Kids and Chores

Surprised girl with colorful sponges

I have been debating on whether or not to give my 7 year old daughter actual chores. I know some people might think that she should have plenty of chores by now but besides cleaning her room and bathroom, which rarely happens anyway, she really isn’t responsible for chores around the house. She does have an afterschool list that she needs to complete everyday when she gets home. That list consists of putting away her lunchbox, getting a snack, doing her homework, taking a shower, and a few other things. I was thinking about actual household chores that she could help me with but every time I come up with one I pretty much think of how it could go wrong. When I think about her doing the dishes as being a chore I can see either the kitchen floor covered in soapy bubbles or glass breaking in the sink. When I think about her doing laundry, I can see all of my whites turned pink and my husbands work clothes somehow shrunken with bleach stains. Not that she isn’t semi responsible but she can be so destructive without meaning to at all. I almost don’t want her to do anything around the house just so I can keep things in one piece.

I was looking into this further and found that I need to have realistic expectations of how the chore is going to be completed. For example, If she is going to do the dishes, than her job would be to wash certain things that I would put in the sink for her to wash. Or if she is going to load the dishwasher than she can do everything except turn it on; that way I can double check that it’s not going to explode. My daughter actually likes helping around the house so that is a plus! It’s her job already to pick up the living room toys.

I read that asking your child what tasks they want to do can be beneficial as well. This gives kids a chance to create their own chore list and it’s more likely that they will stick to doing them that way. Some people feel that chores should not be rewarded because they are things that the child should be doing as a part of being responsible. I definitely agree with teaching children responsibility however allowing them an extra 30 minutes of tv time before bed on the days that they have done a great job with all their chores can be a harmless incentive to ensure they are getting the job done. After all they are still kids….

I put together a list of household chores for my daughter and I modified them a bit so they fit our needs and so I know that she can manage completing them without assistance.

I decided on:

  • Mopping the kitchen floor, we use a Swiffer so it’s not like she needs to put chemicals in a bucket and wring out a mop head over and over. She actually loves cleaning the kitchen with the Swiffer so this is one that shouldn’t be a problem doing on a weekly basis.
  • Next, is Laundry, Instead of having her do all the laundry it would be a help if she just brought me all her clothes. This way I don’t have to go digging around her closet and the bathroom for her things. So her job will be to bring all her dirty clothes to the laundry room and load in the washer, then I will do the rest. After I have washed, dried, and folded her clothes I will leave them by her door in a basket and she can put them all away.
  • Next chore is Trash, when I ask her to clean her room she is pretty good about remembering to empty her trashcan. I figured I would take it one step further and have her do it weekly but also empty the bathroom trash and the trash in her brother’s room; then put new bags in them all.
  • The last household chore is Dinner. It was difficult for me to find something for her to do in the kitchen that involved mealtimes since I am the kind of cook that likes to be alone when cooking. I usually have a lot of things going on and I need the space and quiet. However, she has no problem setting the table for dinner and does a pretty good job at it so from now on I just need to remember to give her the full responsibility of setting the dinner table and also clearing the dinner table when everyone is finished.

These are chores that I feel will work best with our family.I am curious to see how long it takes to really make a routine out of it. It will take some work on my part to release the reigns to someone else, especially when that someone is 7 years old.

The Hot Mess Mom

Post originally posted July 9th, 2014

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