Help! How to get my child loving chores and helping at home?
Updated: May 6
Earlier this month, I was working with a client. Their questions:
How do I get my 7 year old to help out at home?
What chores can I ask my 3 year old to do?
If you'd like to know about the 'how', then take a read of this article I wrote a year ago.
But let's take a look at Chores by age - At the end you'll find a handy downloadable chart that's yours to keep!
Before we start - here's the 'why' : Both Maria Montessori and the psychologist Rudolf Dreikurs encourage us to give children responsibilities:
Maria Montessori says “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
It might surprise you to see what chores a two or three year old is capable of doing, and this really is a critical age for family jobs. Young children LOVE to help, they really want to get involved in anything that you are doing, so take the opportunity to have them help. When you're putting clothes into the machine, have them put some in too, and then let them press the buttons to turn it on.
I think the same is true of 4-6 year olds - they still love to help out with chores, and be given their own responsibilities. Give them sub jobs - a part of something bigger that you are doing.
And, if you decide to start pocket money at this age, make sure you don't link it to whether or not their chores are done.
The other morning my 7 year old woke up and, before breakfast, reorganised the shelves by the front door, sorting out everyone's COVID masks into separate boxes. She then cleaned her muddy shoes, and put everyone's shoes paired neatly on shelves! I'm not saying this happens every day(!) but when children belong, they want to contribute to the family by helping out.
My two boys are 10 and 12, and recently we were gifted a Hello Fresh food box - with all the ingredients measured out, and easy to follow recipes. It was a wonderful idea - the recipe was clearly explained and so I could allow them to take the lead in learning a new meal. We loved every meal so we'll definitely be introducing the recipes into our favourites.
Finally - older teens - here is your opportunity to prepare them for independent living - get them to plan the menu for the week and shop for any missing ingredients, teach them how you manage the family budget, have them changing light bulbs, doing odd jobs or babysitting for neighbours. That way there's an opportunity for earning extra pocket money too.
Finally - here's that chores chart I promised!