I believe there is nothing wrong with teaching your child from a young age to help with the chores in the house. Now I’m not saying that you should become Frau Rottenmeier and demand that chores get done before they are allowed to play or anything hectic like that. But it is good for kids to help around the house for more than one reason.
I believe that this will help your child learn responsibility, i.e. I make a mess, I help clean up. Your kids will learn new simple everyday tasks (being able to make their own bed) and this way become more independent.
Now, of course, the type of chores depends on the age of your children. At this point with my 2, they have a chore chart on the fridge. It is laminated so we can reuse it and the chores sometimes change. For example, my 8 year old helps pick up the dog poo as part of his chores, but on days where it was raining, we swapped that chore with something else.
So our daily chores for my 8 and 5 year old are:
Make your bed
Tidy up at 13:00 and 17:00
Do your dishes
Pack away your washing
Then for the 5 year old – feed the dogs and the 8 year old pick up the dog poo/make sure the dogs have water.
When they were little they still helped to tidy up whenever they made a mess. We use to sing “Tidy UP, Tidy Up, it’s Tidy up time” As they got older we started to make a game out of it.
The other “chore” is that the boys need to always take their bowls, plates, cups, etc. to the kitchen when they are done eating or drinking. This is again a very simple way to slowly teach him how the world works. You can’t just make a mess and leave it like that. If you made the mess, you need to help clean up.
Without me having to ask, Henri helps me every day with everything. He is really such a sweet boy. When I make the beds or put clean bedding on, he jumps at the opportunity to help me pull the sheets down and tug the fitted sheet in under the mattress. He has done this since a very young age. We use to live in a complex and make use of their communal washing machines, this was always an adventure for him. I would put him on top of the machine and he would get to through the soap powder in, place the coin in the slot and push the button. Even now, when he hears me switch the washing machine on, he comes running, screaming “me me me” He always looks so chuffed with himself once he has pressed all the necessary buttons and the machine starts.
Sweeping is another favourite chore that my 5 year old loves doing. Now lets face it, sometimes their help with things like sweeping is not really helping because they miss spots or they might actually just be making more of a mess. I normally do not correct them. If my 5 year old is giving it his best and he missed 2 or 3 spots I do not tell him “thanks, but you missed these spots” I thank him, make a note on their chart and then once he is out of the room I clean the spots he missed. I believe in rather looking at the positive instead of the negative.
Then off course anything that involves working with water. When they were little and before the water crisis I would let them draw with sidewalk chalk on our outside walls. Then they each got their own bucket and sponge. Once they are done drawing on the walls, they wash the walls. They are still allowed to draw on the wall and brick, but we just don’t wash it off anymore. Another favourite, washing their “road” carpet.
There is also another favourite, but doesn’t happen that often, giving the dogs a bath. Both boys LOVE this.
Every day the boys check off their chores on the chore chart and by Saturday evening, if all their chores were done, they both get R10. If they were super helpful during the week and did extra chores they obviously get a bit more. Depending on what they have done they can earn an extra R5 or R10 that week.
I really hope all of this carries over to when they live on their own one day, for the sake of their wives and society.
I think chores do not just teach them valuable skills for the future, but it teaches them independence, a sense of achievement and also show them that everyone in the house contributes. We are a team.