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Researchers have found a number of valid reasons for having your child do chores, including greater academic success, the development of time management skills and a sense of responsibility. Having your child do chores can also be helpful for you, as their parent, as it is a way to spread the work of the household among all of its members. However, the chores you have your child do should be appropriate for their age range, as should any reward that they receive for their work.

The benefits of chores for children

According to the Child Development Institute, assigning household chores for your child not only helps create a sense of responsibility, but also fosters feelings of self-worth and belonging. The many benefits of chores include:

  • Developing healthy time management and organizational skills
  • Providing an opportunity for a struggling child to have success
  • Learning to balance work time and play time
  • Developing the skills needed to live independently

Age appropriate chores

While assigning chores to the kids is generally regarded as a positive move for parents, it is important to select tasks that they are developmentally able to do. Here is a look some chores that are acceptable for different age groups.

  • Toddlers (2 to 3 years old): Putting their own toys away, placing clothes in a hamper, wiping up spills, placing books and magazines in a pile or filling up a dog or cat’s food bowl.
  • Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5): Helping clear the table after meals, making their bed, emptying wastebaskets, watering flowers, dusting with a clean cloth.
  • Elementary school (ages 6 to 9): Sweeping the floors, putting their shoes and backpacks away after school, loading the dishwasher, setting the table, cleaning their own rooms, fixing a bowl of cereal.
  • Middle school (10 to 13): Dishwashing, preparing meals, washing the family car, cleaning the bathroom, supervising younger siblings (with an adult at home), changing their sheets, taking out the trash.
  • High school (14 and up): Mowing the lawn, cleaning out the refrigerator, washing and folding laundry, ironing clothes.

Experts suggest avoiding using chores as a punishment for bad behavior. However, it is often helpful to tie the privilege of using technology, watching television or playing outside to the completion of chores, as this helps children learn to prioritize activities.

Should I reward my child for chores?

Whether to give an allowance for chores is a common question for parents. Children in the U.S. earn an average of about $800 a year in allowance. As explained by the Center for Parenting Education, there are two entirely acceptable views on the matter.

  1. Parents incentivize children to do chores by providing allowance for a job well-done. This can help instill a work ethic.
  2. Allowance is kept separate from the completion of chores and chores are regarded as a responsibility of being part of the family.

This means that whether allowance is an appropriate reward for chores depends on the age and personality of the child, parenting style and the parents’ personal choice. Many parents choose a hybrid of each of these theories by awarding the child for completing their chores with privileges rather than money. WebMD notes that allowance should generally not be offered as an incentive to younger children, as they do not necessarily understand the importance of money and may simply choose not to do the chores. However, for tweens and teens, there can be additional lessons about money management gained through the practice.

For more information about how chores can benefit your child, talk to your pediatrician at your child’s next checkup. If you are looking for a pediatrician in the Glen Carbon and Edwardsville, Illinois, area, take a look at the pediatric primary care services offered by Bard & Didriksen Pediatrics. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!