Household chores for kids of all ages

Can you make chores this much fun?
Can you make chores this much fun? Photo: Getty

Chores are a dirty word in some households. Depending on the age of your children it can be tricky to work out what they can and can’t help with around the house. It can also be hard to motivate children to even do them. Some parents just find it’s easier to give up on fighting with their kids and instead just do everything themselves.

I am a big believer in chores, but hopeless at the follow through. I’ve made grand statements about how everyone will only get pocket money if they clean their rooms. I’ve purchased star charts and after a week stopped monitoring tasks. I’ve even threatened to take privileges away. If I had a chore titled - Make sure my kids did their chores - then I would not get pocket money for it.

Through the angst of trying to enforce chores, I’ve learned to approach it with a different mindset. Instead, of tying chores to rewards, I’ve decided to encourage my children to help out around the house, simply because they should. Everyone who lives in my house must chip in. We are all valued members of the family and should help to keep the household running smoothly. My husband and I do a lot, so it’s fair enough our kids’ help out when they can.

Chores for kids
Chores for kids 

I want my kids to grow up knowing that not everything comes with a payment. There are some things you simply do because they need to get down. I want them to learn how to clean, cook and budget because when they leave home that’s exactly what they’ll need to do. And no matter how much we’d all love it – nobody pops up and pays us $10 bucks every time we clean the toilet. And there’s definitely no ice cream sundae waiting for us after we’ve finished putting the clothes away.

Of course there are some additional jobs that can be done for extra cash. You know those old chestnuts like cleaning the car and washing the windows. But as my kids are still young it can be hard to know what is within their capabilities. We are still trying to work that out.

That’s why I was excited when I came across this great chart the other day. It outlines age specific chores for kids. I love how it slowly builds your children’s life skills from dusting skirting boards to cooking dinner for the whole family.

We have a 3, 5, and 7-year-old and they each have different jobs. Our 3-year-old loves putting toilet rolls on the toilet roll holder, helping do shop for groceries and she’s a great help cleaning up her room. Our 5-year-old has great attention to detail. This is why she often gets the job of picking up the tiny Lego bits from all over the floor and sorting the clean clothes into piles. Our 7-year-old is awesome at making beds, putting away the cutlery and is eager to help cook meals. When they work as a team they can clean their rooms very efficiently. Bit-by-bit we’ll add more challenging chores, but at the moment they’re doing just fine.

Learning basic life skills is so vital for personal development. I’ve lived and worked with people whose parents did everything for them and they seriously struggled to get by. Just simple tasks like cooking spaghetti or washing clothes were beyond them. And then there are those people who believe everything should be done at a price. They haven’t learned to chip in for the sake of helping out or how to take initiative. By getting kids young and building up their confidence in household matters they’ll learn to venture out into the world as better people. It’ll be evidenced in the workplace, relationships and at home. 

Now if anyone has advice on encouraging my children to actually do the chores I’ve asked of them that would be most wonderful.

Do your kids do chores? What do they do and how do you get them to do their jobs without a battle?