When do you start giving chores?

April 11, 2011

This weekend something monumental happened in my house: the girls made me their very first breakfast. I grant you, it was an odd combination of cheese, cake and dried crackers and the plates and cups were not placed in the classic style BUT…. they were so proud of themselves, and it was one of my favourite breakfasts ever! It made me think that I don’t give Coco and Violette enough responsibility around the house.

As a single mom with a job (I am an animation producer during the day) I have the tendency to quickly tidy up, wash and clean, instead of investing time into teaching the girls how to clear up and wash the dishes and do simple tasks. Now I actually think I really need to take the time to let the girls  get involved and give them the feeling of responsibility.

I am not (yet) going to ask them to whip up a soufflée for me, but rather to stack up the dishwasher, make their beds and fold away their clothes. I am sure that at the beginning they are going to think it is fun and after a while they’ll start finding their tasks annoying, but it is such an important part of growing up and learning how to take on responsibility.

I would love to hear about your experiences. At what age did you start giving your kids chores to do, or is this something that does not exist anymore?

P.S. The above is a photo of Coco and Vivi working very hard at making pancakes.


Comments (15)

April 11, 2011

I love giving my kids jobs to do because it gives them a sense of victory when they complete it well. The youngest I have started is 2 years old and he unloads the silverware as I unload the rest of the dishwasher. 2 is young, so wasn’t perfect the first few times. but now he’s great at it and it’s something I can always point to (when he’s having a difficult time with something else) and say, “Look! Remember how well you can unload the dishwasher? That is a difficult job, but you can do it and you do it beautifully!” It gives him confidence to do other things. Another great job for younger kids is giving them a wet wipe or cloth and let them go to town on the baseboards, low cabinet doors, doorknobs, anything! They love it. Not that they have to love it, but I think it’s important to start them off with something they can get really good at, then they’ll be more excited to do other things – like take out the trash- later. 🙂 Wow, this is a really long comment about chores! Ha!

April 11, 2011

cute picture of your girls!
The big girl here is nearly 4 and I dont remember when we started but she helps to dress the table or at least always puts her own plate, cup and cutlery.
Sometimes she helps to bring everything back…
She loves to help with laundry, seperating by colour, hang the washed laundry…
actually these are all things she wanted to help herself, that is how it started…now I ask her if she wants to help… it is fun and I love to see how serious and concentrated they can be 🙂

PS: the little brother of 1 years loves the dishwasher too…but more about climbing in 🙂

April 11, 2011

the LO’s here are just over 3yrs old. They love chores (well, most of the time anyway…). In the mornings,they get their own breakfast bowls etc. and occasionally one of them will set the table for everyone. Baking, cooking… they both love to help out with that. They get to crack eggs, cut softer vegetables/fruits and i have just started them on peeling potatoes and grating cheese. Loading dish-washer is of course something they love doing and they ALWAYS fight about who gets to put the tablet in and press the start button ! They fold clothes, not very well but still… i think the key is to give them chores and just see how they deal with it and be very patient with them. They are learning so it won’t be perfect, so what ?!

April 11, 2011

I believe that setting and clearing the table is a perfect place to start, it also gets them to stop playing shortly before the meal.
If you have 2 children you could assign one the even days to be your table helper and the other the odd days…!

April 11, 2011

Make a matching game- It’s a great idea to put pictures or words on the dresser drawers to help the kids organize and put away their clothes…

April 11, 2011

I have started giving my 8 year old some small chores recently and in return he receives pocket money on a Saturday. He helps to unload the dishwasher, set and clear the dinner table and fold up his clothes (bring dirty stuff to the washing basket). He also has to tidy up all toys at the end of the day, along with his four year old brother (who also has to take his own plate to the kitchen after dinner 🙂 ). Both boys enjoy taking responsibility and although sometimes they moan about it, they both complete their ‘daily chores’ very well! I think it is very important for children (especially boys!!) to learn to be responsible for their belongings and to help with the running of the family home.

Esther in Amsterdam
April 11, 2011

Such a cute photo of the girls! Sweet!
About chores — Sara (5) loves helping, she doesn’t need much encouragement, but Pim (4) is less keen, I really need to step it up with him. And yes, I agree with Lucy, especially boys need to learn about their responsibilities, but I guess they also need their dad to give the right example!

