Are you training your kids to help around the house? Several months ago, I put a chore-chart from my friend Toni (The Happy Housewife) on Facebook at The Busy Mom and went about my day. I forgot about it, actually. I thought that moms would love this handy chart, and that people would think, “Yes! Chores for children!”
Boy was I wrong.
I was amazed at how much controversy this little chore-chart generated. Before the end of the day I was called “abusive” and “lazy” for requiring my children to be active participants in our home. And we don’t even live on a farm! My children are working inside our house doing the things that people who live in houses do: they are cleaning, cooking, tidying.. and yes, they’re playing too.
Children who are trained to work around the house are not only a blessing to their parents, they are a blessing to everyone they stay with!
Here’s the thing, busy moms: teaching your children to help around the house is based on a Biblical principle! Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he won’t depart from it.”
If you’re still reading, I’d like to just throw out some ideas for chores that might be age appropriate for your children. Did you know that even toddlers, around the ages 2 or 3, can actually help you around the house? At that age, they actually like to help you! So, take advantage of it while they like it. They can pick up and put away toys. They can help you unload the dishwasher. They can dust with a feather duster or a rag.
One mom got really upset that I would “force” my toddler to work. She was asking why I would let my toddler do the dusting. I’ll tell you why. Because she likes doing it! She feels so grown up when she can follow me around the baseboards with her little rag. Is she really helping me? Not really, but I’m training her to help me later and she enjoys it.
My husband and I want our children see that they are part of a whole family and that we work together as a family. We teach this concept starting when they are old enough to walk. Your toddler can help you by putting their dirty clothes in the clothes hamper, they can move clothes from the washer to the dryer, especially if you have those front loaders. Saylor, our three year old, is learning how to put her clothes away. She loves to wipe the cabinets down. At this age, she is a huge help to me mostly she is joyful about helping. It makes her feel important to be helping mom.
If you have a preschooler, they can start helping you with those things, plus they can help vacuum, take out recycling, they can set the table.
Your kids, as they get into elementary school years, they should be cleaning the microwave, collecting garbage around the house and cleaning the bathrooms. They should be helping you around the house based on things you have taught them. If you need help in the kitchen, teach your children to help you. The investment of your time will go a long way in the days to come.
Of course, as they get older, children can start doing more. Our daughter Summer is ten. She loves making simple meals and helping me with the laundry. She’s our furniture-pusher-arounder—she loves to rearrange all the furniture (all the time, actually.) I’m always coming home to a different living room. But, I want to encourage her to do it, because at some point she is going to have her own home and she’ll need to know how to take care of it.
Get your kids working, busy moms! If you’ve got a middle schooler who is 12 years of age and up, they can be helping with almost everything around the house.
Don’t let anyone tell you that childhood is just for playing. It is for playing yes, but it’s also for preparing. If you’ll do the hard work of preparing your children to have their own home someday, they’ll thank you for it.
Train ‘em up!