Many hands make light work, but this isn’t the only reason to enlist your child’s services doing household chores.
Being part of ‘The Clean Team’ makes your child feel valued, with special responsibilities and real-world experiences, and as they work their way up from toddler tidying to tween laundry, your home-helper will learn the skills they need for life.
The trick is to assign jobs from an early age – starting with small, supervised tasks that evolve into unprompted cleaning bonanzas (well, that’s the idea, anyway!).
Teamwork, encouragement and praise will all motivate your job-sharer, and it’s important to match tasks to their abilities. Here’s how.
Chores for ages two to three
Your toddler is a busy little person who likes to look and learn, so instead of passing them a push toy, you can put that energy and interest to work with these jobs:
- Tidying up toys and books
- Dusting skirting boards with socks on their hands
- Dry mopping a small area
- Putting clothes into the laundry basket
- Helping you make the bed
Chores for ages four to five
By preschool age, your child can offer some expertise. Their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are on the up, and they’re better able to focus on the task at hand and remember instructions.
If your preschooler has mastered a toddler task (or two), they might be able to work solo, and they can also lend a hand:
- Sorting laundry for you to wash or fold
- Making their bed (unsupervised)
- Helping you prepare meals
- Helping to set the table and clear it
- Bringing in light shopping bags
- Dusting with a cloth
Chores for ages six to nine
Your schoolchild is capable of great things, and on the home front, this means more responsibility and less supervision.
There might be a little push back as your child decides that ‘choring is boring’ or unfairly onerous, so give them a degree of choice in the jobs they do.
Some families use pocket money as a carrot for doing specific chores, and whether your child is keen to work or trying to shirk, their job list may be expanded to include:
- Preparing their breakfast and snacks
- Helping you make and serve meals (including school lunches)
- Feeding pets
- Watering plants
- Helping to load and empty the dishwasher
- Wiping the table
- Putting away their washing
- Cleaning their room (supervised a little)
- Putting away shopping
- Wet mopping
Chores for ages 10 to 13
By this age, chores are a way of life, and your pre-teen is pretty responsible.
Ticking off a chore list can help to develop their self-reliance and get jobs done with minimal reminding. And task-wise, your tween should be able to whip through their old jobs and brush up on these new ones:
- Washing dishes and loading the dishwasher (unaided)
- Preparing easy meals
- Using the washing machine and dryer
- Taking out the rubbish
- Washing the car
When your tween becomes teen, they’re capable of most adult chores (hello bathroom cleaning!), and a bright future awaits. The ability to cook, clean, organise and care for things will enable your child to live well at home and away, armed with a can-do attitude. And that, dear parents, is a job well done!
Childcare centres also teach essential life skills to littlies, so search Toddle to see what’s on offer near you.
See more on the corkboard
Working with Children Checks for Child Care
Child care workers must be cleared before they can launch into looking after kids, and every state and territory has its own laws in place.
Spelling for Kids - Teaching Kids to Spell
At home, you can create a spelling bee buzz with fun activities and ready-made resources, so let’s take a quick lesson in spelling for kids.