The house is a mess. You’re exhausted, and the kids are running wild because they have nothing to do. It’s time for family chores! It can sometimes feel like more trouble than it’s worth to have the kids help out around the house, but remind yourself that you are building self-confidence, motivation, and a sense of belonging in your child
Preschoolers: Young children are fully capable of doing chores, and they are usually excited to feel grown up and help out. Some good starter chores are setting the table for dinner, clearing their dishes at the end of the meal, putting toys away after playtime, pulling the covers up on their bed, and putting their laundry away. Keep the task time around ten minutes or less, and make sure your children participate in a chore every day so that you build a routine.
Elementary school age and up: Our favorite method for getting older kids to do their chores is the stick system: Give each child color-coded sticks with daily chores written on them (tidy their rooms, practice piano, etc.) plus, if you wish, one extra chore stick that they get to choose. Some of the extra chores that we use are sweeping the porch, cleaning the handprints off the refrigerator, sorting and starting a load of laundry, folding a load of laundry, watering the plants, emptying the small trash cans, dusting, vacuuming the family room, sweeping under the breakfast bar…all the little things that help out during the course of the week. When the sticks are done, the kids move them from the to-do jar to the finished jar. Once all the sticks have been moved, they have earned whatever reward you offer (in our case, it’s screen time).
Chores are as important to childhood as band-aids and bicycles. You may not raise a neat freak, but regular chores build responsibility and give kids a leg up for the day when they finally are out on their own.