Week 24: Learning Life Skills with a Chore Chart
Summer is a great time to set up a new chore routine for your kids. It’s much easier to get kids used to new responsibilities when schedules are a little less crazy. And once they’re in the rhythm of doing their new chore, it will be a lot easier to keep it going when the new school year begins.
Each summer, I like to identify one or two new chores that I’m going to add to my kids’ list of responsibilities. The chart below is a great resource for ideas of what kids at different ages can handle.
There are lots of different thoughts out there about chores for kids – how many they should do, whether they should get paid for them, etc. We struggle with these questions too, but one thing I know for sure is that chores are incredibly important part of raising kids to be competent adults.
- Chores teach skills that they will not learn in school, but are critical for them to learn before they’re on their own. I don’t want my kids to be the ones who go to college not knowing how to do laundry, or who get their own apartment but don’t know how to cook a simple, healthy meal.
- Chores teach responsibility. It’s tempting to want to take care of our kids and not make them deal with the drudgery of life, but the drudgery of feeding ourselves, clothing ourselves, and even just doing work that isn’t fun is a reality of life, and kids need to learn how to balance the fun with the work.
- Chores give kids a sense of accomplishment. As much as my older son hates to cook, he loves how good he is at making an awesome, perfectly browned and melty grilled cheese sandwich.
This summer, I’m going to start having my kids take turns unloading the dishwasher every morning. I also want to focus on getting both of my kids to help more with meal preparation at least once/week. And I’m going to try to get my older son, who will soon be 13, to start doing some of his laundry himself. These chores will be added on to the chores he’s already responsible for.
First, I will make a chore chart that we will use this summer to get them used to these chores.
These checklists have made a huge difference for my family. I don’t have to remember everything the kids need to do, it’s the list, not me, telling them what needs to be done, and they can control their own schedule and take charge of their own time.