Wednesday, August 27, 2008

...Assign age appropriate chores!

Many people ask, "How do I know what chores to assign my children?" Some people mistakenly believe that their children are "too young" to help with chores. But the fact is that when they are young is usually when they want to help you. So why discourage that? Start early promoting that "team" culture in your family!

Chore charts with stickers or smiley faces are a great way to encourage younger children. "Allowances" that award a small stipend of money or privileges for chores completed is a great way to encourage older children. But beware the allowance comparison game. I don't really care what the "going rate" is for allowance. The point of giving my older children an allowance is to teach them responsibility in saving, spending, and tithing.

And now...The Charts!

Preschoolers - 2's and 3's
  • Stripping sheets off the bed on laundry day.
  • Take your clothes to the laundry room on the laundry room.
  • "Making the bed" - putting pillows and stuffed animals in place. Helping pull up the comforter. (Obviously, not tucking the sheets in neatly at this point! ) But this sets the stage that this is your bed and it is your responsibility to make it everyday.
  • Pick up toys and books at the end of the day.
  • Help feed the pets - in the simplest form - putting a scoop of food in the bowl.
  • Put napkins, spoons and forks on table before meals.
  • Put spoons and forks in dishwasher after meals.
  • Wiping up spills. Teach them that they will wipe up a spill that they cause.
  • "Dusting" - just don't expect perfection! But once again it sets the stage for later.
  • "Sweeping" - especially with a tool like a Swiffer sweeper.
Pre-K and Kindergarten
  • Anything that is on the preceding list.
  • Making the bed - at this point start working towards pulling up the sheets and straightening out the wrinkles. Just don't expect perfection. As they get older move up the standard.
  • Unloading spoons, forks, plastic and wooden items from the dishwasher. Putting them away in the proper drawers and cabinets. Hint: I moved my plates and cups to the bottom cabinets and moved my casserole dishes and breakables to the top so that my kids could unload the dishwasher. Anything they could put away was in a cabinet on the bottom that they could reach.
  • Set the table completely for meals. Hint: make a "cheat sheet" that has a picture showing the placement of the plate, napkin, cup, and utensils. The first few times have this map out so the child can follow it.
  • Clear the table completely after meals.
  • Dusting - expect more!
  • Keeping their room and playroom clean. Encourage the "one thing out at a time" rule. Make sure they understand the concept of "a place for everything and everything in its place."
  • Mopping the floor.
1st and 2nd graders
  • Anything that is on the preceding list.
  • Hint: Start a life skills book! Take a picture of how the job looks when it is done right. Take a picture of how it looks when it is NOT done right, but in a way that you have found it done before by your child when they told you it was "done right".
  • Making the bed - at this point you can expect it to be done right and keep sending them back until it is done right.
  • Taking care of pets - including giving them fresh food and water, walking the dog, and brushing them.
  • Taking out the trash.
  • Completely load and unload the dishwasher.
  • Fold and put away their own laundry.
  • Vacuuming.
3 - 5th Graders
  • Anything that is on the preceding list.
  • Hint: Update your life skills book! Add a detailed description of the chore into your life skills book.
  • Wash the car.
  • Wash the dishes by hand that need to be.
  • Help prepare meals.
  • Clean the bathrooms.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Weeding

Middle Schoolers
  • Anything that is on the preceding list.
  • Planting flowers or other gardening work.
  • Make a meal once a week.
  • Anything on the quarterly cleaning list.

High Schoolers
  • Anything that is on the preceding list.
  • Help plan the grocery list and do the shopping.
  • Operate the washer and dryer.
  • Mowing and edging the lawn.
  • Cleaning the pool

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