Tag Archives: chores

Little Chefs: Chores in the Kitchen

We have little chefs in our house. Our oldest thinks that overtime someone is cooking she must be in there helping. Everyone loves to cook. I must be a family trait. We learned early on that including our kids in the food prep and cleanup that they seemed more interested in eating the food. So we tried not to discourage them from helping in the kitchen. But when they were little it could be difficult to decide how much they were allowed to help. That was when we decided to let them to small things, like help stir, set the table, take their plate to the kitchen, wash the produce, etc.

How much your kid can help with is really dependent upon their maturity level and skill level. If your kid understands things like sharp objects, cleanliness, and can handle carrying things without dropping them you might decide that they are ready to take on more in the kitchen. It is all relative.

If you aren’t quite sure what your child can handle try letting them try something with supervision. Start small, and build up. Buy some small plastic tools to let them use. We sometimes let our four year old cut things with a small plastic butter knife. But only with supervision and only soft things like berries and bread or dough.

Here is a simple little chart that can help you decide what chores are appropriate for your child. But always take in to account the ability level of your child. And please, always use supervision in the kitchen.


The Great Chore Debate

We have discussed chores on this blog before. Many parents agree that you need to give children chores in order to help them understand responsibility. Others say it is not a good idea to force kids to participate in household chores. We recently had a new baby in our family. We expected that mommy and daddy would have a lot more work after this new addition. We were surprised that our older child, age 4, stepped up to help out in the house with the new baby’s arrival.

We have always had small chores our 4 year old helped with like feeding the dogs, making the bed, setting the table. Now our 4 year old is even helping with he baby. Watching the baby while mommy and daddy get dinner ready, or get the bath ready. Bringing the baby toys, blankets, diapers, etc when they need them. Helping has become one of the ways our 4 year old expresses their love for the new baby. It is also a way to show us that they are a big kid now. We hear all day long, “I help because I’m not a baby, so I can help the baby.” We never considered the fact that they would want to help, and that it would be a sign of independence for them. They are very proud to be able to help now. So everyday we add a little more to their list of things they can help with. As long as they are comfortable with doing something and it is safe for them to do we have decided to let them try. What do you do in your household when a child starts to show an interest in helping out?

Chores for Kids: Yay or Nay?

So last week I was in the backyard with my daughter, age two, picking up the dog poop in our yard. If you have dogs, or other animals, you know this is a necessary evil, and it happens fairly often. I had pooper scooper in hand and wandered around the yard cleaning said evil droppings. When my daughter yelled out to me, “Dog poopoo mama! Here!” I walked over to her and indeed saw a spot I had missed. I went to rake it into the scooper she stopped me and asked to help. I let her hold the handle to the scoop basin while I raked the poop in. She loved it. She screamed about helping. She even went around and gathered a few more pieces. I was over the moon. Maybe soon I can stop doing this job and pass it off to her. Especially since she seems to enjoy it. My neighbor was not as enthused as I was. He actually yelled at me over the fence about using my child as slave labor. It is a parents job to work he told me, children should not do chores. I was baffled. I did chores as a child. It was not slave labor. I did what everyone else in my house was expected to do as well. So I pose this question to you readers, are chores unreasonable?

I have always taught my children to participate in the household duties, just as my parents did with me. It encouraged productivity, community involvement, and an understanding of how the world works. In order for the house to run smoothly for us all to enjoy our time together we have to work together to get things done. Every night my entire family helps. The oldest help in the kitchen at dinner time, chopping things, or assembling the salad. The younger children set the table, and everyone helps to clear at the end of the meal. My children also help to take the trash out, clean up their rooms, and feed the dogs. My two year old loves putting food in the dog bowl and carrying it in to the kitchen for them.

When it is time to clean up the house everyone pitches in, helping to dust, mop, and fold laundry. My two year old sorts the laundry, she revels in her ability to sort the whites from the colors.

So I ask you once more, what is wrong with this? My children still play, they go out with friends, they do not get punished for not helping, but they also do not refuse to help. It has never been a requirement, no punishments or treats are given for helping. It is just something everyone does. I feel it helps my children to understand responsibility, appreciate what they have, and teaches them how to run a household when they are older. I would hate to see my children at 30 unable to take out the trash, or cook a decent meal. What do you feel is a good chore for every age? Do you agree with the chart for different age group chores? Is there something you would add? Or remove?

Chores for kids