These children of mine are getting bigger and able to make more messes. They are able to reach things on higher shelves… build higher towers… get more toys out of more spaces. I can’t keep up. I shouldn’t have to. They have to take responsibility for their living space. I struggle with knowing what chores are age appropriate. I also struggle because I know that I can do it faster and better… but really… what does that teach the little monkeys? It teaches them that they can play and do whatever they want and not have to take any responsibility. It teaches them that someone else will always come behind and clean up their messes. It teaches my son to find a wife that will serve him and do everything for him… and he doesn’t have to do anything for her. It teaches my daughters to be door mats… whose only purpose it to cook, clean and do laundry. I do want to teach my children to have servant’s hearts. I do want to teach my children to think of others before themselves. I do enjoy (for the most part) serving my family by caring for our house. But I also think that I would be doing my children a disservice by not letting them do chores.
First we’ll start with the four year old. Her chores include taking care of baby girl while big brother does school, sweeping the back patio, putting dishes in the sink, putting clothes in the basket, picking up 10 toys before bed, putting away her laundry and wiping the table.
Big brother, who is about to turn six has chores like dustbusting under the dinner table, putting away laundry, watering the plants, picking up 20 toys before bed, putting dishes in the sink, putting away the silverware and putting dirty clothes in the basket.
I usually try to rotate chores. Each child (for now) has four main chores they have to do each day for reward. The other chores still must be done, but don’t always make it onto the chart. The Monkey Dad and I go back and forth about allowance and giving children money for chores. While we feel that children need to learn how to handle money, we also feel that the children are part of this family and because of that, they need to do their part. With that being said, the kids don’t get rewarded for every chore. Each chore done on the chart earns a star. At the end of the week, each star earns a penny. For right now, the kids have been saving up to 100 pennies and then heading to the dollar section at Target. We will be introducing soon how to save, give and spend. I was proud of the little monkeys last week. They took their chore money and gave it to a family who are raising money toward Ethiopian adoption.
The chore chart pictured above came from Target. It is a dry erase, magnetic board. I like that I am not wasting a lot of paper with lots of charts each week. I have each child color coded and with pictures so Little Sis can understand. It came with a black dry erase marker and lots of star magnets. When baby girl gets a little bigger, I’ll have to revamp the chart, but for now, it works… and so do the kids!
At this age, they like doing chores. They get excited about new chores. They start looking for more things they can do. This is the age to train them (even though they won’t do it perfectly) so they will be prepared and ready for bigger tasks as they get older.