Summer activities for kids: Age-appropriate chores

(Chore board from thechicsite)

As much as we love our summer routines, I know from talking to many mommy friends that a lot of us anticipate more work for us during the summertime – more little people at home for hours means more toys played with, more meals prepared at home with more dishes to wash, more laundry with pool towels and swimsuits. If you have mixed feelings – perhaps a bit of happiness to have your kids home with you more and a bit of anxiety about the additional burden on you – you’re not alone. So read on for some tips on how to keep your home running smoothly during the summer.

Now is a great time to step up your kids’ responsibilities a little. Each year they grow they are capable of doing more – and each new chore they learn how to manage will benefit them in the form of life skills. So if you get “But I don’t wanna!” or some eyerolling or some out-and-out defiance, stick with it. You’re teaching your little humans to become bigger humans with good life skills. This is worth the effort.

Your kids won’t always get their chores done perfectly. Perfection is the enemy of completion! Praise them for their effort and help them learn. This may take more time than just doing it yourself.

Some kids benefit from the perception of choice. I often make a list of chores that need to be done and invite my daughter to choose one – there’s a little less complaining that way.

These are some chores all your kids can help with:

  • Making beds
  • Putting their laundry in the hamper
  • Tidying their toys
  • Decluttering their bookcases and toy bins – a great opportunity to make room for new things and to share unused items with others!

Your younger preschool children can help with:

  • Tossing laundry in the washer
  • Putting dishes in the dishwasher after a meal, setting the table
  • Picking up twigs in the yard before an adult mows the grass
  • Planning meals and making a grocery list
  • Checking the mail
  • Putting food in pet food dishes
  • Picking up trash in their rooms or bathrooms

Older preschool children can help with:

  • Prepping simple ingredients for dinner
  • Taking out trash or recycling
  • Dusting and sweeping
  • Washing floors (or washing the car!)
  • Planting flowers, weeding
  • Walking the dog
  • Cleaning windows or mirrors

Motivating kids to do chores isn’t always simple. Here are some ideas:

  • Work For Hire: Your kids can earn a little extra each week by completing predefined chores.
  • Screen Time Printable Chore List: Screen time is major collateral in our house – earning screen time by doing chores is even better than earning money.
  • Reward Coupons: If you want to reward your kids with experiences or excursions rather than money or screen time, they can earn coupons good for a variety of fun rewards.

I know doing chores doesn’t always sound like the most fun way to spend your summer. But I encourage you to use your summer downtime to develop or strengthen your routines – your kids will be less bored, you’ll be less burdened with household work, and you’ll help your kids learn good skills for the future. It’s worth it!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11

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