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“The Value of Chores: What, When, and Why?”

What kind of chores?

Here are some suggestions, though you know your child best. Remember that kids are more capable than we give them credit for, so ask them which chores they think they can do. They just might surprise you.
Ages 2-3:
Hang wet towel on hook, put toys in bins, put trash in the garbage can, throw dirty clothes in hamper, wipe up spills, help put away groceries, dust the coffee table
Ages 4-6:
Help fold towels and socks, sort dark and light laundry, assist in meal planning, wash vegetables, help to empty dishwasher, feed the pets, clean room, use whisk broom and pan
Ages 7-10:
Use an alarm clock, prepare own snack, load and empty dishwasher, put away clean laundry, complete homework, read to younger siblings, cook simple foods, water plants, make their bed
Ages 10-12:
Manage an allowance, clean their room, operate washer and dryer, mow the lawn, cook a meal, wash the car, babysit younger sibling, haul garbage and recycling cans to curb
Ages 13 and Up:
Every single thing you can do. (Legally.)

When should we start to assign chores?

Today. Now. Not many parents of grown kids tell me “I wish I had given my kids fewer chores when they were young”. Most wish they had given their children more chores and more responsibilities. So start today, no matter your child’s age. It’s never too late.
I understand that many families do not assign chores during the school year, because their children are so busy with school and activities. (In those cases, I still think a few small chores should be assigned as well as their challenging and time consuming homework.) But now the school year is almost over – so let the chores begin!

Why are chores important?

Because a family is a team, and the team works better when everyone pitches in.
Because assigning chores says that you believe in your children, you have confidence in them, and their help is needed and appreciated.
Because completion of chores make children feel capable, valued, needed, and helpful.
Because chores help children learn time management, the value of hard work, and how to work as a team.
Because successful adults, which we are now raisin know how to do laundry, make beds, empty dishwashers, mow lawns, care for pets and plants, work with others, and clean up their own mess.

It is our job to teach them how to do these things, and more, one small step and one small (or big) argument at a time. So get started today with chores being a part of your child’s life. They, and their future adult partner, will thank you later.

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