Plenty of benefits exist when children pitch in to help with household chores—but this also raises questions, such as the right age for kids to start. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the age can be as young as three.
Which Chores Are Appropriate?
Your next question might be about what chores are appropriate at a certain age. WebMD.com offers advice and a detailed breakdown, noting that kids can often perform more than you might think. Here are examples they offer by age:
- Ages two to three: They could put their clothes in a hamper and fill a pet’s dish with food.
- Ages four to five: They can make their beds, for example, and water flowers.
- Ages six to seven: These children should be able to keep their rooms tidy and sort laundry.
- Ages eight to nine: By now, they can typically put away groceries and vacuum.
- Ages ten and up: They could clean the bathroom and wash the car.
This assistance can clearly help you as a parent. How will it benefit the children?
Chores Teach Organization and Time Management
According to AACAP, this helps in valuable ways: helping kids with becoming more organized, learning time management, accepting family responsibilities, balancing work and play, and setting the stage for becoming independent and successful.
VeryWellFamily.com delves into the benefits of a chore list more deeply in a medically reviewed article. Besides becoming more organized, doing chores can spotlight the value of having and keeping things clean and well-organized. They include being in a less cluttered, less chaotic environment, which can help people to think more clearly and experience more peace.
Chores Also Teach Teamwork
When children contribute to the household as part of a family team, this can allow your children to see their work—whether it’s taking out the trash or helping to make dinner—as part of a bigger picture. This contributes to the development of a sense of community, that we’re all in a project together.
Behavioral Healthcare Associates notes how there’s even research backing up how having a chore list at an early age (as young as three or four) helps children to become more successful as young adults. They share how doing chores can enhance cooperative behaviors and assist in communication skills and the “art of negotiation and compromise.”
Plus, Understood.org says, doing chores can boost your child’s self-esteem. Kids, they note, like to participate. When they help with family responsibilities, they can feel more capable and confident. When your child finishes a chore, recognize the child’s effort and hard work. This can further boost their sense of confidence.
Getting Your Chore List Started
The benefits of a chore list are clear. But how do you get your child started?
EmpoweringParents.com offers useful tips, including removing distractions first. This can include turning off electronic devices until the project is completed. If the source of the distraction isn’t obvious, ask your child (briefly!) and see how you can create a better environment for their chores.
Also, set a time limit for when the chores should be completed. This can help to prevent the need to ask again. You can use incentives to boost motivation.