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10 Chores Your Kids Can Do Themselves

In the interest of preventing a full-blown “mom strike,” per Kim-Marie’s recent post, I think it’s time for an honest discussion about what we can realistically expect our kids to help with around the house. I recognize that we are no longer living during the old days when parents reproduced solely so that they would have extra hands to help out on the farm… however, perhaps we have swung too far in the other direction, protecting our children from having to lift their little fingers at their own expense.

I for one do not want to raise a child who does not know how to do his/her own laundry…who does not know how to wipe down a counter top… who does not know how to load a dishwasher. Expecting our kids to help out around the house doesn’t just help us; it teaches them valuable life skills that they will need later on.

To that end, here is a list of chores that I nearly always outsource to my kids. Keep in mind, my youngest is 9, so if your kids are younger these might not all be manageable.

1. Take out the trash and the recycling. This is an easy one and it only takes 2 minutes. My biggest challenge: getting them to put a new garbage bag in the bin after removing the old one.

2. Empty the dishwasher. This is one of the most boring tasks for me personally, but it goes much more quickly when there are a few little hands chipping in.

3. Load the dishwasher. Once they learn that the bowls and cups go in upside down, it’s easy.

4. Laundry. The older ones, especially, are now expected to do their own laundry. I still do the younger kids laundry, but they are responsible for bringing it to the laundry room for me… and they are ALL old enough to put their clean clothes away.

5. Sweep the floor. For some reason my youngest child enjoys this task… lucky for me.

6. Wipe down the counters and table. The kids actually fight over who gets to do this task after dinner each night. It’s a quick and easy chore.

7. Vacuum the carpet. My youngest actually feels really important and responsible when I ask him to vacuum, so I feel like I am giving him a confidence boost each time I give him this chore.

8. Make beds/keep their rooms clean. They are ALL responsible for this. Right now our house is on the market so it’s even more important that the beds are always made and there are no dirty clothes on the floor.

9. Clean the playroom. It’s an extension of their rooms, because it’s where they hang out with friends, watch tv, and do homework. It’s their space so they are collectively responsible for keeping it clean and neat.

10. Help out with dinner. I love when the kids help me with dinner; it’s more fun for me and I think it feels less like a chore for them.

What about you? Are your kids responsible for doing chores in your house?

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