As a substitute teacher, I see many things that makes me raise an eyebrow or do the whole face in palm action. Recently though, the most troubling trend has been the lack of responsibility kids take. Whether it is keeping up with their backpacks, turning in their homework, or studying for a test, the lack of responsibility is overwhelming. They would rather put the blame on someone else, than admit that something is their fault. They might not be able to tell you where their backpack is, but they can sure tell you whose fault it is.
These kinds of situations make me question if as parents, are we raising an irresponsible generation? Building responsibility in children starts at a very young age. How many remember singing or still do sing, “The Cleanup Song”, as we remind our young toddlers to put away their toys? By teaching children to put away their toys, clothes, or even their shoes, we are helping them learn to take responsibility for themselves. One of the best ways to teach this is by assigning children specific chores to do. Of course, it may not be a good idea to let your three-year-old empty the dishwasher or wash the knives! So when deciding on what chores to assign, make sure they are age-appropriate.
Performing chores not only teaches our children responsibility, but also the value of work. If they learn this concept now, it will not be as difficult for them as they get older. Understanding the value of work allows them to prioritize whatever occupation they have in the future, as well as striving to build a strong marriage.
Assigning chores to children makes them feel needed and important. My kids love the idea that they get to help their mom and dad around the house. Chores also teach our children the basics of kindness and empathy. When children are assigned chores, they get to see just what it takes to run a household, and even better what it takes to keep it running. The truth is there is always plenty more that needs to be done.
Some of the chores that my kids have been given include feeding and watering the pets, putting away their clean laundry, emptying the dishwasher (I leave this to my 12 year old daughter), cleaning their rooms, picking up their shoes, picking up their video game clutter, and putting away all their toys. Just recently we have taught our 14 year old son to cut the weeds around the house, and I am working on teaching my 12 year old daughter how to do laundry. Notice I said working on. It is still a work in progress, let me tell you.
Michael and I also feel that chores teach our children obedience. When they have been told something to do, they are to do it without arguing or grumbling. Now, this does not happen all the time. If anyone knows my 9 year old, then you certainly understand! However that is our goal, and what we are trying to accomplish. My children do know that there are consequences to not doing their chores, just like there will be consequences to not completing their tasks in the workplace. Of course, if you decide to set consequences, they need to be age-appropriate and fit your family dynamic.
In the end you have to decide for yourself if chores are for your family or not. If you do decide to assign chores to your kids, you will have to make the decision of how many, how often, and what specific duties you will have. To help with that decision, below are some charts of age-appropriate chores. Hopefully, you will find some that fit well with your family. Good luck and happy choring!