacuum when training and having your younger children helping with the chores and housework.
You’ll notice we only categorize the kids from ages 4 to 8 and 8 and up. I firmly believe kids can do what they put their minds to and what we except them to do. If we expect great things from them, they know they can do it. We as parents do more limiting of our children by perception of “rules and age limits.” When we do this our children miss out on valuable life skills that could be taught at an earlier age. The earlier they learn the faster they master these responsibilities and skills. The more practice in the basic skills the more free time they will have later in learning other skills valuable for living their life’s mission.
In our home, we do not allow limitations to get in the way, so if a child age 8 is ready to start washing dishes– we give her/him the job. Here are chores we have our children ages 4-8 do regularly or semi-regularly. As parents we take part when we can, but this is the children’s training time and we respect that and hold to it. When we do step in it is to re-train, enjoy time working alongside the child, or to inspire motivation.
Ages 4-8 usually do:
- Wipe down table, chairs and benches.
- Clean windows
- Clean sinks
- Clean mirrors
- Fold socks
- Put away folded clothes
- Organize bookshelves
- Clean out clutter under sinks
- Clean up and organize closets
- Water plants
- Feed animals
- Sweep the front porch
- Clean up the backyard
- Clean up clutter off the back deck
- Weed the garden
- Wash walls
- Wipe down cupboards
- Vacuum stairs
- Clean sinks
- Wipe and sanitize counters
- Clean toilets
- Polish wood
- Empty dishwasher
- Dry dishes
Chores for kids 8 and up
- Make meals
- Help make shopping lists
- Organize and clean pantry
- Clean and organize cupboards
- Wash dishes
- Do laundry- all parts including folding and putting away
- Sweep and mop floors
- Organize linen closets
- Clean bathrooms: toilet, sink, tub, shower, mirrors, floors, etc.
- We assign them a room to keep picked up during the day.
- Help clean the garage
- Take out trash
- Help tend to younger children
- And any of the chores from the first list.
Each of these chores are put on a sticky note and onto a dry erase board. We switch them around each week. The older kids do some on the first list, but we don’t add things from the second list to the younger kids’ chart unless they are ready.
Children can do much more than the average parent gives them credit for or allows them to do. There you have it—the list of responsibilities we use in our family with great success. Training your child to be a Mother Helper is also training them to have and to master valuable life-long skills.