Mothering Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,115 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
<p>I would like my DD to start doing chores. She has a very entitled attitude and sincerely believes that children should do nothing to help in the house. So, time for chores.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Clearly she has this attitude since I have been remiss on getting her going on her own responsibilities thus far, but this is why I'm posting - I'm having a hard time picturing chores she's capable of doing at her age and in the lifestyle we live in.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If we were homesteaders, I could think of PLENTY of things she would be doing by now - letting the chickens out in the morning, gathering eggs, feeding and watering, helping me weed, etc.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>But we're not homesteaders.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>- She could set the table but she can't reach the cabinets. I think some kids her age can climb up onto the counters but she is hypotonic and this is sincerely out of her ability. I suppose I could get all the dishes out and just pile them up on the counter and just make it her job to bring it to the table and set it out. Does that make sense to do even though it's not really helping me that much?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>- She can help clear the table just by bringing dishes back to the kitchen counter. DH does the dishes.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>- We can enforce a once a day or twice a day toy-pickup time, where all the toys have to be put away. Maybe once a day, as part of the bedtime routine? What makes sense for that?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>And after that, I'm completely blanking. She does help me bake or cook, but you guys probably know she's not really helping as much as enjoying her time with me - it would be far easier for me to do it all alone. Same with gardening, I include her but frankly it would be easier to do it myself. Or is that just not the point of chores at all?</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
<p>My dd just turned 5 and we are starting to think of chores for her to do as well.  My dd is tiny for her age and can't reach cabinets either, but I hand the dishes/silverware to her and she does set the table.  Her 3 yr old sister helps put the silverware and napkins on the table.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Other things my dd does now:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>1) Helps pick up toys in the evening.</p>
<p>2) Folds washclothes and towels.</p>
<p>3) Sorts her clean laundry from her sister's.</p>
<p>4) Puts away clean silverware (she stands on a stepladder to reach the drawer).</p>
<p>5) Runs an electric sweeper in the kitchen/breakfast nook.</p>
<p>6) Can sweep up small messes with a dustpan and hand broom.</p>
<p>7) Helps put laundry in dryer as I take it out of the washer.</p>
<p>8) Matches socks to be folded.</p>
<p>9) Can carry small stacks of folded laundry to her room.</p>
<p>10) Helps rinse dishes and hand them to adult to put in dishwasher.</p>
<p>11) Helps dust furniture.</p>
<p>12) Helps water indoor and outdoor plants.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Hope that gives you some ideas!<br>
Lana</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,595 Posts
<p>Mine's only 4.5 but his chores are:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>clearing the table</p>
<p>help picking up toys</p>
<p>help put away clean clothes</p>
<p>bring me his dirty clothes basket</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Those are his regular chores.  He does do other things as I ask.  With my older son, I did put the dishes out on the counter so he could set the table every night.  It worked really well.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
<p>I think that most chores or help by a small child (or even some larger children) are more about developing their character (and your patience) than they are about getting a task done efficiently.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>My DD is 4 1/2, doesn't have any set "chores" but she does all sorts of things to help around the house.  When she sets the table I get the plates down first.  When she sweeps up her mess I may end up cleaning the floor more later.  It's okay.  I figure it's the way it is.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As far as putting toys away - I find my kids are more motivated if it is at a different time than bedtime - they definitely do some then, but generally encouraging them to put away one thing when they take out the next, or getting everything cleaned up before something they want (lunch, going somewhere, a video) works better for us.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Tjej</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,446 Posts