April 11, 2011

interesting matter! I started last summer, ages 4 1/2 and 2 1/2, andit is still in progress. As you said at first was fun, but after some time it became boring… I put a sort of weehly calendar on the fridge for each of the girls there is the list of chores and when they accomplish them they get a sticker. When they don’t do them, the box remain empty and they feel uncomfortable… it helps to convince to help. When all the sticker for the week/month have been completed they get a special prize, not in money, but as something special to do all toghether (afternoon to the acquarium, ot to the zoo, ot going ou after dinner for an ice-cream, stay awake a bit longer at night … It is not perfect but they improve. The chores I assigned are very simple: wash teeth/hands, put toys in order, halp preparing the table …

April 11, 2011

My son is nearly 2 now, but he has been helping out around the house since maybe age 1.5 years old. For all of these activities below, we did it together at first and now he pushes me away and wants to do it on his own. He even does a pretty good job, sometimes better than my husband!

– putting away his toys: We have separate transparent boxes for each toy style (available from my favorite store HEMA, only downside is that they are plastic) and he knows where to put his cars, animals, zoo parts, music instruments, etc. It also helps him to choose toys in the morning when we are getting ready for work.

– Emptying/loading the dishwasher: he only does the silverware (and no sharp knives), but he has fun doing it, has increased his vocabulary, teaches him to follow multi-part instructions, helps him differentiate between big and small spoons, etc.

– laundry: He also helps me put things in the laundry machine (frontloader and at his height) and presses the buttons to turn it on. he likes to watch it spin but then knows he has to wait until its done. patience!!

– cleaning: when he makes a mess eating, i give him a wet paper towel and he wipes the table. i teach him to do it thoroughly, since he likes to do the motions but at first didn’t understand what the motions were doing. it helps with developing fine motor skills (cleaning the nooks and crannies of the penguin seat he sits in…)

– cooking: he has his little containers that he mixes “food” in while i prepare his dinner. these are generally tupperware and spatulas and cars that he combines to make a car cake. he also helped me make easy cakes a few months ago, pouring in the flour, etc. lots of fun for me too!

Courtney in London
April 11, 2011

Such a cute photo of your girls! And yes, I agree with Lara above that setting and clearing a table is a great place to start. I believe it’s a good idea to help kids understand all the work that is involved and start to create good helpers around the house. Not just tidying up their own toys, but helping with other things, helping me with things. I think it’s especially good for boys… their future wives with thank me! 🙂

April 11, 2011

Someone recently pointed out the difference between a chore and a job. A chore is a bit more like an obligation: contributing to the family and household. A job, like making a souffle, is more FUN and empowering. It may seem like a subtle difference, but it’s real. My daughter began clearing the table (chore) at age 2. I expect her to do this after every meal, especially when we visit people. She also waters the tree (job) and pushes the elevator buttons….

April 11, 2011

Jeannie, love the idea of a difference between chores and jobs.. It is subtle but it does acutally make a difference. Having both is good!

April 11, 2011

Lucy, I hadn’t even thought about pocket money, that seems such a world away from my little girls, but at what age does one start giving money??

April 12, 2011

I started quite young with my son, I never use the word chore, I think it is a horrible word, we have jobs and everyone in the family has jobs in the house. From about 20mths he set his place at the table and made his own snack. With laundry I started him off matching socks, now he folds and puts away all his clothes and he likes to do daddys undies too. When I get the vacuum out he knows that his job is to clear the floor of any of his toys and then to go to his bedroom and tidy up, that included dusting his shelves too.
Blimey, I sound like a slave driver! I wanted my son to grow up feeling like he is part of the family and with that comes responsibility, I also didn’t want him to get the impression that mommys do the cleaning and daddys go out to work. Luckily he has a daddy who is happy to pitch in around the house.
We haven’t thought about pocket money yet, it is not a common thing in Japan so we might not bother, time will tell o that point.

April 18, 2011

Ha Ha… I hope you got to enjoy those Pancakes Emilie.
i realised on the weekend.. when at my friend F’s house, who has a 2 year old girl, if you put on the “isn’t this a fun game voice” you can get them to do all manner of chores.. she was my own personal slave for a few hours and she loved it! Hmmm… think she’ll grow out of that soon enough!

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