10 chores for school kids

Here’s a little something I’ve gleaned over the past few years; toddlers and pre-schoolers love to help with chores around the home. School-aged kids? Not so much.

And yet generally it’s the school kids who have the skill and independence to do chores without a parent looking over their shoulder. Ironic that it’s when they have the ability to complete a task they no longer have the interest to start it in the first place.

Teaching my kids to do chores and encouraging them to complete them has never been my strong point as a parent.  But now that there’s two kids very capable of contributing to the running of the house, I’ve stepped up my parenting game.

For the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on the lounge while I breastfeed. And it’s given me the perfect opportunity to encourage, direct and monitor the completion of chores, so much so that we’ve established some really strong expectations for the big kids.

Of course, when we suggest that perhaps it’s time to set to work, we’re often met with indignation. It’s in these moments that we reinforce the fact that we all need to be responsible for the running of the house; there’s six of us now, it’s essential that we all chip in.

Personally, I find it incredibly easy to forget what I’ve asked of them and move onto something else. I’ve learnt the hard way that the key to chores being completed is consistent checking-in and following-up.

So what do we expect from our big two? Here’s 10 chores that can easily be completed by school-age children (even if they do need to be reminded and encouraged). Most of these are also great options to use with toddlers and pre-schoolers who are learning as they go:

  • recycling : make sure all lids are off bottles (and put into the regular rubbish) and carry the load to the recycling bin outside.
  • bin night : garbage/recycling/garden waste are wheeled out and brought back in the next morning.
  • washing : taken off the line and sorted into piles.
  • water plants : any water left in cups or water bottles goes straight into the plant pots.
  • set + clear the table : this is a great way to focus their attention during witching hour.
  • dishes : they usually dry and put away after I’ve washed (we haven’t had a dishwasher for three years…on some days it does my head in). This doesn’t work on weeknights but it’s a great one for weekends.
  • school lunch : it’s their responsibility to take their lunchboxes out of their bag and put them on the kitchen bench ready to be washed and packed for the following day.
  • beds : they’re encouraged to make them every morning although this doesn’t always eventuate (working on it).
  • uniforms : they’re responsible for making sure their uniform is ready and laid out before they go to bed.
  • toys packed away : relentless though it is, I persevere.

If you’re interested in teaching your toddler/pre-schooler, you might like my post on Raising Competent Kids.

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