<p>First of all, it's *great* that she bakes, and cooks and gardens with you.  She *is* learning to work, and there's nothing wrong with thinking you're doing something fun. ;)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>About specific chores...</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Yes, put the dishes within her reach.  Yes, enforce toy pickup.  The point is to get her participating in home upkeep.  Good to start that now, even if you have to help her help you.  She can start learning to make her bed (at that age, for me just having them pull the covers up is fine, wrinkles are no biggie), she can help you carry things small things, she can help fold towels and sort out socks, etc.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>In our house we don't have a set chore list.  What I say is "It takes everybody for the house to run smoothly, so when something needs to be done, and you're assigned to it, just do it." :D  My 5 yo does all the things I listed above.  Recently he's also started helping me with dishes.  He can stack clean dishes from the dishwasher and put them on the counter for me to put away, and he enjoys the pre-washing of dirty dishes and scrubbing pot lids.  He and his brothers also weekly take their laundry basket to the chute and put all their laundry down it.  When we had carpeting, they used to fight over who got to run the vacuum.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Yes, it's more work for you to have her participate in these things.  But they aren't born knowing how to do this, and most people don't just suddenly know it at a certain age.  It takes teaching.  And you get to be her teacher.  What she learns now is that she *can* contribute to the running of the home, that she *should* contribute, that it is good and worthwhile to do these things, that there is satisfaction in seeing them done well, etc.  It's a process.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,540 Posts
<p>Watering plants, emptying wastebaskets, sorting recycling ~ all things that my kids were doing at that age.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
<p> </p>
<p>Daily, my just-turned-6yo "makes" her own bed, empties her lunch bag after school, sets the dinner table (and breakfast on the weekends), clears her own dishes and puts them on the counter, pours her own milk for dinner, tidies her play area before bed, and puts her clothes in the laundry.  We enforce logical consequenses for everything.  "Forgot" to set the table?  Mom & Dad set our own places and don't set anything for her.  "Forgot" to put clothes in the hamper?  Those clothes won't be washed next laundry day (even the favorite dress!).  Toys left out after bedtime disappear for a few days (to be fair, we're pretty careful to have a home for every toy).  With each new chore and new consequence, we'd usually give a verbal reminder or two for about a week.  After that, no reminders - that's just nagging.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For basic household cleaning, we expect help unloading the dishwasher (anything in the lower cabinets, and the flatware), dusting, helping transfer laundry and sorting, folding napkins and kitchen towels, putting her own clothes away, and running the electric sweeper while I vacuum.  I also find the lightest grocery bag(s) for her to carry in on shopping day.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I did rearrange our kitchen for her.  It's just temporary (what's 5 years?), but our plates and glasses are now UNDER the counter, and pots and pans are above.  It's a bit odd, but it means dd can now set the table entirely independantly, AND she can unload most of the dishwasher.  Plus, I'm short, so it really doesn't inconvenience me at all.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I will say, we built up to our list, starting when dd was 2 (picking up toys and putting socks away at that age).  I would definitely introduce new chores slowly.  It may take time, but having a helpful child in your house is great, especially when company is coming on short notice!  And it honestly frees up so much of MY time - that I can then gladly spend playing with dd :)<br>
 </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
<p>my nearly 6 year old has the following duties:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>* set the table - we dish our food onto plates in the kitchen and hubby brings the plates to the table, so DS1 puts out the placemats and the cutlery</p>
<p>* tidies up his toys in the evening (there's a big basket for his toys in the lounge, once he's done playing, he packs them all back into the basket)</p>
<p>* takes the wet laundry out of the washing machine and puts it into the basket for me to hang up outside</p>
<p> </p>
<p>we're adding in that he makes his own bed - it doesn't have to be perfect, but an attempt needs to be made</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
<p>My dd, 5, puts out the napkins and silverware and feeds the dog each night.  I think it's time to start with making her bed and putting her clothes in the hamper.  Our kitchen is under construction now but I also like the idea of her emptying her lunch box every afternoon. </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,145 Posts
<p>at that age, my kids make their own bed, set the table (we put the dishes on the island), clear the table (one kid sets, the other clears), help sort the clean laundry, put away their own laundry, gather the small garbage cans around the house to be emptied and clean up toys.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>now that my older ones are 7 and 9, they also fold their own laundry, help make grocery lists and help bring groceries from the door to the kitchen and put them away.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,424 Posts
