A Labor Day Special Blog – Age Appropriate Chores for Young Children
May 1 was Labor Day or May Day as it is known in India, an Indian public holiday to celebrate the working class and to remember their efforts of around one and a half centuries to better their working conditions and reduce their working hours when industrialization took place.
Some of us, as parents, keep thinking that our next generation is more privileged than were which may be true to some extent. We do our best for our children, and that extends in some cases to not letting them raise a finger around the house. It doesn’t help either that manual labor is available at very low rates in India.
Some of our generation (I refer to the current set of parents) also has fond memories of being made to work at our homes and contributing to the daily chores by our parents. Right? So why not do the same with our children too?
Why is assigning chores so important at this age?
Chores around the house are important because of the following reasons.
- Kids, especially little ones, feel needed when chores are assigned to them.
- Chores develop a feeling of importance in kids.
- Chores build character and develop a sense of responsibility in children.
- Chores help develop a sense of empathy – when your child actually does the work their parents were doing for them, they develop a sense of empathy for their parents and help out their family in more ways.
- Assigning chores from childhood ensures you bring up an adult who is hardworking, responsible and has a strong sense of work ethics.
- Chores bring up children who don’t feel entitled.
- Chores are also an excellent way to spend time with your child while also getting work done!
Here is The Nestery’s list of age appropriate chores for young children.
- Winding up and putting away toys and books after playtime
- Putting away folded clothes
- Putting dirty clothes in laundry bag
- Loading the washing machine with dirty clothes
- Folding small pieces of dried laundry
- Putting trash in dustbin
- Dusting the furniture and cleaning up small spills
4- 6 years (add chores above)
- Setting and clearing the table at meal time
- Putting away groceries after a shopping trip
- Hanging clothes to dry
- Making the bed
- Sweep with a small broom
- Refilling bottles with water
- Replenishing ice trays
- Washing and cleaning their own toys and cycles
- Helping in kitchen with small things, like washing rice, measuring water, adding spice powders (all non fire related)
7-11 years (add chores above)
- Folding laundry
- Vacuuming around the house.
- Sweeping the house
- Take our trash
- Wipe mirrors
- Meal preparation – can handle knives under adult supervision
- Wash vessels or load dishwasher
- Clean their own room
- Clean toilets
- Sort and organize toys
- Clean the family car
- Take out trash to the community trash bin
- If you have a garden or lawn, help out with gardening chores
- Basic pet care, if you have a pet
12+ years (add chores above)
- Weeding your garden
- Babysitting the younger children
- Washing and wiping windows
- Ironing clothes
- Car washing
- Putting together simple meals
- Taking care of laundry from start to finish
- Mopping house
- Walking the pet, if you have one
- Cleaning the bathrooms
- Cleaning the refrigerator and oven
- Small grocery runs from the neighborhood shop
Pointers to keep in mind while assigning chores:
- The chores that you assign to your children not only need to be age appropriate, but also have to be demonstrated to your children, because children learn better when they see it being done. A couple of times doing the chores with them is all it takes.
- When you assign a chore to your child, do not expect perfection the first few times. They are learning, after all and your constant need to correct them might damage their confidence.
- It might be tempting but never give in to the urge to swap chores with any incentives. It is damaging in the long run, after all, our responsibilities need to be completed as an adult without any rewards at the end of it. A simple “Thank You” for a chore well done is enough.
- It is important to not confuse chores and daily responsibilities. At every stage, what was a chore could be a daily responsibility. Like, at 4-6 years, making the bed could be a chore, but it must become a daily responsibility by the time child is 7 years. Use chores as a platform to get the child to try their hand at it, and turn it into a daily responsibility when they are older!
- Do not go overboard with chore assignment. A couple of chores per day in addition to their daily responsibilities should do, to just get them used to the idea of chores as a daily routine.
On this Labor Day, let us commit ourselves to raising responsible future adults!