At what age/abilities do you think certain chores are appropriate? I mean, obviously, the kid has to be strong enough and coordinated enough (e.g. you don't make a 4 year old mow the lawn). I'm thinking about things along the lines of helping out, or doing on their own: putting dishes away, clearing the table, dusting, snow shoveling, mowing the lawn, watering plants, feeding pets, cleaning up after pets and so on. Should we wait for the kid to ask to help, should we ask the kid to help, etc. How did you guys address these issues? (P.S.: can someone with enough points tag this as "chores"?).

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asked 28 Sep '09, 02:11

kurtseifried's gravatar image

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edited 28 Oct '09, 03:15

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When you ask your next question look near the bottom under the grey line and you will see a box that says 'Tags' with an area to write in your own tags. :)

(28 Sep '09, 08:38) Sabrina

@Sabrina - it's quite possible we just passed 100 tags on this site (woo-hoo!) in which case the reputation required to create a tag goes up from 0 to 250. This was a measure implemented by the developers to kickstart the community. That's probably why he was only able to use existing tags.

(28 Sep '09, 09:18) Scott ♦♦

As soon as my kids were physically able to help, they helped. When my daughter was out of a highchair she started having to clear her place after meals. When she was able to open her own drawers, she started putting away her own laundry. I found she liked to be able to do things by herself - we played up the "big kid" angle a lot. Sometimes we make cleaning up into a game - who can put the blocks away the fastest, etc. When they have a more involved job to do, like when my 5 year old cleans her room, I find it helpful to break that longer project into pieces. I send her upstairs to put away all her clothes, then she puts away books, then toys. Segmenting the chore seems to work pretty well to keep her focused.

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answered 28 Sep '09, 04:56

erin's gravatar image

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My 2 1/2 year old is quite helpful without being asked when she is "in the mood". BUT, regardless of her mood I do ask her to do certain things like pick up her toys or bring me her plate after dinner. Sometimes she enjoys helping and other times she does it because I ask her to. I do think it's important for children to participate in all aspects of family life...which includes cleaning.

I agree there are limitations as well. For example, I love it when my daughter helps me unload the silverware from the dishwasher, but it's not something that I would ask her to do as a chore....yet.

I would not wait until your child asks to help. If you think your child is capble of helping then yes, you should ask them to help. If it becomes routine then it will be easier for them to "accept" the chores rather than all of a sudden being asked to do things they are not used to doing. I do like the idea of Melissa's sticker chart or reward system as they get older.

My friend's 3 year old daughter's chore is using the dust buster to vacuume the crumbs under the table after dinner. She loves to do it. It think that's cute. :)

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answered 28 Sep '09, 08:54

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You do not tell us what age are your children. However, there are couple excellent books that would help you in this regard. First one is titled "Raising a responsible child" by Elizabeth M. Ellis. There are couple chapters that are organized by age group and spell out what are abilities of children in particular group and what their responsibilities should be at that particular age. Second book titled Chores Without Wars: Turning Housework into Teamwork by Lynn Lott is also a great resource.

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answered 22 Oct '09, 00:10

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I think you can start as young as you want and I definitely think that you should encourage them to start helping. For example, I have an almost two year old and he has learned that he needs to help pick up his toys when he is done playing with them although I do need to prompt him to start. But I think simple age appropriate chores can be a good way to start teaching them they need to learn to help around the house. If you have trouble getting them excited about it, set up a chore chart with stickers. And then when they get a certain amount of stickers, they get a reinforcer (ice cream). This may help get them excited about the chores and you may only have to reward them once a week if they did all their chores for that week!

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answered 28 Sep '09, 03:50

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Melissa 1
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See also: http://moms4mom.com/questions/1077/when-to-start-chores/

I think they can have chores as early as they can understand and remember a small series of simple instructions, which is quite young.

When my spouse's younger siblings were very little, they had chores like: set the table. The silverware was moved to where they could reach and they just had to put a fork, spoon, and napkin at chair's place. It was an easy activity but they could manage. So as they grew up, there was never a time that they could remember that they weren't a contributing member of the family. Helping was simply a fact of life.

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answered 22 Oct '09, 02:20

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Asked: 28 Sep '09, 02:11

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Last updated: 28 Oct '09, 03:15