Not everyone shares the same opinion about kids and chores. Personally, I think they need them. And when I say need, I mean that I think if kids don’t have chores, it will effect them for the rest of their lives in a negative way. Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject:
Kids need to learn to work. If you wait to teach them to work until they are teenagers or adults, your job will be a much bigger one. They won’t be used to doing things they don’t want to do, and it will seem way harder to them then it would if they had been doing it all their lives. If you start having your kids do chores that they can handle from a young age, then working will be a habit to them instead of an obligation that only adults have to deal with. They will learn to enjoy working, and figure out how to deal with doing things they maybe aren’t so excited to do.
Kids need to feel needed. What’s worse then not knowing how to work? Feeling like you aren’t needed. Imagine if you had no responsibilities and no one ever asked you to do anything. How would that make you feel? Your sense of worth would suffer because you would never been needed for anything. Kids need to know that they are needed too. They need to feel responsibility for something and understand that they are an important part of the family.
I could talk for a long time about teaching kids the value of work, but I will save you the lecture. Those two points sum up the major feelings that I have about kids and chores. On the other hand though, I think it’s important to not get carried away and demand work from your little ones all the time. I believe that a few responsibilities that they can handle on their own, plus one or two that you help them with, is a good amount for the under 5 crew.
The chores that I have Little Man and Sweetie Pie (ages 6 and 4) do, take them 30 minutes to an hour each morning, depending on how motivated they are. I usually have them make their beds, brush teeth, comb hair, clean up their room, bring dirty clothes to the laundry room, plus 2 or 3 more from the list below. I also ask them to help with a few other things throughout the day that probably add up to another 30 minutes. Some parts of our homeschool count as work to me, like when they have worksheets to do or Spanish to practice. This schedule allows them to play for several hours each day and still be kids, while learning responsibility and work.
Boss (age 2) is just beginning to have chores. He is expected to put his clean clothes away, make his bed, and help clean up toys. When he sees his older siblings doing it, it’s not hard to get him to do his chores too. They usually only take him about ten minutes, but he is learning that everyone in this family is needed and expected to help out.
Sometimes it is hard to come up with good chores that the little ones can handle. So to help you out, I have put together a huge list of homesteading chore ideas for the 5 and under crew. Pick a few each day, try them out, and you will find out real quickly what your child can handle. Every kid is different, so we test out new ones all the time and adjust when we need to.
- Dead heading
- watering pots
- feeding chickens
- take care of the kitties
- take out the compost
- pick up weed piles
- pick of dehydrated food
- put together snack packs
- mash fruit for jam
- harvest peppers, peas, easy to grab veggies
- clean out the car
- make their bed
- sweep the steps
- wiping down toilets
- vacuum stairs
- back filling around transplanted plants/trees
- put clean clothes away
- washing fruits and veggies
- cutting soft fruits like strawberries, peaches, etc
- pick up garden tools
- spreading mulch
- planting seeds
- sweep cobwebs from windows and doors
- wipe down counters and cabinets
- empty small garbage cans
- fill pots with potting soil
- put clean silverware away
- pulling grapes off the sprigs
- gathering all the dirty clothes
- composting plants
- Harvesting and washing salad
- Trimming the herbs
- Picking Dandelions
- collecting the eggs
- putting fruits and veggies in the jars to be canned
- washing outside toys
- washing produce baskets/containers
- picking caterpillars off the cabbage
- spreading mulch
- Picking up pine cones
I would love to hear your ideas! Leave a comment with the chores you have your young kiddos do.
Raising kids on a homestead is both challenging and rewarding. Check out some of my other posts about kids and homesteading: