Kids won't be all that excited about completing chores around the home, but it offers them many benefits, says Oberlin psychology professor Nancy Darling, writing at PsychologyToday.com. Giving kids household jobs sends the message that they are a vital part of the family and that their contributions matter. Completing chores, says Darling, also allows children to feel competent in the work they've completed. In addition to household jobs teaching children to be responsible, being helpful in the home teaches them to have more gratitude for help they receive.
Kids of all ages can complete kitchen chores. While it's a good idea to get young children involved in caring for your home, it's important to ensure tasks are developmentally appropriate. Get your preschooler started with her share of kitchen tasks, such as putting away groceries and helping set the table, suggests child and family experts at Australia's Raising Children Network website. School-age children can load the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen floor and wipe countertops. Parents should keep younger kids -- particularly 5-year-olds -- away from tasks that involve the use of household products because they are most susceptible to ingesting harmful chemicals.
Bathroom duties can also be divided into age-appropriate tasks that your youngsters can manage. Preschoolers and kindergarteners can wipe the toilet seat after they've used the restroom, if necessary, and wipe toothpaste splashes off faucets with a mild soap and water. School-age kids can handle larger tasks, including cleaning out the tub, cleaning the toilet bowl and sweeping the bathroom floor. If parents have difficulties getting younger children to engage in household cleaning tasks, try creating a song or making a game out of doing chores.
Experts at Raising Children Network state that younger children can handle minor laundry tasks, including sorting dirty laundry in preparation to be washed and putting laundry in the dryer. School-age kids can help their parents wash clothes, and can fold their own clothes once they've been dried. Older children -- tweens or preteens -- can do their own laundry. Older school-age kids and preteens can also help sort, wash and fold everyone's laundry in the home to assist their parents with this task. Parents should supervise and teach children how to properly wash clothes to avoid bleach stains on dark-colored clothing and shrunken sweaters.
It's not uncommon for parents to enter their kids' rooms only to find an unbearable stench that leads to a week-old meal buried beneath a pile of clothing underneath the bed. Parents can plead with their kids to clean up their rooms, only to learn that they've done an unsatisfactory job of cleaning, or ditched the task altogether. Educator Marie Hartwell-Walker, writing at the Psych Central website, says that teaching a child the value of keeping an orderly room helps your child value order as an adult. Hartwell-Walker suggests that parents teach their children to keep their rooms clean by modeling this behavior and naming specific, bedroom upkeep tasks such as making a bed and keeping clothes in a drawer, closet or hamper.