<p>My soon to be 5 year old has been helping around the house since she was 2. </p>
<p> </p>
<ul><li>clears the dishes off the table</li>
<li>sets the table</li>
<li>cleans the table with a "bubblewasher"  (soapy sponge).</li>
<li>loads the dryer with wet clothes</li>
<li>picks up her toys</li>
<li>sorts the laundry</li>
<li>gets food/drinks for herself and her sister</li>
<li>makes the bed</li>
<li>puts stuff in the garbage/recycling</li>
<li>helps feed the animals, collect eggs etc</li>
</ul><p> </p>
<p>I don't make her do all these things every day (except for the toys) but if I'm cleaning up the house then I request she help out wherever it's needed.  The faster the house is clean the faster we can do fun stuff.  Her younger sister is two and she also helps pick up toys and has done some of the other things on the list with her dd1's help.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,736 Posts
We're in the "everyone helps to make the house run" camp. Dd helps, with more or less nudging, depending on the day, with the following:<br><br>
dirty clothes into the hamper<br>
picking up toys<br>
taking dirty dishes to kitchen after meals or snacks<br>
vacuuming<br>
cleaning the toilets (and before anyone gets all weird about it, this is one thing she <span style="text-decoration:underline;">asks</span> to do)<br>
Putting wet clothes into the dryer and dirty clothes into the washer (I sort, she tosses)<br>
sweeping<br>
setting the table for dinner<br>
she enjoys helping change the sheets<br><br>
I should probably teach her to make her bed (dh makes ours, so it's not on my radar as a daily task)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,100 Posts
<p>our 5 yr old dd loves to help out around the house.  she's an amazing helper, truly, and i'm so grateful.  she'll do anything requested in the "helping out around the house" department, but has specific chores that she helped choose.  until age 5 it was mainly general helping out, but on her birthday she got to choose her "own" chores.  we discussed options and she decided she'd like to feed the cat in the morning and clean up after breakfast, including the dishes.  each birthday we'll add to or alter the list <span><img alt="wink1.gif" height="15" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif" width="15">.  our 2 yr old dd is still in the early phases of helping, but is now, thankfully, cleaning up her own toys and clearing her plates.</span></p>
<p><span>btw, i LOVE logical consequences.  i think it's saved my sanity.</span></p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,517 Posts
<p>My son only has a few chores he's responsible for on his own: tidying up (we'll help if it's a disaster zone), wiping out the sink after teeth brushing, clearing his plate, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, hanging up his clothes and so on.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>However he is responsible for helping with chores most of the time we do them - set the table together, dust, vaccuum (he's actually quite good at doing the area rugs!), wipe down counters in the bathroom & kitchen, wipe the table, clean out cat boxes, shovel snow, sort and fold and put away laundry (the folding is a bit hit and miss :)), yardwork, etc.  So it's not really a matter of assigning him things but having him participate. Other than anything that involves big time cleaners (we do use some) or high-level sorting, he's probably found a way to help with it. And yes at the beginning it was "help" but now I can do the counters and upper cupboards and he wipes the lower ones and they're done! Or he dusts everything low.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I know this goes against the cultural grain and I think it's very personality-driven but I feel like he's willing in part because we've never made a big deal of it in terms of assigning him chores and getting upset if he doesn't do them. What we have done is maintain an expectation that he will participate in the running of the house. I expect this to change in the next few years and do more "chores list" type stuff but for now, I'm good with how it works.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,115 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GuildJenn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282804/chores-for-a-5-year-old#post_16112778"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><p> </p>
<p>I know this goes against the cultural grain and I think it's very personality-driven but I feel like he's willing in part because we've never made a big deal of it in terms of assigning him chores and getting upset if he doesn't do them. What we have done is maintain an expectation that he will participate in the running of the house. I expect this to change in the next few years and do more "chores list" type stuff but for now, I'm good with how it works.</p>
</div>
</div>
<p><br><br>
I was hoping to do this too but I started this thread when DD balked hard at picking up her toys - and not once but consistently. She actually is happy to help with anything else - folding little towels (sometimes she might get bored of the task before the whole task is done and I've never pushed that, but usually she'll happily fold them all) and put her clothes (that I fold) in her drawers, "help" us sweep, "help" me cook, etc. But putting her toys away, never! She seems to be under the impression that she "can't" and she's "not big enough." Bullocks. Could not be easier. Her toybox is one of those 9 fabric cube thingies from Target, and while I've attempted to organize them in the past (dolls in here, blocks in there) all I ask is that she shove her toys wherever they fit.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Maybe I made a mistake of not making a game of putting things away from the beginning. But in any event, this is one thing she does not view as fun, and she will only do it under a good bit of pressure (even with DH and I helping her).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So maybe my thread was misdirected - it was really about that specific thing. My mind leaped to "she thinks children can't have responsibilities, well I need to pile some on her to assure her that they can and do." I have met 5 year olds in other countries (Tanzania and parts of China) who were responsible for a LOT. Childcare (of younger siblings) for the most part - and that responsibility was not token but real, serious, and all-encompassing. No, I don't want to emulate this degree of responsibility, but I keep thinking of these children and thinking about my kid who can't even pick up her toys (which the other children didn't have any at all that I saw) and shove them in a box. She doesn't have a clue how lucky she has it. Kids (girls, mostly) slightly older than her are hauling huge, heavy containers of water. For miles. Every day.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,517 Posts
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>laohaire</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282804/chores-for-a-5-year-old#post_16112898"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
I was hoping to do this too but I started this thread when DD balked hard at picking up her toys - and not once but consistently. She actually is happy to help with anything else - folding little towels (sometimes she might get bored of the task before the whole task is done and I've never pushed that, but usually she'll happily fold them all) and put her clothes (that I fold) in her drawers, "help" us sweep, "help" me cook, etc. But putting her toys away, never! She seems to be under the impression that she "can't" and she's "not big enough." Bullocks. Could not be easier. Her toybox is one of those 9 fabric cube thingies from Target, and while I've attempted to organize them in the past (dolls in here, blocks in there) all I ask is that she shove her toys wherever they fit.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Maybe I made a mistake of not making a game of putting things away from the beginning. But in any event, this is one thing she does not view as fun, and she will only do it under a good bit of pressure (even with DH and I helping her).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So maybe my thread was misdirected - it was really about that specific thing. My mind leaped to "she thinks children can't have responsibilities, well I need to pile some on her to assure her that they can and do." I have met 5 year olds in other countries (Tanzania and parts of China) who were responsible for a LOT. Childcare (of younger siblings) for the most part - and that responsibility was not token but real, serious, and all-encompassing. No, I don't want to emulate this degree of responsibility, but I keep thinking of these children and thinking about my kid who can't even pick up her toys (which the other children didn't have any at all that I saw) and shove them in a box. She doesn't have a clue how lucky she has it. Kids (girls, mostly) slightly older than her are hauling huge, heavy containers of water. For miles. Every day.</p>
</div>
</div>
<p><br>
Well if she's helping she doesn't sound horribly entitled to me and really, I don't think you should regret not making things a game. She sounds like a lovely kid who's got some issue around tidying up. <span><img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"></span></p>
<p> </p>
<p>I don't know if you want brainstorming around that - I guess I would lay it out for her something like: "Hey daughter of mine, we need to work out how toys will be put away. I don't want them out all the time. I do think you are old enough to be in charge of your toys. What do you think would work?" and see what she comes up with. I'd stay focused on "Nope, I know you can do this" if she starts in on not being big enough. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>If she doesn't come up with anything I'd probably restrict the toys to one cube at a time until she's ready to help.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For my son it does help to have a very consistent time of day to do tidy-up. In his room, that's at night now...not the best in terms of his level of cheer but I say "in case we're walking around in the night, we have to have this tidy" and then he does it. It does really help, though, that he goes to Montessori where he witnesses many kids younger than him tidying up every day.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I bet other people will have good ideas.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For the third-world bit...I don't know. I'm sure I should be grateful I'm not hauling water every day and that I have a dishwasher but when I look at a post-party trashed kitchen I don't feel it, you know?  Even when I know I'm grateful for the friends that came over and the richness of having all that food...I still inside think "Why can't I afford a housekeeper?"  And I'm 39.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,450 Posts
<p>At five, my daughter could...</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Unload the silverware</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Fill the dog's bowl.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>kinda make her bed (If I kept my  mouth closed)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Set the table if I put the dishes on the table, she could put them in their spots.   She was tall enough that I could take them out of the cupboard and leave them on the counter for her to take to the table.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I had a daycare in my home, so she had to help at the end of the day with picking up.  </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,105 Posts
<p><br>
I can't get underneath the quotebox... DD will complain and whine and cry about cleaning up her toys, but she is more than willing to vacuum, sweep, help wash dishes, set the table, etc.. Something about actually cleaning up her toys is "to hard".</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Her current chores are to feed the cat and clean her room, she helps out with many other things as well though.<br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>laohaire</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282804/chores-for-a-5-year-old#post_16112898"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block"><br><br>
I was hoping to do this too but I started this thread when DD balked hard at picking up her toys - and not once but consistently. She actually is happy to help with anything else - folding little towels (sometimes she might get bored of the task before the whole task is done and I've never pushed that, but usually she'll happily fold them all) and put her clothes (that I fold) in her drawers, "help" us sweep, "help" me cook, etc. But putting her toys away, never! She seems to be under the impression that she "can't" and she's "not big enough." Bullocks. Could not be easier. Her toybox is one of those 9 fabric cube thingies from Target, and while I've attempted to organize them in the past (dolls in here, blocks in there) all I ask is that she shove her toys wherever they fit.</div>
</div>
<p>  </p>
</div>
</div>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
323 Posts
<p>We don't do specific chores, just what needs done at that tmie is what they need to do.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some common things that I ask for help with:</p>
<p>-Changing the laundry over-they can't turn the machines on but they can load them at least.</p>
<p>-help with loading/unloading the dishwasher</p>
<p>-putting their dirty dishes up</p>
<p>-vacuuming--I have a very lightweight little vacuum that I let the kids push around--it doesn't get much cleaning done, but they are enjoying something that helps a bit.</p>
<p>-feeding the cats/dogs<br>
-folding laundry-again, not very good at it but that is the way they learn.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,105 Posts
<p>I think your DD probably is helpful, she just isn't into putting away clutter. It isn't her thing. She prefers cooking and gardening. Fair enough. Enjoy that she does help with this and encourage her to contribute even more in these areas. I have a DD who loves to help me cook, but when it comes to cleaning "I don't want to, I can't, my legs are tired, you do it...." But I also have a DS who is much more neat and just needs a little hint to start, and he will put everything away. He is happier without the clutter. But he rarely helps me cook. He does not think it is fun and finds a million excuses to do something else. For myself, I don't mind laundry. Wash, fold, put away, no problem. Cooking, wonderful. But vacuuming and gardening. Ugh, I can find all sorts of excuses and more important things to do, or put it off until DH does it. What I am saying is - everyone has their "thing".</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So my 2 cents would be to forget the cleaning up of toys. Just keep asking her to help out and do it with you. Yes, it is faster if you do it yourself, but that is so NOT the point. Many things are faster/easier to do yourself, and often a huge pain to have their "help", but this "help" is the way they learn, and makes them feel like a productive member of the family, and eventually it does turn into real help. The alternative is just not a good option, imo.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Another option is natural consequences. For example: You want to play a game with her, but can't until the current mess is cleaned off the floor. Does she want to help clean up the floor so you two can play, or does she want to entertain herself while you have a cup of tea?</p>
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top