We would all love Summer to be an idyllic time with our kids, but let’s be real – it isn’t. If, like many parents, you find yourself constantly dealing with nagging your children to do menial tasks, then you’re not alone! Summer is a great time to start a chores list with your kids.
Giving your kids chores teaches them responsibility, allows them to earn screentime (or whatever that may be in your house) and teaches them that chores are a necessary part of life and a part of working together as a family to keep a household running. Here is a list of chores by age that your kids can do summer, plus some added tasks that can help you out, and teach them about earning money, and prepare for their first job.
Firstly, every child should be responsible for their own stuff, and their own personal care chores (yes, brushing teeth seems like a chore for kids).
These are the non-negotiable chores each child should be responsible for each day:
-Making their bed (to the best of their ability)
-Getting dressed and putting dirty clothes/jammies in the dirty laundry bin
-Brushing teeth and hair
-Put their own toys away
Ages 2 – 4
This age group is probably the easiest to get doing chores! They’re at an age where they are eager to be independent and want to copy and follow grown-ups as much as possible. They’re so eager, and you’ll find this age group loves to help and enjoys the accomplishment so much! Here are some great chores for this age group:
-Set the table for meals
-Fold clothes and towels
-Bringing their own cups and dishes to the kitchen after a meal
Ages 5 – 8
Setting chores for this age group teaches them responsibility, helps them continue to develop motor skills, and provides them with the satisfaction of being helpful. This age group generally likes to perform the chores, but they may not always be up to standard, we let that go.
-All previous chores plus,
-Put dirty clothes into the washing machine.
-Put clean clothes away into closet and drawers.
-Unload the dishwasher
Ages 8 – 11
This age group will likely give the most pushback about completing chores. They’re the hardest to get moving and motivated. The benefits of this age doing chores highly outweighs the struggles you put in. From getting their bodies moving to teaching organizational skills, it’s worth the effort you put in!
-All previous chores plus,
-Sweep and vacuum
-Wipe kitchen counters
-Wipe kitchen table after meals
-Prep for meals (perhaps cutting veggies)
-Water the plants / feed the pets
By this age, your kids should be doing their chores completely independently and ideally without much need for you to nag. They can start to assist with bigger tasks like making a meal. The importance of chores at this age is big; everything they learn they’ll take to college and into adulthood. They need to do these chores so they learn to live independently.
-All previous chores plus,
-Packing their own lunch
-Doing laundry from start to finish
-Loading and unloading the dishwasher
-Taking out the garbage and recycling
-Sweep, mop and vacuum floors
-Mow the lawn
It’s a great time to incorporate these into their daily life and teach them about scheduling and time management. Here is a great read on skills to teach your tweens and teens to prepare them for adulthood and set them up for success.
Of course, you can add or remove any of these from the lists, but using this as a guideline will help keep your kids learning about teamwork and independence. Select what works best for your kids and your house. Doing chores gives them an appreciation of the work that goes into running a household, and the summer is a great time to start because they have more free time.
Chores for money:
As your kids get older (but aren’t working yet), it’s a great time to give them some additional tasks they can complete to earn money. This teaches them more responsibility, financial independence and most of all, the notion that you need to work hard to earn money. Here are some additional tasks you can offer them to make some money:
-Cooking a meal for the whole family.
-Wash the car.
-Weed, trim, and water the garden beds
-Clean out the garage.
-Help prepare a garage sale.
-Clean and maintain the pool.
-Wash the windows.
-Sorting closets and taking old clothing or items to donate.
Tips to stay on track:
Ensure that all the chores you assign have the expectations clearly laid out. Make sure they can see and have access to the list where they can check off what they’re completed daily or weekly, depending on the schedule you set.
Don’t make your chores gender specific! (ie. don’t give your teen boys garbage duties and girls dishes – make them switch weekly)
For older kids, you can use an app to learn the basics of money through completing tasks. This app is a great one!
Make sure the consequences for not completing chores are clear. Set timelines and expectations and make them known. Better yet, set the consequences with your child. Maybe this is no screentime until all daily chores are complete and no weekend screentime until weekly tasks are complete.
Give them 1 chance to “forget” and be reminded by you before you set that consequence in motion.
Cut them some slack based on their schedule. Sleep and school should always come first; never set expectations your child can’t manage.