Episode 016: Age Appropriate Chores

Episode Transcription

Getting your kids involved with household responsibilities is fantastic! But sometimes, what we try to implement is too hard, physically or mentally, for their age. And that can be frustrating for both parents and kids! This often leads to a negative connotation with chores, and then it becomes more of a battle. Let’s make it fun and exciting! Let’s teach them, slowly, the skills that will equip them with how to manage a home when they’re an adult.

In this episode, Diana shares practical, concrete tasks your kids can do at each age to learn how to help manage your household.


We’ll also discuss:

  • How our narrative around household chores can influence our kids, positively or negatively
  • What your entire household can participate in
  • Ideas of chores or tasks for your kids based on age ranges
  • Diana mentions her new workshop for this fall, How to Create a Command Center - sign up to be notified here!


What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?

  • 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
  • How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
  • Guest interviews
  • Deep dives on specific topics 


Find Diana Rene on social media:

Instagram: @the.decluttered.mom

Facebook: @the.decluttered.com

Pinterest: @DianaRene

Are you ready for a peaceful and clutter-free home? Watch my FREE training video “Kiss Clutter Goodbye” to learn how it’s possible! And find all of my resources here.

 Episode 016: Age Appropriate Chores

[00:00:00] Diana Rene

You're listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. A podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Renee, and in 2017, I had my second daughter, and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home. Okay, not literally. But I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next ten months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings, and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system, and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks, and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show. 

Hey, welcome to this week's episode of The Decluttered Mom Podcast. I'm just giving you a heads-up right now. My allergies are so bad, you guys, so if you hear me sniffling, I'm sorry. Um, but that, that is life, right? We've been, the kids have been back in school for a couple weeks now, and I'm like, knock, knock on wood. No illness yet. And I'm, I know we're due for something just because like just everything's out there. So hopefully, it's just allergies, but here we are.  

I wanted to talk today about kids' chores, or maybe you don't call them chores. You can call them tasks or household responsibilities or whatever you wanna call them. I go back and forth on what to call them, but, basically, for today's episode, we're going to call them chores just because that is like a term that most people understand and, and they know what we're talking about. And so we're gonna stick with that.

A lot of times, I get DMS on Instagram, um, with people saying like, I, I really want to like delegate more to my kids. I want to teach them how to help with the house. I want them to learn and grow up to be like responsible and know. How to run a household and how to manage a house and, and all of those things. And. People get really frustrated, though, because they either pick things and tasks that are like just too hard, either physically or mentally, for the kids that, or that for the age that their kids are at, or they just do too much all at once. 

Or they, they present it to their kids in like a really like strict way, and so it's, their kids are totally turned off by it and like immediately assign a meaning to the word chores. And they think like, it's a punishment. It's something bad. It's negative. It's something I don't want to do. And that is something that we, as moms, do. We can change that narrative, not only for ourselves but for our kids, because when we are like, stomping around the house because we're annoyed because we have to do laundry again or because we're whatever that, like, they pick up on that. Right? 

And I'm not saying that we all need to be like happy all the time. Um, and like loving, picking up after messy kids. That's not what I'm saying at all. I'm just saying that sometimes we can tweak how we present our feelings about managing our household so that our kids can see that, and they can assign a more positive, um, vibe to chores, and to running a household, and to being thankful that we have a home to live in.

Um, we can start with us. And, and that's like sometimes a tough pill to swallow because that's the last thing we want to do is to start with us. But I do think that it's really helpful if we are able to set that example for them. With all of that being said, I could go on like a three-hour-long tangent about why and how, um, moms take on a much higher burden than they should.

In the running of their home. I think that we have to learn how to delegate better. We have to learn how to get other family members involved, how to outsource when it makes sense, how to just eliminate tasks altogether. I mean, this is, this is like a ginormous conversation that we're not going to tackle in one episode of a podcast, but we can just start with this.

You should not be the only person taking care of your home. If you are not the only person living in your home, okay. So let's start with that. And if you have a partner, um, they should absolutely be taking part in managing your household. It doesn't, in my opinion, really matter who's home, who's not, who's working out of the home, who's working at home. Who's a stay-at-home parent. Like honestly, like yeah, of course, tasks are going to be maybe divided up a little bit differently. But I think that everyone that lives in the home has to have some share of the management and running of the home. And when we're talking about kids, think about when your kids are really, really little, like toddlers, and they love chores.

Like that's all they want to do because they want to be with you, and they think it's fun. They think like heavy lifting is fun. So they want to try and pick up the laundry basket and carry it down the hall. They think it's fun to pull the clothes out of the dryer, into the basket. They think it's fun to put the bowl away in the drawer in the kitchen, like.

When they're really little like that, we can really grab onto that idea and, and run with it and start working with them on things that they can do at a very young age that, and make it fun and make it something that they continue to have fun doing with you or without you as they get older. And then by the time they are teenagers, they're going to be, um, much more sufficient in helping around the house. 

So, what I wanna do is I wanna give you some really concrete tasks that your kids can do at each age because that's where I think a lot of people get tripped up. They're not really sure what kids at what age can do, what. So let's go into that. 

Um, number one, P.M. Pickup. Everyone in the house can do PM Pickup. And our rule in our home is anyone that's home during P.M. Pickup is participating in P.M. Pickup. Um, and so most of the time in our home, um, during the weekdays, that is me and my two kids. Um, on the weekends, it's me, my two kids, and my husband. My husband just works lots of hours. And so he's typically not home at the time I choose to do P.M. Pickup. I could wait until he's home, but then that would be messing with bedtime and all of that. And that's when I have less energy. Um, and it just doesn't really make sense for our schedule or for our household. But it's just basically, but PS, a caveat to that. That doesn't mean that just because my husband isn't home for P.M. Pickup, he doesn't have his own tasks that he does in the household also. It just means that he doesn't do P.M. Pickup on the nights that he isn't home. 

So for PM pickup, um, this can look like a lot of different things. And as you're starting to implement a PM pickup, it can be very little. It can be the smallest thing. It can be something that is just five minutes, and everybody gets one task, and you time it.

And it's five minutes, and everybody's done. And you're happy because you, you achieved this small task and then you can slowly build up to more. What I typically recommend you getting to the point of is doing anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, maybe 30, but that's kind of pushing it, um, to have kids involved that are like happily involved or at least cooperating, um, without tantrums.

And so I would say like 15 minutes is a pretty good starting point. If you have fully decluttered your home at this point, if you have not, then I typically recommend that like five-minute mark, where you're just keeping it really, really basic, and you can build up from there. So, something that your kids can do for P.M. Pickup is to simply pick up their play areas. Um, so if you have a playroom, or the family room, or their bedroom, or the dining room table, where they were doing crafts or anything, like just anywhere where they play and have left stuff out, they can do P.M. Pickup there. For me, I prefer to do my P.M. Pickup in the kitchen because if I can get the kitchen reset in the evening, I just feel better. My next day is started off on a completely different note than if I don't do P.M. Pickup. Um, but because I do P.M. Pickup a little bit earlier in the evening, usually while I'm making dinner or like, typically, while I'm making dinner, I get everything done except for like the dishes obviously, or I'll do it like at right after we eat dinner before the whole like bedtime routine starts.

And because I do it earlier in the evening, I am able to relax more in the evening. Like after the girls go to bed, I can feel more relaxed while I'm hanging out on the couch, watching TV with my husband, or laying in bed, reading a book, or whatever it may be. I just have like that weight of knowing what's waiting for me in the kitchen.

And so that's something that I prefer to do for P.M. Pickup. So getting everyone involved with P.M. Pickup as little as possible, like really, I mean, if they can walk, they can really help with P.M. Pickup and just start them really, really small and have them put toys into a basket and you can work with them as they're really little and obviously, obviously you guys, like a 15-month-old, isn't going to be like the most helpful and productive member of PM pickup. Still, they get to feel involved, and you can just start them young like that so that they can just, it's just like a normal part of their day. 

Okay, so the next age group we're gonna talk about is ages two to three. Well, okay. This is the first age group that we're talking about. Um, so P.M. Pickup is for everyone, but let's start with ages two to three. Um, these are just some ideas of chores or tasks that a two or three-year-old could do. They can wipe up a spill. They can help unload the dishwasher. Obviously, don't give them like sharp knives or heavy glass plates or anything like that, but give them things that they can put away. Um, I've found at this age, it's like any kid's silverware, or bowls, or plates, or cups, or water bottles, or sippy cups, or bottles, or whatever. Um, they love this. They love being able to put this stuff away. Help load the dryers. So take out the, you know, the clothes from the washer, one at a time and hand it to them and let them put it in the dryer.

Help feed pets if you have pets. Um, you can help them have them help dust, uh, a really fun way to do it with kids this age is to put socks on their hands, um, and they can dust that way. They think it's hilarious. They think it's fun, and they're dusting at the same time. Um, they can help put laundry away, and they can also begin, again, not going to be super productive, but they can begin to sweep. Um, when my girls were this little, I bought like the kid’s toy sweeper, and I would sweep, and they would sweep with me, and they learned at a really young age, like how to sweep. Again, it wasn't like super, like they weren't doing a great job at that age, but then they learned how to do it really young, and so they were able to do it sooner. 

For ages four to five, some great ideas are to set the table or to clear the table after a meal, depending on your kid and how big or strong they are. They might be able to start learning how to vacuum, especially if you have like a lightweight vacuum. Um, if you have a hand vacuum, even better. They love going around the table on the floor, after a meal and using a hand vac. They think it's fun and it's exciting. And it's also helpful. They can wipe down countertops. That's still my five-year-old's like favorite task to do anytime she. She, so we have, okay. Side note, we have like this whole system where they can earn different things, and doing chores is one of the ways doing extra chores is one of the ways that they can earn like points towards this thing.

And she always, my five-year-old, always comes to me and asks if she can wipe down the countertops if she can wipe down the table. And I think a big part of it is just because she gets to spray the cleaning spray, and we use, we use, oh gosh, I'm gonna forget the name of it. But we use a cleaning product that is very mild.

So like, I let her just freely spray it on the countertop and table. And she loves doing that. At this age, they can also help with meal prep. We use, uh, we have these like kid safe knives that they have, that they can use that. Like, can't cut your skin, but they cut fruits and vegetables. I still cannot figure out how that works,  but it works. 

Um, and so they like, um, helping to chop up like different fruits and vegetables for meals. They can, again, dust. They can, um, put any paper stragglers into the command center. So, um, they can walk around the house and find any papers, any papers that are out, um, and put them into the command center. If you don't have a command center this fall, I'm going to be hosting a workshop that will teach you how to create a command center and also create and implement a strategy that makes the command center actually work for you instead of just like having a bunch of bins on and folders on your wall. Um, so stay tuned for that. I don't have any more information on it yet, but except for just that, we will have it sometime this fall.

And then also to put any random items into a random basket, um, which we just have several baskets throughout the house that have different purposes. There's a basket at the bottom of the stairs. Um, that can go upstairs. We have just a random clutter bug, uh, Buster basket that, like, if someone's not really sure what to do with something, they can put it in that basket. And then, I go through it once a week and put things away or donate as needed.

For ages six to eight, they can take out the trash. They can put new trash can liners in. They can help a little bit more with taking care of pets. They can vacuum. This is. Also, I think when you can start implementing mopping, um, they can load and run the dishwasher and they can also load and run, uh, the washing machine and the dryer, obviously, with all of these, like if, if you need to supervise, do. Don't leave small children alone to like operate appliances. So use your best judgment on how old they are, their maturity, all of the above. 

For ages nine to ten, they can rake leaves. They can clean bathrooms. They can wash the car. They can vacuum the car and keep in mind. You guys. These are all building on each other, right? So a nine to twelve-year-old can do those things, but they also, of course, can do all the things the six to eight, the four to five, the two to three-year-olds can do. And that that just gives them more flexibility and more options, and you more options to be able to assign different types of chores. But it doesn't mean that they can only do like complicated, harder-to-do chores. They can do anything on these  lists. But they just kind of build on each other.

And then 13 to 18, they can do their own laundry. They can start learning how to prepare grocery lists and meals, um, and meal planning and meal prepping and all of that. They can wash windows. They can replace light bulbs. Like as they get older, obviously there's going to be a lot more, um, that goes into. 

Okay. So I know this again is a short episode because all episodes are short episodes on this podcast. We do that on purpose because we know that you don't have tons and tons of time as a busy mom to sit and listen to me. But hopefully, this was helpful for you today and gave you a few ideas to implement with your kids depending on how old they are and what they've done in the past.

Um, if you're, if you really haven't done chores with your kids before,  then just start with one. Like, just give them one to do each day and, and then build on that. You can always add more later, but if you do too much at once, it will overwhelm them. It will make them not want to do it. And it will make them attach that negative connotation to the idea of chores.

So make it fun, make it exciting. They will play off of that if you make it exciting, and then they will feel like it's exciting. If you praise them for doing such a great job, they are going to obviously want to do that more instead of critiquing them and criticizing them for not doing a great job.

Remember when they are really little, especially they have to learn. And they also just, a lot of times, don't have like the gross motor capability to do a lot, some of these like super well. So just bear with them, remember that they're trying, um, and they are helping, even if it doesn't, isn't done like the way you specifically want it done.

Let that be okay. And thank them for doing it and be on your way because I think you'll just get so much more out of it. And you are teaching and equipping your kids to be able to turn into an adult that knows how to manage their home really well. And doesn't let running their home take up their whole lives because they're able to just do it in an easier, functional way.

Thanks for hanging out and listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories, and if you're on Instagram, be sure to follow me at the dot decluttered dot mom and send me a DM to say hi.

I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.