Inspiration for Younger Children
Most young kids don’t need much incentive to pitch in with chores because they’re naturally eager to help. Sometimes, however, small children aren’t quite old enough to perform the tasks they want to assist with. Instead of shooing them away, find age-appropriate responsibilities to help them feel a part of the family obligations, such as:
- Helping carry light groceries from the car
- Helping parents or siblings fill water and food bowls for pets
- Making their beds daily
- Picking up toys
- Placing laundry in their laundry basket and helping fold clean clothes
- Setting and cleaning the table with supervision
School-Age and Preteens
At this age, kids are more apt to want to receive rewards for their contributions. While your first instinct may be to establish an allowance (money does motivate), there are other ways to bestow incentives for good work.
Create a point-system chore chart. Listing chores to accomplish and giving value to each provides kids with a visual to measure their successes. Utilize stickers to tally up completed tasks, take stickers away for misbehavior or neglecting to finish a chore. Once your child reaches a certain number of stickers, allow him or her to pick a special reward, such as choosing a fun family outing like bowling, a movie night or a visit to the ice cream shop.
Rotate responsibilities. Rotating age-appropriate responsibilities among siblings keeps chores fresh and interesting. For example, appoint one child to dish duty one week while the other is in charge of taking out the trash. The following week, switch their chore responsibilities.
Time spent equals time earned. It becomes increasingly important for preteens to experience independence and time with friends outside of the home. Develop a system that earns your preteen time out on weekends with friends for time spent performing chores during the week. Ensure that it’s understood that purposefully taking too much time to complete a task will result in time being taken away from time earned.
Find other insightful age-related tips by clicking on “Get Answers” and then “By Age Range.”
This article was reviewed by Jane Fesenmeier, M.D., pediatrician, St.Vincent Medical Group.