As a homeschooling family, our life is messy. When everyone is home all the time, our house gets messy FAST. Dirty dishes triple, laundry is never ending and dirt seems to breed overnight. It takes a lot of effort to stay on top of house chores but by involving our kids in the process it lightens the load significantly!
It may take a lot of work on the front end but the pay off is great. It could be a few weeks or more of intentional training in order for your child to learn a new skill, but Sonya Shafer talks about the five steps process in teaching your child a new responsibility or chore, as follows:
1. I do the chore and you watch me do it
2. I do the chore and you help me do it.
3. You do the chore and I help you.
4. You do the chore and I watch you.
5. You do the chore and I inspect it.
We’ve implemented this Charlotte Mason style method and had a lot of success with it! It helps keep nagging at bay, because my children are seeing and experiencing the chore alongside me until they are confident and capable in doing it alone. They know my expectations and have seen the way I do it multiple times.
If you’re wondering where to start, here are some of the various chores we have worked on (or are planning on working on as they grow older) by age:
- Take Dishes to the Counter after Meals
- Unload Groceries
- Wash Produce
- Clean up Snacks
- Put Away Toys with Direction
- Match Socks/Sort Laundry
- Throw Dirty Clothes in a Hamper
- Sort and Fold their own Laundry
- Prepare Snacks
- Assist with Meal Prep and Chopping
- Set the Table
- Dust a Room
- Tidy their Bedroom with Assistance
- Wipe Windows
- Make their Bed
- Clean Toilets
- Wash and Vacuum a Car
- Put Away Folded Clothes
- Load and Unload a Dishwasher
- Change Bed sheets
- Wipe Sinks and Vanity
- Wipe Baseboard and Vents
- Change Light bulbs and Batteries
- Do a Complete Load of Laundry
- Clean a Bathroom
- Mow the Lawn
- Cook Simple Meals
- Sweep, Mop and Vacuum Floors
- Wash Pots and Pans
- Take Out the Trash
- Help Set Up Seasonal Decor
Our son, age 7 1/2, making his bed: All Ages are Capable
We try to approach chores as a lightheartedly as possible. Instead of chores being used as punishment or having a chore chart, right now our family just has an expectation that our kids will help when they are asked. Just as we expect them to get dressed every day and it is something that is part of our day and routine, we just expect them to help with the tasks they know how to do. Usually young children want to help and want to be around me when I’m working, so I use that interest to teach and practice helping chores.
Teaching our kids to help with chores and independent life skills is for their future success. It also teaches them responsibility, helps them feel needed and important within our family unit and teaches them hard work. Working together not only takes the burden off of the parents to do everything, but it frees our family up for more time together!
I hope this has been a helpful and practical look at chores and how to teach them! Happy Homeschooling!