Keeping up with day-to-day household duties can be overwhelming for anyone. Throw a bunch of tiny humans you need to keep alive while doing it and it can feel nearly impossible some days. You don’t need to do it alone! You have a built-in crew to help you. Teach your kids how to take care of their home with these age appropriate chores.
If your house is anything like mine, then often it looks like a tornado has just come through. Between the toys, the endless amounts of laundry and the daily house chores that need to get done, this momma needs some help. As I say to the kid’s time and time again: “it’s not only my mess and it is not only my responsibility to keep the house tidy”. Mommy needs help!
Of course, they disagree and don’t want to help. Do you blame them? As far as they’re concerned, the mess isn’t their problem. But someone did, in fact, make the mess and, like it or not, everyone needs to pitch in to tidy up. I understand, they are little and would much rather be playing then cleaning but we all live here and we all contribute to the mess, so we all need to do our share. Again, not words they care to hear but the truth is, I am only one person and can’t possibly take it all on myself.
Now here’s the challenge: What is the best was to encourage children to help out around the house? It’s a question that I have struggled with for a while and I have tried many different tactics to inspire my little helpers. Some haven’t worked and some have, at least for a little while. The most successful solution that I have come across for my older children has been a sticker chart. (My little one is still too little to understand this but just follows along with the big kids). We bought coloured stickers and have assigned each colour to a responsibility. For example, orange is for making their beds in the morning, red is to put away their clean laundry and so on.
My husband decided to take it one step further by assigning a monetary value to each sticker awarded to the kids. At the end of each week, we add up our stickers and that money goes in a jar or towards buying a book of their choice. I am not a big believer in bribing the kids in order for them to help out but I decided to go along with it and see what happens. To my surprise, the kids loved the idea and it really encouraged them to do their share of housework.
For our sticker charts, I use calendars that I downloaded and printed. Then I add each child’s name and their favorite colours to make it more engaging and personalized. Now let’s talk stickers. I like to keep it simple and so I found coloured stars but maybe your kids are motivated by their favourite characters, or hearts or circles – you do you.
To keep things even more interesting for the kids, I switch up the chores each month. At first, I just repeated the chores from month to month and they got tired of the idea and gave up altogether. We also got crafty making their own money jars where they collect their weekly earnings. I provided them each with a mason jar and some magazines and made a fun art project out of it.
Below I have put together a list of chores appropriate for children 6 and under that I have used and plan on using in the coming months. Feel free to use these for your very own chore charts or as inspiration. for your own lists. Every household is different and not all chores may be useful for you and your family but I hope they spark some ideas for you.
Chores For Every Age Group
- Clean up toys
- Feed the dog/cat
- Put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper
- Help move clothes from washing machine to the dryer
- Dust with rag
- Any of the above
- Clear the table after a meal
- Put away clean clothes
- Fold (or match up) socks
- Put away toys they have played with
- Make their bed
- Set/clear the table
- Water the plants
- Put away groceries
- Any of the above chores
- Collect garbage
- Empty dishwasher
- Clean their room
- Help prepare meals
- Wipe down the table after meals
- Help with gardening
- Shovel the walkway
- Take out the garbage and recycling
- Empty lunch box and knapsack after school
There are lots of chores that kids can help out with. Some they can do independently while others, they need some supervision. Even though some of the chores seem mundane, I can assure you that anything helps. At the very least, you are teaching them to be responsible and helpful. As we all know, to keep a home tidy and neat takes a lot of work and it definitely should not be one person’s responsibility but shared amongst all members of the family. My ultimate goal is to teach them from a young age that they need to do their share, the mess is not going to magically disappear and the house is not going to keep itself clean. After all, mommy is not a magician with magical cleaning powers!
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.