Overcast   36.0F  |  Forecast »
Edit Module

How Chores Help Kids - and Parents

Tips on the 'best age' to start, how much to delegate and motivate – and why they ultimately prepare your children to survive in the world

When the dishes in the sink are piling up, the dust on the bookshelf is noticeable, the dog needs to be fed, the mirrors sport fingerprint decor and you have no time, who can you call for help?

Your children!

That's right. Once kids reach a certain age, they can be your best tools for tackling all of the tasks you need to handle in your home. But what is that age exactly? And how much can you expect from them? And, perhaps most important, how do you motivate them?

The basics

St. Clair Shores mom Marisa Valice grappled with those questions when her son Lucas turned 7.

"He really had his own personal responsibilities handled – his room, his clothing and whatnot," Valice says. "It just seemed like he was ready to take on more."

Parents looking for an exact age when kids are ready to take on chores won't find it, says parenting expert Elizabeth Pantley, who's written several books, including Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate.

Parents have to take it case-by-case, depending on the maturity level of their child. However, by age 7 or 8, kids are usually prepared to take on extra household responsibility, she says. And it's good for them.

Pantley says that chores teach children real-world skills, valuable lessons and how to build good attitudes toward working.

But don't overload them. "I think kids still need to be kids," says Pantley.

Strategies

Waterford mom Melissa Weimer targets specific areas that she wants her kids to handle independently, and then a few areas where they are expected to pitch in.

"They clean the bathroom, which I refuse to do living with three guys," she says. They also care for the dog, help with laundry, assist in the preparing and cooking of meals, help carry in the groceries, vacuum, dust and do yard work.

Weimer has a strategy for motivating her two sons to do chores. They both have a jar, and for each chore that her boys do, they receive a marble in their jar. Natural sibling rivalry kicks in to help the kids try even harder. "It has helped to eliminate any complaining about having to do chores," she says.

Benefits

Assigning chores can be a beneficial experience in many ways for children. They can learn responsibility, and it may even help them appreciate all the hard work that you do day in and day out.

Plus, you're helping your child prepare for the responsibilities of adulthood.

"Behavior patterns are learned at a young age. If we wait until the child is a teenager and expect them to do something, it will be a lost cause," says Ferndale mom Christina Stamper.

"I feel that if a child learned the value of responsibility and success through doing their chores, they will utilize those same values and judgments as an adult."

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Holiday Ham Recipes

Holiday Ham Recipes

Still looking for some ideas for your big holiday dinner? This year, try a new recipe for your Christmas ham – thanks to these ideas from Taste of Home, Pillsbury and more.

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids: Holiday Picture Frame

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids: Holiday Picture Frame

If you're celebrating the holiday and looking for quick and easy crafts for kids, this fun and affordable little keepsake is a great way to display family memories.

Dad Gets Unexpected Reaction to Terrible Christmas Gifts

Dad Gets Unexpected Reaction to Terrible Christmas Gifts

British dad pranks his kids with bad Christmas presents, but didn't get the reaction he was expecting – and it's pretty sweet.

Simple Holiday Family Crafts to Make with On-Hand Material

Simple Holiday Family Crafts to Make with On-Hand Material

Does your family have paper cups, Legos, plastic spoons or toilet-paper rolls lying around? Transform them into angels, snowmen and even a chimney for Santa!

Bath Time Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

Bath Time Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

What's the best way to bathe your child? How can you keep them safe in the tub? A pediatric doctor at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit has tips.

Snowman Dessert Recipes: Tasty and Cute Ideas

Snowman Dessert Recipes: Tasty and Cute Ideas

Who doesn't love Frosty the Snowman? Kids will enjoy making – and eating! – some of these adorable and delicious snowman recipes.

Holiday Stamping Favorite Supplies from Stampin' Up

Holiday Stamping Favorite Supplies from Stampin' Up

Crafty company Stampin' Up offers a variety of fun stampers, punches and paper that transform into cool gift tags, cards and other fun DIY projects.

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement