If you read my post for chores for kids by age 5 your child should already be picking up most of his toys on his own, helping mix ingredients and other simple tasks in the kitchen, dusting, vacuuming, wiping the bathroom, feeding the family pet, and putting away his own clothes from the laundry. You may think this is a lot for a 5 year old, but when he does it with mom, it doesn’t feel like a lot to him.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying your child should be responsible for doing all these things every day, they are only learning at this point. They wont do it perfectly and they will stop half way through the task to be done and you will have to complete it. That is OK! Their attention span is only about as big as they are. No one said parenting was easy and there is a lot of growth (in both of you) in those early years.
She should be able to do their chore chart on their own. She could possibly have 2 separate charts, one for the morning, and one for bed time. The morning will be simple to get them ready for school and at bedtime the chores will be basic clean up and getting ready for bed.
When my older ones were this age I had 2 baskets in the fridge. They had sandwiches, chips, fruit and desserts already packaged up and ready for them to grab before school. We would mostly do this at night but sometimes my night job would get in the way of preparation for school. I kept school prep in the morning routine so we could both check and make sure they got everything in their backpacks.
Morning chores or “routine”
- Get dressed (PJ’s in the hamper)
- Get her lunch together AND in her backpack. If you have a forgetful little one maybe have this as 2 separate chores she can check off
- Homework in her backpack (should have been done as soon as they completed it yesterday)
- Eat breakfast
- Brush her teeth
At this age you should know what else your child needs reminders of. My nephew would need a chore for grabbing a coat and shoes for example (Yes, BOTH have happened! We went all the way to school in freezing cold weather and he didn’t have a coat. He has also gone to the car with socks on his feet and no shoes. Thankfully I caught that one before we got to our destination!)
Evening or Bedtime chores
- Pick up toys (put them all in the laundry basket from the living room, push it to her room, have her put all the toys away from the laundry basket so they are all in one place for them to see)
- Go potty
- Get her PJ’s on (clothes into the hamper)
- Brush her teeth
If you are doing anything else at night regularly (for example doing dishes for clean up or throwing a load of laundry in) add “help mom” to this list. She will love to help you and you can continually teach her how to do these regular chores.
On weekends (or whenever you do your weekly chores) ask her to complete a chore and come back to you when she is done. For example: give her the duster, tell her to dust the fireplace, end tables in the living room and come back to you when she is finished. Praise her for completing that task and then ask her to dust each shelf on the bookshelf…etc.
- Help to set the table for dinner
- Put her dishes in the sink after any meal
- Clean up any spills or messes she makes
- Rinse toothpaste from the sink
- Replace the toilet paper roll if she used the last of it
- Put trash, recycling, and compost in it’s correct place
Mornings before school can get chaotic so keep the routine the same. He probably doesn’t need a chart at this age, you can have a list, but keep it somewhere written down for him to visually check off.
Sometime between after school and dinner time he can have one or two chores he should be responsible for. This is the first time they have a chore outside his own world that he could be responsible for. He will still need reminders and that’s ok. Don’t get upset, keep the chore the same around the same time of day so he gets used to doing it instead of being confused on what he is supposed to be doing.
- Empty dishwasher
- Get homework done on his own
- Make his own lunch for the next day
- Separate or fold clothes from the dryer (there are too many of us so I just have my boy separate clothes by person instead of folding them all)
- Feed the family pet
- Take out the trash
Start with only 1 extra chore. Remember he still needs to be a kid, that’s why I suggest a timeline of “sometime after school and before dinner” these chores only take a 2-5 minutes each. His homework should take priority but don’t let him off the hook. If he really has a lot of homework or he is struggling tell him you will do his chore today for him. It’s still his chore but as a family you show him he can depend on you to step in and pick up the slack, just like he does for mom when he helps you.
On this point, during the summer play time is actually on my chore list. If I didn’t put that on there the days would get away from us and they would sit inside all day, accomplishing nothing fun.
On the weekends he should know how to complete a full chore. If you say please run the vacuum, he should know what vacuuming fully entails because you have already shown him and taught him for years before this.
Start thinking about paying her for the extra chores. She should have chores daily and weekly that are hers because she is a part of the family and that’s what you do in a family, take your share of the responsibility.
- Read 20 minutes
- Empty dishwasher
- Switch out or seperate laundry
- Put clothes away
- Pick up living room and her room
- Learn something new
- Help someone
- Feed the family pet
- Help with a meal
- Finish homework and put it in her backpack
- Take out trash
I love the Help someone and Learn something new “chore” because it gives her brain practice on looking around her own world to seek out something on her own. School teaches her to follow instructions, this “chore” teaches her to figure something out on her own.
- Mow lawn
- Weed-wack edges
- Clean the bathrooms
- Dust the whole house
- Take all sheets and towels to laundry room
- Shovel snow
- Tend to the garden
- Rake leaves
- Put trash cans out on the street
- Water plants
- Clean windows
- Clean out car
- Sweep garage
- Clean off patio
- Wipe baseboards
- Prepare lunches for the week
- Fold towels and put away
Then assign a dollar amount for the rest. If they choose to do extra, they get paid commission.
Give her responsibilities, she will be better for it
None of these chores take a long time
Habits started early are worth it
Peace and Balance,