We were invited over to a friend's home for dinner a couple of weeks ago. He and his wife have 3 darling children. During our conversation about parenting he asked his son, "Why did mommy and daddy have kids?" His 5-year old son said, "So we can work!" Our friend continued and said, "That's right! We don't have a cow for you to milk or feed so we have you do other things instead to keep our family running."
He has a point.
As a former high school teacher, I was amazed by how little responsibility my students had as members of their family. I performed a little informal survey. Were they required or expected to clean their rooms, make their beds, do their own laundry, do the dishes, etc.? Surprisingly, no! WHAT??!! What happened?? These are grown people who are going to be living on their own in a year or two and don't know how to start a dishwasher?
All I know is that I'm starting my kids early. My 3-year old LOVES to clean. I'm running with it! I got her a tote ($1 at Target) with her own cleaning supplies so that she can help me. It was cheap and easy to put together.
In the tote:
- Spray bottle ($1 at Walmart) filled with water
- Small broom and dustpan ($2 at the grocery store)
- Mini squeegee ($2 at the grocery store)
- Extra rag
- Scouring pad (6 for $1 at the grocery store) which we will NOT use on the dishes.
So, what can your child clean?
Here's a list of things he/she can clean (or should learn how to clean, or know how to clean) at each age:
2-3 Years Old
Pick up toys, books
Clean glass tables
Wipe up messes
Take laundry to laundry room
Put clothes in hamper
Dust with sock on hands
Push in chairs after meals
4 Years Old
Take dishes to sink after meals
Put groceries away
5 Years Old
Empty garbage cans
Clean up after pet
6 Years Old
Fold and put away laundry
7 Years Old
8 Years Old
Sweep floors and patios
9 Years Old
Vacuum interior of car
10 Years Old
Do own laundry completely
11 Years Old
12 Years Old
Iron own clothes
Other Ideas to Consider:
- Teach your child how to do each task. Show them how to do it. You may have to show them more than once. Be patient and accept their efforts, even if the job isn't perfect.
- Don't stereotype the chores. (ex. mom cooks, dad mows the lawn, kids clean the bathrooms, etc.) Take turns doing all the chores. It will only empower your child when they get older.
- Don't pay your child for every chore they do. Children need to do certain chores because they are part of the family. Children can earn money by doing extra chores or tasks. This helps eliminate the sense of "entitlement."
- Hang a chore chart to see what has been done/needs to be done. If your child can't read, draw pictures to represent the chores. Check off the list with stickers.
- Before bedtime, do a "15-minute pick-up." Everyone must participate for those full 15 minutes- picking up and putting away things that are out of place and straightening up the rooms. We like to see how much we can do before the timer runs out.
- Click HERE to print cleaning cards. Each card is a checklist of things to be cleaned in a room of the house. These are great to pass out to your children to make sure they don't miss anything. I love these cards!
This post was part of THE SHADY PORCH ROCK 'N SHARE! For other great ideas, visit THE SHADY PORCH!