I remember doing chores growing up, as I’m sure you do as well. It wasn’t always a big deal, they weren’t always labeled as chores. They were mostly things we did around the house because Mom asked us to. (Or yelled at us when we didn’t do it, which is something I understand now more than ever before.)
My children have been doing chores for years. I don’t even think they realized they were chores. They learned to put their clothes in the hamper, to put their dishes in the sink, and to clean up their toys from an early age. After a while, they were helping wipe down the table, putting away their clean clothes, and helping with other tasks.
They have been doing daily chores consistently for about two years now, and then they started asking for money for them. I’ve thought long and hard about paying allowance for chores. I’m pretty torn on it, as living in a house with other people requires you to contribute. But on the other hand, we want to teach them about financial responsibility, and they need money to do that. So we compromise. They receive a set amount of money each month if they do their chores without complaining. If they go above and beyond on anything else, they can earn more money.
Here are the things I don’t have to do anymore, because my children take care of it. At this point, I barely have to remind them. Some days it’s a “Please do your chores before dinner,” and other days I have to be more specific. But overall, I can safely say these things are no longer given much thought in my daily life.
Abigail (age 8) has the chore of laundry. This was really great when we started this in Arizona and she had time in the morning to start a load before school. Now she often has to start it after school, or I start it and she switches it over. She knows how much soap to put in, what setting to put it on, and she’s good about not putting certain things in the dryer.
Note: I still sort the clothes. I fold most of the time, though I frequently enlist the children to help learn to fold their own clothes. And now everyone, including G, puts away their own clothes.
Emptying the Dishwasher
Declan (age 10) empties the dishwasher. Our routine has shifted so that he frequently does this when he arrives home from school. He puts away everything he can, stacks things he can’t reach on the counter and lets me know when he’s done. He knows where everything goes, understands that the shaker ball goes in the shaker cup, and is diligently safe about knives. He’s even teaching G to help, as G will put away plastic plates and cups.
Note: I do have to load the darn thing. I hate loading the dishwasher. I often convince my husband to do this for me.
The trash and recycling both come on the same day and both kids are great about reminding me. The kitchen trash is just a bit too heavy and the trash can just a bit too tall for anyone to take care of this chore on their own, but that doesn’t mean they don’t help at all. Both kids help gather trash from the house on Wednesday mornings. They can both replace the trash bag in the kitchen, and they both help bring out large recycling to the bin.
Note: I find the fact that they remember trash day, even though it changed when we moved, to be impressive. I often forget.
Putting Away Shoes
For some reason, having shoes spread out around the house drives me absolutely crazy. Luckily, this is something all my kids can help with. G is great at returning his shoes (and everyone else’s) to the closet. He takes off his shoes, places them on the shoe shelf, and closes the door. At least three times a day. He can help put away other shoes as well. It’s a small thing, but it truly makes the main part of the house feel clean when there are no shoes out.
Note: If you can’t find your shoes in our house, start with G. He also likes to put them in other closets.
Feeding the Dog
Our dog, Delilah is now seven years old. She’s pretty low maintenance, loves our children and thoroughly enjoys the craziness which is our life. Early on, I decided I did not want the added chore of feeding the dog. It’s often stressful enough to feed the humans in my life. So as soon as possible, we delegated the job. Declan and Abi share this job, as it isn’t time-consuming or difficult, and they can both reach the dog food.
Note: They still regularly need a reminder to feed the dog, but one step at a time.
What chores do you want to teach your children to do?