Daily Chores for Children

Why, oh why, did it take me so long to implement this in our home?  My children have always been responsible for cleaning up their toys.  They’ve always had to put their dishes on the counter.  They’ve always had responsibilities around this place.  I just failed to PUT IT ON PAPER and make it clear as day.  At six, five, and two, they are amazingly competent little people who are eager to help!  They don’t require bribing or nagging at this point… just something to remind them.  A plastic-coated chart on the fridge is all it takes to nudge them in the right direction.


If you’re ready to assign some tasks to your little angels, here are a few quick (if obvious) tips:


  • Choose tasks that are developmentally appropriate.  Toddlers cannot be expected to do the same jobs as school-age children.
  • Choose tasks that actually MATTER to you.  I have a “thing” about books being left scattered about.  So one of our chores is shelving books, save for one to read that night.  If this doesn’t matter to you, don’t put it on the list!  For me, I don’t expect the kitchen floor to be swept after each meal… once a day works for me.  I can ignore the Cheerios for that long. ;)
  • If you’re picky, don’t be afraid to leave some things to YOU.  I make the beds.  Because I’m fussy about it.  There will come a day when I am able to teach them how to make them properly but, for now, I’d rather just do it than go behind them each day.
  • Choose jobs that help the household run smoothly.  Kids are really good at wiping up– and they tend to enjoy it!  By having one child wiping the toilet seat, one the tub rim, and one the sink each and every day, I am guaranteed a bathroom that always looks pretty decent.
  • Be specific.   To me, straightening couch cushions and pillows falls under the large umbrella of “tidy living room.”  But my children are not me.  I listed them together on our chart, but it’s all spelled out: “Tidy Living Room– pick up toys, straighten cushions, socks & shoes put away.”
  • Break it up.  Splitting chores into two or three times of day helps make it more manageable for children.  A big ol’ to-do list could be overwhelming.
  • Praise, praise, praise.  Children are some of the best workers in the world.  They truly glow from your approval.  Be generous with it.  Encourage their efforts.  Show off their successes.  Brag about them to your spouse.
  • Find a chart that works for your family.  I simply LOVE the Morning High Five and Evening High Five system that Jessica includes in her ebook.  My children know that, once they complete their five jobs, they can come to Mom and/or Dad and receive a big high five and a “Good job!”  Even my two-year old can understand this system, but it’s not too babyish for my first grader.  I highly recommend it!


How about you?  Do your children have regular responsibilities?  How do you help them remember?


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