My sister, Buhle Mabanga, always jokes that all children need is “Love and Chores”. Jokes aside, there is so much truth in her statement. I believe that giving your child chores may be one of the most important things you’ll ever do.  Our responsibility as parents is to foster a strong sense of leadership and responsibility whenever and however we can. Giving our children chores is one way that we can help them learn responsibility and gain important life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Do you remember the times when young kids used to help out with younger siblings, work in the fields, prepare meals and all of this before walking for 10km to get to school?  Now, I’m not saying that we should give our children the same amount of chores, but this is just an indication that our children have the capability and capacity to take on more responsibilities. Times have changed, but they are capable of doing a couple of chores a day without complaining most of the time. Just like most things in life, the earlier one starts the better.

In case you’re bit stuck I’ve done a bit of research and put together a list of age appropriate chores as a guideline. I must admit, during my research I discovered that I need to up my chores game in my own household! In my 10 Traits of an Effective Family blog post which I uploaded earlier this year, I mentioned that it’s important to review your children’s chores at the beginning of every year. That way your children will take on more responsibilities as they get older.

As you view this list, remember that every child matures at a different pace. Adjust this list to what you know about your children’s skills and talents.

Age 2-3

  • Put dirty clothes in the washing basket
  • Clean up/ wipe after messing
  • Tidy up toys

Age 4-5

  • Make own bed with parental supervision
  • Help Set table
  • Help Clear Table
  • Tidy up toys
  • Close Curtains

Age 6-8

  • Close windows and curtains in the evenings
  • Put away clean dishes
  • Help with meal prep
  • Make own bed without parental supervision
  • Tidy up own bedroom
  • Help Set table
  • Help Clear Table

Age 9-13

  • Learn to cook at least one breakfast and dinner meal
  • Take out garbage
  • Wash and Dry Dishes
  • Clean own Bathroom on weekends
  • Help Set table
  • Help Clear Table
  • Help with meal prepping

Age 14 Upwards

By this stage children should be able to do any chore around the house without being reminded and without complaining. They should also be able to cook more than one meal without parental supervision.

Remember this is only a guideline, every parent has different expectations from their children. The major take away here is that our children need age appropriate chores so that they can grow into responsible adults.

Love B

Photography: Dein O’Toole

Resources   : Focus on The Family, The Happy House Wife