We’ve always believed that our children need to help out by doing simple chores in the home we all share and make messes in.
However, we tend to get stuck in routines and patterns that don’t encourage children to help more as they become older. There are days we suddenly realize our daughter is a lot more capable than we gave her credit for. Perhaps she’s able to help out beyond bed making and picking up her toys.
Repetitive, simple chores help everyone. They give you a break and a time frame to do other things, and your children learn responsibility, life skills, and how to care for items they use.
Click through to see ideas for simple chores for kids ages 4-7:
Sorting Laundry 1 of 13
Sorting out clothes for washing and putting away can be a pain. So ask your children to help the next time you do laundry. Darks, lights, colors - it's an easy few minutes spent explaining how you'd like things done. Will they look as happy as the boy above? Probably not, but that's how you'll feel inside when laundry gets done quicker.
Clean the Table 2 of 13
Once the dishes and breakables are off, give your kid a sponge or cloth and have them go to town on the dining table. Ask that they also do the backs of the chairs and table legs - places usually long forgotten.
Dinner Prep 3 of 13
Does it take longer to prep dinner with kids? Absolutely. It's also worth it as they learn about measurements, food safety, and where our food comes from. Bonus: if they help prepare the meal, most kids are usually willing to at least give it at try.
Wash the Windows 4 of 13
Give your kids a squeegee or some paper towels and Windex for the older set. Then turn them loose on the windows and doors outside. A lesson or two on how to do this right means a job well done (most of the time) in the months to come.
Raking Leaves 5 of 13
It's fall, and for those of you who are lucky enough to have leaves (we have pine needles and dirt), you can get your kids to help with clearing them off your yard. A sturdy plastic rake works wonders and is light enough for a younger child to use. These are great for playing in, but also for composting for the spring.
Outdoor Painting 6 of 13
Have an old fence or some low trim that needs painting? As long as it doesn't have to be perfect, or it might need a first coat, let your little one have it with supervision. A smock, old pants, paintbrus and paint, and a few lessons in how to do it is all they need.
Yardwork 7 of 13
Yardwork is easily overlooked - but something that is such an important part of a childhood. Your kids will learn about the earth, plants, life cycles, and their own environment while helping your yard look great.
Dusting 8 of 13
Dusters don't need to be fancy. If you have an old cloth laying around, have your child start wiping down side tables, sturdy lamps, chairs, and bookcases. For a quick run through, they don't need any type of polish, but it can also be put directly on the rag or duster beforehand.
Setting the Table 9 of 13
Setting the table is something our daughter loves to help with. Although all the napkins are folded wrong and the silverware never quite makes it around to each spot, she tries so hard to be all grown up. Avoid anything sharp, heavy, or glass.
Vacuuming 10 of 13
Older kids can handle a lightweight vacuum, and the younger set can take on the corners and crumbs with a dust buster. It's best to start in a bigger space without cords or rugs so they learn how to work the vacuum first.
Drying the Dishes 11 of 13
Growing up, we didn't have a dishwasher until I was a teenager. I remember complaining about this and my parents saying, "We have 4 dishwashers." Meaning all 4 of us kids. Pass on that tradition by having your child help dry dishes that need to be hand washed. Littler ones can sit on a chair at the counter and help dry plastics and pots.
Recycle and Trash 12 of 13
Now is the time to teach your kids that there are items we can use again. Set up a second bin in your home or garage designed for recyclables and then sort on a weekly basis if you need to.
Feed the Animals 13 of 13
Feeding our dog and cats is our daughter's job. We use easy bins for her to get the food, and help her with the water.
Need to keep track of what’s being done? Check out these 14 amazing chore charts: print, purchase, or DIY.
Photo credit: istockphotos.com
Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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