When is it appropriate to assign your children chores? (And how to get kids to do them)

Make clean-up fun, make a game out of it. (Source: WOIO)
Make clean-up fun, make a game out of it. (Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)
Brad Mitchell, Northeast Ohio Parenting magazine publisher and owner (Source: WOIO)
Brad Mitchell, Northeast Ohio Parenting magazine publisher and owner (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - We all know the struggle of keeping up with the house, especially for those of us with kids. But when can the kids start helping with that clean-up?

Here's an age break down of appropriate chores for kids with the help of Northeast Ohio Parenting magazine publisher and owner Brad Mitchell.

Ages 2, 3 and 4 - Make clean-up fun, make a game out of it.

"The earlier the better. It's much harder to start a good habit later in life," says Mitchell.

He also suggests saving energy, during play time, for cleaning up.

"You don't want just an exhausted child passing out. You want to build that into the timeline of the day," says Mitchell.

Joanne LoPresti is the mom of a 1st grader. Her son, Bob, does chores like cleaning his room, helping with dishes and taking out the trash. She describes how she introduced chores to him at a young age.

"If he had blocks we were playing with, we'd start pretending to throw them in a basket." She also introduced songs to help with the process, "We'd sing the "Clean up, clean up everyone" song."

Ages 5, 6 and 7 - Introduce jobs that actually help around the house.

Brad says this is the age kids can start to do tasks like putting away the laundry, cleaning up the playroom, or loading the dishwasher.

"It's more of responsibility that needs to be engrained. We're part of a family and we need to work together. This is our role," says Mitchell.

Mom of three, Kirsten Glazier, has her 7-year-old twins, Owen and Corinne, make their beds daily, and put their clean clothes away.

"I fold all their laundry and set it outside their door," says Glazier. She adds that her 4-year-old likes to pitch in too, it makes him feel like one of the 'big kids'.

Ages 8, 9 and 10 - Chores become more like a first job.

"You're judging them. You can say, you can improve on your performance or maybe you give an extra reward for a job well done," says Mitchell.

Brad says that often times kids will start to take ownership in their chores. He suggests parents let them focus on one specific task for a month.

"This month you're going to learn what it means to sweep the floor and so if the child sweeps the floor one day and then next time they start to see crumbs falling, they start to think, 'Hey, that's the area I clean up,' and they take more ownership and responsibility for it," says Mitchell.


Tip 1: Try not to fight

"Reprimanding a child over and over and making it a battle, making it a war, even parents at times, need a time out," says Mitchell.

Tip 2: Change up the routine

For example, how about a chore bucket instead of a chore chart.  You write down all the possible household chores on pieces of paper and then put them in a basket. And then the child picks out one during the week, on a school night. Then two or three on the weekend.  Brad says it takes away the stress of a chart and makes it more of a game.

Tip 3: Withholding

"Well you can't have that sleepover Friday night until this gets done," says Mitchell, talking about one example he's used with his kids.

Tip 4: Rewarding

"Hey when this gets done, we're all going out for ice cream," says Mitchell.

Tip 5: Weekly Allowance

Brad says this works best for the older ones, when they have a better understanding of money, so closer to age 6 or 7, about a dollar or two a week. Maybe extra for bigger projects.

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