Contribution and Chores by Age

African girl with folded laundry

Contribution is giving children small ways to be helpful throughout the day. If you are folding laundry they can match socks, carry stacks of washcloths and put underwear in drawers. If you are getting dinner ready they can color placemats, butter rolls, serve greenbeans, fold napkins and take drink orders. You might also ask children to water plants or pour dog food in the dog’s bowl or help get things ready for bathtime. These jobs are typically smaller than chores but still helpful. It’s good to start contribution as early as two or three years old and continue through childhood.

Chores children do because they are part of the family can easily start by four or five years old. Chores at this age are daily and should be things the child can do independently. Family chores are not paid but are expected. It’s helpful to have a chore chart so children can track their efforts. This is also laying foundation for later tracking chores for allowance. Chores as part of the family for younger children might include simple pet care, putting clothes in the hamper and towels on hooks or carrying plates to the sink. For older children family chores might include making their bed, walking the dog or picking up their playspace.

Keeping contribution and family chores, you might add chores for allowance by six or seven years old. In the beginning these chores should also be daily. As children get to be nine or ten years old the schedule of chores can be more flexible. There might be a chore on the chart that happens once or twice a week. Paid chores for younger children might include setting the table, dusting a room or washing windows or mirrors. For older children paid chores might include loading or unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming a room or a level of the house or cleaning a bathroom. As they are older you might also offer a list of bigger, one time chores like cleaning out the garage or raking the yard to earn extra money.

For motivation’s sake, it may be helpful to keep school work and musical instrument practice off chore charts. Also good to keep pet care on the contribution or family chore list and not paid.

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