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If your kids are anything like ours, they probably don’t jump up and down at the mention of doing chores. In fact, if our kids are anything close to normal, you are likely often met with groans instead.
But even though helping our children learn to do chores and keeping after them to get them done can be a lot of work sometimes, my husband and I still feel like it is very much worth it. Because to us, having our children do chores is about more than simply having them make our workload lighter (although that sure is nice!). Our ultimate goal in having our children do chores is to have them learn important life skills, while at the same time learning things like responsibility, perseverance, the satisfaction of a job well done and how to be thorough.
But before I dive into the list of chores, first let me share a few important tips:
* Don’t expect your child to understand how to do something without being shown how to do it. Take the time to explain what you expect and also to show them exactly what you want done.
* Be patient. They are going to mess up when they are learning and will probably need reminded of how to do their jobs well as they go along too. I sometimes need to remind myself that our son is only 7- I can’t expect him to do things as well as an adult!
* Praise your child liberally. Even if the job wasn’t done perfectly but you can tell they were doing their best, shower them with encouragement. I find that the more I thank our children and praise them for doing their jobs well, the more they try to do their jobs thoroughly and with a good attitude. Funny how that works!
I should note that our child never does all of these chores in one day. Rather, this is the list that we choose from when it’s time for him to do chores, or the things that I have him do when I need some help. He also still does many of the things from the 10 Chores for 4 & 5 Year Olds list too.
10 Chores for 6 and 7 Year Olds
For us, dusting includes removing everything from a surface, dusting it all and then putting it all back. So although your child may be able to do this chore before he is 6, I was a little hesitant to have our son start before he was 7 because I have a number of things sitting around that are fragile or difficult to move easily (for example, lamps). It just seemed easier to wait until he was a bit older to have him start this chore.
A feather duster is a great way to make dusting easy for a child. My mom always had me use one when I dusted and as a result, I thought it was a fun chore!
2. Wash and Dry Dishes
Having a dishwasher has made this a job that isn’t given as often as it probably could be at our house, mostly because the dishes that are left to hand wash are either big dishes or fragile thing. But by the time a child is 6, they should be able to wash at least a small amount of dishes and dry them, if you choose not to let them air dry.
Be prepared to show your child how to wash things thoroughly and also how to stack things in the drainer so that they can dry well. For our 7 yr. old, once he got the hang of the stacking thing, he thought it was kind of fun because it was sort of like putting a puzzle together.
Unfortunately, it apparently isn’t fun enough to make him want to offer to do this job without being asked! 🙂
3. Wipe off the Table
Our 7 yr. old has been helping to clear the table for several years now. But we waited until he was 6 to have him start wiping down the table, simply because we wanted to wait until he was capable of wiping the table well without just putting the crumbs from the table all over the floor.
It was important to us that he learn to wipe it in such a way that at least most of the crumbs were contained the rag that he was using to wipe up the table. He definitely doesn’t do it without a few crumbs hitting the floor, but overall, he’s able to do a decent job.
Unless your child is more thorough than ours though, you may want to have them wipe the table down at least twice to make sure that it gets squeaky clean!
4. Water Plants
This is one job- and maybe the only job- that we barely have to ask our son to do. For obvious reasons, he especially loves when we let him water the outside plants with the garden hose! But since we live in the city and need to pay for our water, that doesn’t happen very often and he usually needs to use a watering can instead (this smaller one is easier for kids to handle).
5. Pull Weeds
This is a job that can quickly feel overwhelming to a child, so we usually just assign them a small section at a time to make it feel more manageable.
6. Yard Work
This job varies a lot but will involve anything from picking up sticks, raking leaves and grass clippings (a small rake like this makes this easier!) to simply putting away outside toys.
7. Get the Mail
We live in the city and our mail is delivered through the mail slot in our door, so for us, getting the mail is actually a job that our toddler can do. But by the age of 6, a child should be capable of getting the mail from a mailbox, unless of course you along a super busy road or live down a long lane.
8. Fold Laundry & Put it Away
Our son started folding washcloths, rags, underwear and socks when he was 4, but around the time he turned 6 we started having him also fold his pants, as well as some of the kid’s shirts.
9. Clean their Room
We recently started having our son clean his room every Saturday morning. Basically, this involves putting everything in order, dusting and then vacuuming. I still find that I need to sometimes drop in and clean a bit more thoroughly, but overall, he does a pretty good job!
10. Help Feed Younger Children
Before our youngest learned to feed herself, I often had our son, who was then 6, feed her the yogurt or whatever food she was eating. He actually enjoyed doing it most of the time and it often turned into a time of being silly with his baby sister!