I have heard that the amish have a saying that children before seven are (chore wise) a burden, between seven and fourteen they can carry their own weight, and from fourteen on upwards they bring in a profit to the household.
So in other words, a house full of amish seven-year-olds would be able to run self-sufficiently.
Not exactly within the realm of our current cultural expectations. But I think it can serve as a reminder that children, when given the chance, can and do rise to the occasion of responsibility.
Hunter has “helped” out with anything and everything possible from the time he could sit up by himself. He grew up believing that work was part of life and that he was part of life too, so work has always been second nature to him.
I think that this parenting and educational philosophy has really helped him in developing a strong work ethic, and, at almost six years old, being able to be almost completely self-sufficient as well as a genuinely contributing member of the family.
Since I’ve found it helpful to see other people’s kids’ chore lists, I thought I would share what Hunter does around the house at this point in his life:
Checklist type stuff Hunter does on a regular basis
- Clean bedroom weekly
- vacuum floor and closet,
- dust shelves and windows (not perfect but it works)
- organize and straighten bookshelf, closet, drawers (with pointers from Mom)
- empty trash can
- Clean own bathroom weekly
- clean and sanitize sink, toilet, mirrors, shower
- sweep and mop floor
- empty trash, clean trash can
- Deep clean bedroom periodically
- declutter (with help from Mom)
- clean windows, walls, TV, certain toys, etc.
- sort dirty laundry into dark and light
- often, put family laundry in washer or switch to dryer (he knows how to run the washer and dryer and can do this by himself, but I usually do this with him as he’s still learning what can and can’t go in the dryer and how to load the washer evenly)
- fold or hang up all of own laundry and put away
- help fold family laundry, towels, blankets, etc.
- help gather and transport clean or dirty laundry
- change own sheets and bedding (still needs help with the sheets often)
- Empty kitchen trash as needed
- Take trash and recycling to street weekly
- Sweep sidewalks, patio, driveway weekly
- Check mailbox daily
- Bring in newspaper
Being Part of a Family
Besides his “chores”, Hunter helps out around the house whenever and with whatever needed (these are usually some of his favorite things to do)
- set and clear table
- load and unload dishwasher
- wash dishes for fun
- help prepare food (all the time)
- put leftovers away
- make own simple meals and snacks
- Carry in and put away groceries, other purchased items
- Help bag items while at the store
- Rake yard (not very good at it yet, but it is the practice that counts)
- Help out with desk work occasionally
- cutting, sorting papers, shredding
- Help wash the car
- Help out when mom does deep cleaning
- dusting, washing windows, mopping, vacuuming, etc.
- Help with all projects
- use tools, assemble things, run errands to get things from other parts of the house
- Organizing projects
- Basically, anything that we’re doing, he’s doing too!
Personally, I think this stuff goes without saying and isn’t necessarily a “chore”, but since it’s generally on other people’s chore lists for younger kids I thought I would include it:
- shower, brush and floss teeth (occasionally supervised), comb hair, trim nails, etc.
- Make bed, lay out clothes and other items for next day
- Pick up after self
- Keep self organized
- manage calendar, day planner (with help)
- Independent school work
- all school work that he can do independently, such as math practice sheets, reading, penmanship
His “Employed” Chores
I don’t believe in paying kids to contribute to the family, and am not really comfortable with an “allowance”, but Hunter has jobs he does to contribute to my home business (part time child care) that he gets paid a small sum for each week.
- Clean up after the kids’ meals
- clear table, put away food, clean entire kitchen
- Clean kids play area daily
- straightening and organizing all toys
- vacuuming carpet
- Clean bathroom used by kids daily
- sanitize sink, toilet, walls, trash can, sweep floor
- Empty diaper pail, take dirty diapers outside as needed
- Help with kids whenever needed
- read stories during circle time
- help with whatever I need assistance with
- Also included on his list is setting a good example, being gentle, focusing on assigned task, etc.
What kind of things do your kids do to help out around the house?
“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”