Chores for Children and Learning How to “Adult”

Photo by Catt Liu. From www.unsplash.com

Have you heard of “adulting” classes? Apparently this is the new thing where young people are taught basic life skills like how to do laundry, how to balance a checkbook, how to get a car’s oil changed, or how to cook basic meals. Why is this happening? Why is this necessary for some people? I wonder, is purely an American problem or a first-world problem?

Home Economics classes are not taught in many schools any longer, they were phased out at my previous high school in the 1980s. In some households parents work long hours or aren’t always present. I have heard some parents say that “kids should be kids” and not have to do chores or that, “My parents made me do so much around the house I don’t want to be the parent that makes my kids do that.” That may work for some households as some parents, but not for us. I want to prepare my kid for life on their own and adulthood.

When I was a child I would help my mother clean house on Saturdays, have a daily list of chores during summer vacation, and have daily chores to do, as well. I would accompany my mother shopping, help cook meals, assist my dad fix a broken toilet, learn how to change a car tire, paint houses with my grandparents, etc. While I may have grumbled and not always felt grateful at the time, I feel that it provided me with the knowledge and experience to be successful as an adult.

I am a big believer in children learning to do simple, age-appropriate chores. This allows them to learn, have simple “jobs” they can take pride in, and gives them a small amount of responsibility to build upon as they get older.

Abby is only two, but she helps me with some things around the house each day.

Chores for young children:

1. Throwing away diapers

2. Placing dirty clothes in her hamper

3. Putting away her shoes and coat

4. Picking up toys and books

5. Help make her bed

6. Help fold laundry and match socks

7. Help separate laundry into piles for washing

Chores children a little older can help with:

1. Setting the table before a meal

2. Clearing the table after a meal

3. Sorting recycling

4. Taking out the trash

5. Dusting

6. Putting away laundry

7. Feeding pets

Older children and teenagers can help with:

1. Washing dishes

2. Loading/unloading the dishwasher

3. Vacuuming

3. Dog walking

4. Washing laundry

5. Raking leaves

6. Mowing grass

7. Help cook

What age did you start having your children do chores? What do your kids help you with? How are you preparing your children to be successful adults?

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