Take the “Chore” Out of Doing Chores

All work and no play? No way! It can be difficult to encourage children to participate in daily routines and chores at home. Chores are hard for all of us to complete at times. However, chores don’t have to be all work and no play! By utilizing several simple Blog-Chores-Main-Landscapestrategies, doing chores can turn into fun activities for the whole family to complete together.

Participating in chores is a very important part of development. Completing household tasks will foster increased independence and self-esteem within your child. Your child will also learn the importance of working together. He or she will gain a sense of accomplishment and pride once tasks are completed, which will build internal motivation to continue participating in chores in the future.

For more information on selecting developmentally appropriate chores for children of all ages, please see the previous blog Household Chores for Children by Age. By selecting age-appropriate chores, you will help maximize your child’s success. In addition to establishing realistic expectations for your child, you can utilize the following strategies to take the “chore” out of doing chores!

Make chores into a game:

Be creative with the daily routine! Have a race with your child to see who can complete their task first. Try to beat the clock or timer while cleaning up toys. Turn the task into a sport, like shooting baskets with clothes into the laundry hamper.

Play pretend:

Create a secret mission for your child to complete. Make an obstacle course throughout the house while completing tasks. Have your child pretend to be their favorite character while cleaning. Sing songs while completing chores or cleaning up.

Call chores by a different name:

“Chore” can have a negative connotation and feel like a burden to a child. Chores could be called projects, jobs, or secret missions, among many others, in order to make it seem more fun and exciting.

Implement a reward system:

Reward systems can provide a source of external motivation for completing daily tasks and routines. Provide your child with a token or object after completing a chore. This token could be a sticker on a reward chart, a marble in a jar, or a check mark on a checklist. After the child receives a pre-determined number of tokens, he or she can receive a larger reward.

Create visuals:

Utilize a calendar or chart in order to provide an additional visual cue of responsibilities to be completed throughout the week. Incorporate the child’s favorite pictures, characters, or interests in order to make the chart personal and unique.

Keep in mind that new chores may be more difficult for a child at first. It is important to provide cues and reminders in order to support your child and foster confidence in completing new tasks. You can assist your child by breaking down the chore into smaller tasks. Encouragement and praise are also very important for increasing your child’s confidence and independence. By utilizing these simple strategies on a regular basis, you can turn boring chores into exciting fun for the whole family!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!


Household Chores for Children by Age

Children doing household choresWith school, holidays and less time to keep up with household chores, parents everywhere are looking for a few more helping hands to keep “home base” spick and span. Here is a brief overview of developmentally appropriate household chores:

Here is a brief overview of the developmental sequence of household chores:

Chores for a 13 month old:

Your child should begin to imitate you completing household chores. Pushing a pretend vacuum cleaner over the carpeting or helping you wipe up their craft table are excellent examples.

Chores for a 2 year old:

Your child should demonstrate the ability to pick up and put away their toys with verbal reminders (e.g. clean-up your puzzle before lunch).

Chores for a 3 year old:

Your child should be able to carry things without dropping them; dusting, drying dishes, and gardening. They should also be able to wipe up their spills.

Chores for a 4 year old:

Your child should be able to prepare dry cereal and snacks for themselves. They should also be able to help sort laundry before washing.

Chores for a 5 year old:

Your child should be able to put their toys away neatly, make a sandwich, take out the trash, make their bed, put dirty clothes in their hamper, and appropriately answer the telephone.

Chores for a 6 year old:

Your child should be able to help you with simple errands: complete household chores without redoing them, clean the sink, wash dishes with assistance, and cross the street safely.

Chores for a 7-9 year old:

Around 7-9 years of age, your child should begin to cook simple meals, put clean clothes away, hang up their clothes, manage small amounts of money, and use a telephone correctly.

Chores for a 10-12 year old:

Your child should have the ability to cook simple meals with supervision, complete simple household repairs with appropriate tools, begin doing laundry, set the table, wash dishes, and care for a family pet with reminders.

Chores for a 13-14 year old:

Your child should be able to independently do laundry and cook meals. By expecting your child to complete daily chores before moving onto their preferred activities, it is a wonderful way to prepare them for the demands of homework and other activities when they return to school.

Children of all ages can contribute to keeping up with housework. In addition to keeping your house clean, chores are also an excellent way to instill a sense of ownership and responsibility into your child’s daily routine. Your child could be responsible for one or two chores each day, or each week, depending on the time they have available. Create your own system for keeping track of the chores your child has completed (ex. sticker chart or a marble jar). Each time your child completes their chore, reward them with one token (ex. one sticker or one marble). When they reach 10 tokens, reward them with a bigger prize of their choosing (ex. an ice cream treat or a trip to the zoo). Be sure to verbally praise your child with each attempt at completing a chore and assist them as needed, especially while they work to complete a novel duty. Your verbal encouragement paired with the reward system will only help to motivate your child to take on more and more responsibility at home.

Fleming-Castaldy, R. P. (2009). National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam: Review and
Study Guide. Evanston, IL: International Educational Resources, Ltd.

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