Thursday, December 29, 2011

Play it again, Mama: Age Appropriate Chore Lists

Savoring the Training Period

Lydia peeling cucumbers for Mama

As my kids get older, I find that life gets a little less crazy and a little more chaotic.

What does that mean?

Well, there is less diaper changes, but still loads of laundry.  No more nursings, but a lot more dishes.  Bigger blocks of entertaining themselves, but bigger messes when they're done.

And while I choose to be a homemaker, I don't believe that God has called me to be a maid, a cook, and a chaueffer.  Although there are days where I feel like it.  My kids are part of this family and as such, we share the workload.  I would be doing my kids a disservice if I didn't train them to pick up after themselves.

Notice I used the work "train."  I think some parents get discouraged when a chore isn't completed to their standard.  They give up and take the work back on their own shoulders.  However, we are meant to "train" our kids.  We can't expect them to do the job perfect the first time or even the fifth time.  And we certainly can't expect them to do it without guidance.  Rather, we are there to help them learn the skills they will carry with them into adulthood.

As all kids and families are different, these lists are meant to be a guideline.  I've written them up as much for me as for you.  I need this reminder as well that my kids are "in training."  Remember that it's not an exhaustive list.  Feel free to adjust, add, and subtract as you learn what fits your family.  And know that at first introduction, chores will not be well received.  But in the end, the delegation of jobs will benefit everyone in the family.

A few things to keep in mind as you embark on this journey:
*Be encouraging.  Encouragement will go farther than condemnation.
*Include your kids in what you're already doing.
*Remember to work alongside your kids in the training period.
*Don't give up!  Parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint.

1-2 years
Handing mommy items to put away, put in dishwasher, etc.
Pick up toys with assistance
Learn to say "please", "thank you", "excuse me"
Help pick up room (toys, make bed, pick up dirty clothes)
Wipe off furniture
Help clean up their messes (spilled milk, etc)
Throw away diapers, etc.

2-3 years
Take laundry to hamper, help sort laundry
Take dishes to sink after meals
Wipe down table and chairs
Help putting away laundry
Bring stuff in from the car
Weeding and helping in the yard with guidance

3-5 years
Learn to make bed
Get own drinks
Learn to dust
Learn to vaccum
Learn to set table
Water plants
Mate socks and put away laundry
Help with meals
Feed pets
Get the mail
Put away silverware (knives and sharp objects excepted)
Sweeping with a small broom
Wiping down sink area

6-8 years
Loading and unloading dishwasher
More extensive sweeping
Learning to fold laundry
Make bed
Help younger siblings with tasks
Responsible for readying backpacks, library bags, etc. before leaving
Handwashing dishes
Wiping down toilet area
Take out the trash
Wash the car with assistance
Learning to do laundry with supervision
Continue helping with meal prep
Learning initiative

9 years and up
Take care of room on own
Progress to yard work unsupervised
Take initiative on one meal a week
Tackle more difficult cleaning projects
Contribute to family conversations and decisions
Take on small jobs in and out of the home

Additional Resources:

I love this idea for older children. Titled "You Work Hard for your Misbehavior," this mom mixes consequences with grace.

Other good reads on chores:

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