*This is a guest post by Nicole Gardiner, owner of London-based cleaning company Dream Cleaners London. She often writes articles related to cleaning and organising. Here she lists some useful tips on distributing chores among children
Chores are chores, they have to be done and avoiding them only makes things worse. It doesn’t matter if you are an adult or a child, if cleaning/ tidying/ completing household chores is not your thing, it is normal to find it tedious sometimes. But the job has to be done and it is best done with a lot of helping hands.
Explaining the importance of helping around the house and doing basic chores is of paramount importance in raising responsible children. But we must keep in mind that not every cleaning chore is suitable for every child. Children are not equipped to take on certain tasks that require more responsibility or are more difficult. While it is ok to ask your toddler to tidy up his or her toys after playing, it is unreasonable to expect them to help with mopping the floor or vacuuming!
Chores for 4 to 7 year-olds
Children of ages 4 to 7 can easily handle tasks like tidying up their room, putting away toys, straightening their bed sheets, throwing their dirty clothes in the hamper and picking up their rubbish. If you have pets, they can help feed them. If you have a garden, let them water the plants every once in a while. It will double up as a fun outdoor activity too!
Chores for 8 to 13 year-olds
Kids aged 8 to 13 years have more experience in the world and can handle more challenging tasks such as running small errands (and by that I don’t mean giving them a ten-foot long grocery list!), walking the dogs or cleaning up the fish tank or animal cage. Older children also know that not everything is a toy and know when to be cautious, so helping out with cooking shouldn’t be a problem. You can also teach them to turn on the washing machine or help load the dishwasher.
Don’t gender-stereotype chores
An important thing to remember is never to gender-stereotype the chores. Children need to learn all the essential skills, so let your boy do the dishes once in a while and let your girl tend to the garden.
To round up, distribute cleaning and organising chores based on the level of maturity of your children and difficulty of the chore. Patiently teach them how to do these chores. Know what is completely safe and what could be a hazard to them. Let the kids learn and grow into responsible, helpful adults.