What Is The Perfect Age To Introduce Chores?

It's important to look at Chores in an age-appropriate way.

This topic tends to divide a lot of people. There are a lot of families who want to shield their children from responsibility for as long as possible. Who want to keep the magic of childhood alive and well for as long as is humanely possible. The mere mention of the word “chore” in the same sentence as the word child would seem bizarre. 
Other families feel quite the opposite. Introducing the idea of chores is actually a really important thing for them. They want their children to understand the philosophy behind “team work”. They want their child to grow up with a sense of responsibility and for a sense of normality to be associated with everything mucking in and pulling their weight. 
But is there a perfect age for introducing chores? Is there a guideline or recommendation to help us navigate this one? Unfortunately like many things in parenting it's just not black and white. We did find out some pretty interesting things when we looked in to it though. 
  • It's important to look at Chores in an age-appropriate way. For example, it might seem perfectly normal to sing “clean up clean up” with your three year old as you encourage them to put their toys back in to the chest or box. It won't feel so normal to ask them to mow the lawn or mop the lawn.
  • Chores can be a really GOOD thing for children. Psychologists have said that children love to feel needed. It gives them a great sense of importance and satisfaction.
  • Focus on praise rather than criticism. Your child will thrive on contributing to something positive. They will rebel against something they are being criticised for even if it was given constructively. Praise Praise Praise.
  • Being specific is really important for little minds. Something vague like “clean that room” is too broad. Instead it will work better to focus on something particular such as “could you put those books back on the shelf” or “can you pick up those clothes and put them in that green basket?”.
  • Introduce the idea slowly. It's a good idea to gently show your child the way to do something. Next time they might get involved and help you do it. Eventually this should naturally meander in to them trying it themselves and eventually actually doing it pretty effectively. 
Written by Tracey Quinn, staff writer at Family Friendly HQ


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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