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    Chores and Capability

    August 22, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    This morning, I found myself compiling a list of which chores each child is capable of performing. This doesn’t mean that each child is actually responsible for these chores each day. But still, I was curious what they could do if I needed them to.

    When I need them to.

    Unfortunately for me, “giving birth” involves major surgery and I’m not one of those bounce-back-in-a-week type of ladies. I wish I were, but I’m not. I’m typically on the three-to-six-week plan.

    Because of this, a lot of family is usually in and out of our home after a baby is born. And they help us a lot. But I thought it’d be nice to have a list so that they know what they can ask the kids to do. The kids like to help out and use their skills, plus this might keep others from overworking themselves.

    Anyhow, this list is all about capability. It doesn’t mean that each child performs each task every time it needs to be done. My babes are still small, and I don’t feel the need to pull them away from what they are doing each time it needs to be done. Now, some chores have already been given to them as their job. This means that, barring strange circumstances, my son always puts his own folded clothes away, or my older daughter always puts away the clean silverware.

    But if the trash needs to be emptied and my son is outside working on his composting project, I don’t typically leave it there for later, nor do I call him in. I just do it myself. So even though he is capable of performing the task, it isn’t yet his sole responsibility. And frankly, it will never be. Trash is a community affair, I think.

    Anyhow, here is what I came up with. I am always curious what children of different ages are capable of doing, so I thought I’d post my list.

    E., aged 6.25 years

    • Dress himself.
    • Make his bed.
    • Vacuum all floors.
    • Empty trashes.
    • Fold rags and put them away.
    • Put away his and Si’s clean laundry {except hanging clothes–he is too short}.
    • Use Basic H to spot clean tile floors and clean his bathroom counter and mirror {he needs to be reminded to get the mirror completely dry so that it doesn’t streak}.
    • Clear dining table.
    • Help put away groceries.
    • Put away clean dishes {yes he is allowed to stand on the counter to reach the high shelves…unless he has been outside barefoot!}.

    A., aged 3.5 years

    • Dress herself {she might need help with buttons}.
    • Make her bed poorly.
    • Clean up all the toys in the playroom.
    • Scrub sinks with homemade nontoxic scrub.
    • Put away clean silverware.
    • Empty dryer and bring laundry to the person who will fold it.
    • Put away her clean folded laundry {not her hanging clothes…again she is too short}.
    • Dry dust living room, office, and master bedroom furniture with a microfiber cloth.
    • Clear her place after meals.
    • **Note: This child requires lots of supervision. She often sets out to do a job and forgets, so everything must be inspected when she reappears.

    Q., aged 19 months

    • Push laundry baskets from room to room while someone else collects the dirty laundry.
    • Hand dirty laundry up to the person putting it into the washer.
    • Empty the dryer if someone opens it for her and sets up the basket.
    • Pick things up for people.
    • Help clean up toys.
    • Undo chores that other children have done while running wildly around the house in her older sister’s toy high heels.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Rahime August 22, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    I love Q.’s last one! That sounds like much more fun than cleaning up toys.

    Seriously though, I am impressed at the chores your children are able to do, especially Q. at under two because with 2 oldeer siblings it would be easy for her to be overlooked since there are 4 other people in the house who could do the job faster…though in the coming months you’ll probably need all the help you can get from wherever you can get it. I think it’s important for people of all ages to have real, valuable work that contributes to thier society (family, community, or whatever). Plus, even if they aren’t expected to do all of the chores they’re capable of all of the time, you’re training capable children. Something tells me these ones won’t go to college or move out of the house without knowing how to do their laundry!

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