Living Arts Daily: Age-appropriate Chores for Kids

April 3, 2020

Multitasking is overrated – I’d rather do one thing well than many things badly. Quality supersedes quantity every time.  -Stewart Stafford

The benefit of more time at home is there’s more time to help your kids learn to contribute to the home tasks — their future life partners will thank you later!  A blog post from Rachel Baier talks about the benefits and challenges of having children do real work around the home:

“Real, physical work does wonders for the willful, aggressive or anxious child. If you’re anything like me, this includes the projects you put off doing because they’re hard and tedious, like digging up the garden, turning or hauling compost, loading, carrying and dumping dirt, rocks, water, sand….  Doing them with children is much more fun, and they really get the job done.

I had two tons of river rocks delivered to my driveway last week, and the children helped load them in a wheelbarrow and haul them to the play-yard. This was many, many loads of rocks! They were sweaty and pink-cheeked, but their determination and joy as they worked was wonderful. When we finished, they were hungry, tired and very satisfied with their strength and drive.

If it’s a day when there isn’t a major project in the works, simple tasks are great as well, as long as they have lots of gesture, and — ideally — include tools. Sweeping, sanding, scrubbing, grinding grain, or kneading dough are all great jobs for these children. I’m definitely investing in a bunch of little rakes this year so we can all rake leaves. You won’t have to convince your little ones to help, they WANT to do real work.

When we do our work with children the results aren’t always up to the standards we would have on our own, but over time I’ve truly come to value the process over the product. Besides, if I didn’t do these jobs with my children, when would I do them? I want my children to know that the effort they put into their work is more important to me than the results. It will be the same story some day when they bring home report cards. By helping them channel their energy, frustration, or anxiety productively, we’re giving our children tools to use throughout their lives. With these strategies our children will be better able to self-regulate and to become more motivated students and more confident adults.

So go for it! Dig into those big, messy projects and get creative. By giving the children real, challenging work we are showing them respect. It is a gift I see reciprocated immediately, and I believe  it will serve them throughout their lives.”

Wondering what types of chores are best for each age?  This free printable and editable list from HomeschoolYourBoys is one of the best we’ve seen.


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