I regularly see kids who have never washed dishes, folded clothes, made beds, pulled weeds, mowed the lawn, or used a broom. They are not incompetent kids. Most of them excel at something: music, sports, academics, art. They simply have never had to do any day-to-day chores. It's easy to see how it happens with the busy schedules people keep, but I wonder if we might be handicapping them for the next stages of their lives.
Here are a few tried-and-true chores with recommended ages for learning:
- 18 months - Picking up toys and returning them to toy box or shelf
- 2 years - Putting clothes in the hamper
- 3 years - Folding towels and underwear
- 4 years - Feeding pets
- 5 years - Putting clean laundry away
- 6 years - Drying dishes
- 7 years - Packing lunch
- 8 years - Taking out trash/bringing in groceries
- 9 years - Washing clothes
- 10 years - Unloading the dishwasher
- 11 years - Changing the bed sheets
- 12 years - Washing the car
- 13 years - Babysitting
There are many more things kids are capable of doing; they just need instruction, encouragement, and
appreciation. They start saying, "I do it" when they are about age two, and they really want to do it. Let them. Help them.
It is true that we are serving God when we serve our families. It is also true that we serve God when we are good stewards of our children, equipping them to take care of themselves, to live peaceably with others, and to carry their own loads. Sooner or later your kids will be living with someone else, a roommate or maybe a spouse, and you will not be there to fix their lunches or wash their clothing. Get them ready and maybe eventually you'll have time to watch Two Broke Girls or other silly television program. Or maybe you'll find that you have the time and energy to share a little love with someone outside your family. Equipping your kids ultimately frees you to go where God calls you to go, and that's an exciting proposition!