Chores. You probably loathed them growing up, but now you're a parent yourself, there's no denying that helping out around the house is a valuable life lesson. Not only does teamwork make the dream work when it comes to everyday mess, but it can help kids develop skills they'll need in the future. If you're new to this business, then it can be confusing to know where to start. Exactly what should your child be expected to do, what can 8-year-old's handle, and what might be a little too much for them? Should they earn money for each task? Are there things you should avoid? Don't panic. We're here to help you out with this handy guide.
Laundry. The idea of allowing your little one to do the laundry might seem completely nuts, but hear us out. This a low-risk task, especially if you lay the groundwork. If you religiously separate your whites from your colors, then teach your child to do the same. Little details like going through the pockets to check for any rogue tissues make it a time-consuming but gratifying chore. Laundry is often the bane of busy family households, so the more help you can get, the better! However, if you do choose to assign this to one of the troops, it might an idea to put the detergent in yourself to be on the safe side. Once the load is done, they can also transfer it from the washer to the dryer. If you don't feel your child is ready for this much responsibility, ask them to sort a finished load into piles.
Cooking. Let's be clear, we're not telling you to ask your child to cook dinner single-handed a la Gordon Ramsey, but rather to include them in the process. This is a great chore as it also creates the opportunity for some precious bonding time. Children often love to cook, so why not capitalize on that? Simple things like stirring, mixing or even laying the table can be a big help for you, while also keeping them entertained. You might even find that they appreciate you more once they know the lengths you go to to prepare dinner.
Taking out the trash. This is a simple task that often gets overlooked as something adults do. If the main kitchen bin is too big and heavy for your child to manage, give them an empty trash bag and ask them to empty the other bins around the house. Little bins like bathroom, office, and bedroom bins are easier for them to handle, but also tend to get missed. Once they're done with collecting, they can take it out. That's one more thing you don't have to worry about!
Cleaning the bathroom. There's nothing you can't do with a pair of gloves and a scrubbing brush! Bathroom mess can accumulate incredibly quickly, especially on white porcelain. Arm your child with a pair of gloves, a brush, and some non-toxic cleaning product. White vinegar can often do the trick better than many chemical-ridden items on the market. They can go over the sink and taps, showers and tubs. Cleaning a bathroom isn't a small task, but it does have a great pay off. You never know, your child might even learn to love that sparkly-fresh clean feeling just as much as you do!
Vacuum. Most children love being asked to vacuum, as it seems like an exciting and interesting job. Lightweight cordless models are especially good for this, as you can often adjust the height, making them child-friendly. A large proportion of households vacuum multiple times a week, so this is a great filler task to keep little ones busy and the house spit-spot. There's something about the noise and power of being in charge of a machine that makes kids feel super special and grown up. If you're looking to kickstart your child's chore career, this would be a perfect place to begin.
What about money? Some parents ask their children to earn their allowance from performing weekly or daily tasks. Others set a certain value against each chore, so the more the children perform, the more they get to spend at the end of the week. Other households choose not to pay kids for their chores at all, believing that children should help keep their home tidy, regardless of payment. The choice is entirely yours. No matter what you do, you're teaching your child some valuable lessons that they'll carry through life.