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Cleaning the House is Fun to Do! Part 2: Age Appropriate Jobs

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Making the World Cuter: Cleaning the House is Fun to Do! Part 2: Age Appropriate Jobs

A blog where one woman is on a mission to make the world cuter, one kid, cupcake or crafty thing at a time.


Cleaning the House is Fun to Do! Part 2: Age Appropriate Jobs

Hi again! Did you get a chance to read part 1 of my cleaning the house is fun to do series?

You may be wondering what this has to do with Making the World Cuter...but let me tell you; when your house is clean, and you don't have to hound your kids to help constantly....
They look cuter. Trust me.
Your house obviously looks cuter.
You smiling rather than screaming is definitely cuter.
And...a clean house and helpful kids gives you more time to focus on making the rest of your world cuter!

Here is my board if you remember with all of the jobs lined up.
I have three different kids doing jobs and I give them all the same jobs. I know that sounds crazy! Why would I give my 3 year old the same jobs as I give my 7 year old? Can't the very competent 7 year old do way more than the barely potty trained 3 year old?
Why yes, yes she can, but it sets the precedence for the younger children, and makes them feel more like they are contributing just as much.
It also helps that 7 year old to see that she is not getting picked on because she is the oldest, everyone contributes just the same.

I will go into more detail on each of their jobs and expectations.

Let me get in a little bit closer...The jobs that my kids get each day are;

  • Get ready (the picture shows a shower, a toothbrush and a sun). This includes getting up and getting dressed for the day without being nagged, if they need a shower then that is part of it. The boys as a general rule take a tub at night, and my daughter showers in the morning. They also are responsible for eating breakfast-either on their own (they can all get their own cereal, or help the younger ones at least, and they can all make toast), or come down on time when my husband or I make breakfast. When they are done eating, they all rinse their dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Yup, even the 3 year old. He may not load it perfectly, and he may use way more water than needed to rinse a cup of milk out...but he is perfectly capable of standing on a stool, rinsing his dishes and putting them in the dishwasher. The final part of this job is brushing their teeth in the morning. At night, my husband and/or I help them brush their teeth, but in the morning it is their responsibility and it helps them learn how to do it themselves. (My sister-in-law is a dental hygienist and suggests going in after your kids brush at least once a day until they are 7, I know that may sound old, but I've watched my daughter brush...not pretty).
  • Clean their room & make their beds. This is an obvious one. I am a control freak mom, I admit it openly. I can't handle a messy kids room. I know, I know kids rooms are supposed to be their spaces to do with what they will. I don't buy into that whole least not fully. I do think that kids should be able to have choices in their rooms; but they should be choices that you can live with. It is after all your house still, and we can't really leave our decorating up to our 5 year old, or we would have mosaics of Mario all over our walls. So I give my kids choices in decorating. "Should we put your bed here or here?" or "Do you like yellow or blue for your sheets?" One option they do not get is; "Do you like your room clean or messy?" At least not in this house. (I do make this as easy as possible on them with a toy rotation...I'll discuss this another time). Now while making the beds may be important, I also think it's important to let the kids do the best they can do and not go in after least not every day. Here is my 7 year old daughter's bed this morning after making it...and here is my three year old son's bottom bunk bed this morning after making it. Is it driving me crazy? I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to go fix it right this second and forget about the rest of this post...but I do think it's important to let him do a job to the best of his ability and leave it at that. The bed making is one of those jobs I can let that happen on. He is very proud that he can make his own bed, and he is improving if you can believe it! :)
  • Take Care of Laundry. This is another one of those that I have to close my eyes to on most days, but I have made that easier on myself. If you can see on the above picture under my sons bed, I have a couple of roller totes that I keep all out of season clothes and clothes that I don't want my boys wearing...such as church clothes. Then instead of a dresser we bought this storage unit at Target and some cubes to fill it. It looks cute in their room and the kids don't slam their fingers in drawers or get them jammed when they fill them with clothes. My husband washes laundry at night and then brings up the dried clothes in the morning before he goes to work almost every day. More on that another day. I separate the clothes into individual baskets for them and the kids put them away. What is supposed to happen is they are supposed to fold their clothes and put them in the right bins so they can see what they have....remember they pick out their own clothes so I be sure to just have play clothes in their bins that they can easily mix and match. What usually happens is they roll them their clothes into balls and put them in the bins. I don't get in the way. If I tried to keep their clothes perfect all the time, it would be a full time job. My daughter does an excellent But there was a time when her drawers and closet looked a lot like this. My mom used to give me grief about my daughter, saying, "What she has chores?" When she was about a year and a half old, she wouldn't leave her room until it was picked up. She didn't have chores at that age, but I had showed her how to clean up from the time she was old enough to make a mess. We never left her room after playing until it was clean. She learned early on that is how it's done. I wasn't as diligent with my boys, so they are not as organized as she is, but they still do a pretty good job for a 3 and 5 year old boys! Start them young, and then when they get to be about 6 or 7, you have them trained to do it just the way you want. (That sounded bad, but you do want to train your kids to do it the right way...which is obviously your way...right?) :)
  • Practice/Read/School Work. This is something that looks different for each of my kids. During the summer it looks a little different than during the school year. Right now, the 7 year old practices piano, and does a math and a language worksheet. I don't worry about her reading because she reads probably an average of 2-3 hours a day. For my 5 year old, he reads me one of his early reader books, and sometimes I have him do reading flash cards and/or a math work sheet...but mostly I just have him read me a book. He starts kindergarten next month, so my most important focus is on reading with him. For my 3 year old, he just has to get a book read to him. I usually take on that fun job, but sometimes if the baby needs me or I am just running a little thin in the morning, my older kids can step up. Sometimes if he is feeling bored while they are working on worksheets I hand him a coloring book and crayons.
  • Age Appropriate Helping Job. This is a job that actually contributes to the household. Not just something in their own room. I think this is important in that they can take pride in the rest of the house and the job that they are doing. My 7 year old does one of my most hated jobs every day...unloading the dishwasher. She doesn't mind it at all, it actually helps me out, and she's learned to do it pretty much perfectly. My 5 year old takes out any full garbage each day. Huge help! He is old enough, and strong enough to do it right.
    My 3 year old cleans the living room clutter. It's usually his messes, but it helps us out from having to get frustrated with him. He also gets upset when others make a mess in there; "Hey! I just cleaned this room!"
I am constantly surprised at how young my kids can actually contribute to keeping a clean home when we make it their responsibility. My kids know that they don't get to go out and play, we don't go to the park, we don't get treats, we don't play video games, we don't watch movies, we don't do anything extra...unless jobs are done. At this point they usually don't even ask. If they do, it's just a simple reminder asking them if their jobs are done and it's usually, "Oh yeah!" and they run off to finish.

Tomorrow I will talk about the money aspect of my kids of the big motivators that get them going...but I think just not being able to do anything until the jobs are done is the biggest motivator.

What age did you start having your kids do jobs? What age appropriate jobs do they do now? Is there any valuable lessons you've learned while having your kids help out? Have your kids surprised you at how much they are actually able to contribute?

Let's be friends!
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Thanks for making the world so stinkin cute!

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