Posted: Jan 21, 2013 11:00 AM
School-aged kids are prime for starting to take on some more serious, regular chores around the house... and it's time that you let them! Get started with these age appropriate chores for 5- to 10-year-olds.

When kids are assigned household chores, they may complain, but parents can assign added work with confidence knowing that the end result with be more responsible children.

Life skills 101

Household chores are just a part of life, which is why our kids should be in on the fun. Chores teach kids important life skills like responsibility, communication, time management and cleanliness. "These lessons will help your child in later life as they move away from home and navigate the adult world," says Lauren Urban-Colacicco, LMSW, a New York-based therapist whose specialties include child and family counseling. "These lessons are also the foundation for success in a social environment."

Set up for success

Chores done cheerfully and to completion should be rewarded in some way, even if it's just by praising the child.

If you want your kids to benefit the most from their chore experience, it’s important to set them up for success. This means choosing appropriate chores, encouraging obedience and reserving judgment. "The parent should ensure that the chore was completed and can certainly provide constructive feedback or pointers, but will be better served in the long run by refraining from being critical of the child's performance," says Urban-Colacicco. "Chores done cheerfully and to completion should be rewarded in some way, even if it's just by praising the child."

Appropriate chores

Moms may be tempted to assign responsibilities based on the chores they least enjoy, but that’s probably not the best strategy. "It is important for a parent to choose chores for his/her child based on an understanding of the child's developmental level and cognitive abilities and safety," says Urban-Colacicco. "One wouldn't expect a 5-year-old to clean the oven or put away dishes in a high cabinet, but a 5-year-old could certainly learn to take out the garbage and recycling or make his/her own bed." Urban-Colacicco suggests the following chores for 5- to 10-year-olds:

  • Making beds
  • Taking out garbage and recycling
  • Dusting
  • Loading the dishwasher
  • Sorting laundry and checking pockets for items
  • Cleaning up toys at the end of the day
  • A 9 or 10-year-old may be able to clean a bathroom, do dishes or put dishes away, so long as the parent is not concerned about the safety of the child in doing these tasks.

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