I am currently pregnant and due with my sixth child in September. My baby belly is quite obvious at this point so I get a lot of the, “how far along??“, which is inevitably followed by, “Is this your first?“. I always smile inwardly as I answer, “No, my sixth.”
At this point most people comment about how much work it must be to have so many children, how tired I must be, or.. don’t I know what causes that??
I can honestly tell you that having many children makes family work go quicker. When we train our children from toddler-hood to help with the chores, it makes daily life go more smoothly. And ultimately they grow up to be adults with good values like personal responsibility and a sense of ownership.
Living With A Large Family: Many Hands Make for Lighter Work
Children of every age can help with the daily goings on in the home. From the time they wake up in the morning, if you have a daily rhythm, your children will know what to expect and what is expected of them.
My children are two, four, five, thirteen, and seventeen. In our home, everyone has daily and weekly chores that range from doing laundry to setting the table. Two days a week I have a kitchen buddy (my four and five-year-olds take turns) who helps me make meals, organize the fridge, and much more. For each meal, we have as a family, my four year old sets the table and my five-year-old clears it. My thirteen-year-old does all the folding and hanging up of the laundry. My seventeen year old maintains the yard (and we have a big yard!)
You see? Every child helps. Even my two year old.
Let the big kids help train the smaller ones
Training children to properly do their chores is super important. What’s the point of having them help if you just have to go behind them and do it again? Older siblings are perfect for this. I had my four-year-old shadow my thirteen years old while folding towels for a couple of weeks. Now, every load of towels and dish rags goes directly to my four-year-old to be folded- and she does a good job.
Mondays in our home is kitchen/pantry cleaning day. So, every Monday my two years old helps me clean the outside of the cabinets and baseboards in the kitchen. Children love to be helpful. Even if they are incapable of doing a “good job”, like my two-year-old, they are learning to contribute, to help.
Here’s a quick list of age-appropriate chores (all of which I’ve personally taught my children to do)
2-3 year olds can:
- help make their bed
- pick up toys
- use soap and water to help wash the walls and baseboard. . . or anything else!
- dust the lower shelves of bookshelves (think socks on their hands)
- help feed pets
4-5 year olds can:
- set and clear the table
- fold towels and mate socks
- make their beds and tidy their rooms
- bring down dirty clothes
- put away laundry
- pull weeds
- wipe the bathroom sinks and floors with wet wipes
- put away clean silverware and cups
- help prepare meals
6-8 year olds can:
- water plants/flowers
- use mild (think homemade!) cleaners to clean just about anything!
- collect trash and empty into big cans for trash day
- empty the dishwasher/dish strainer
- help cook meals
- sweep floors
- dust furniture
9-11 year olds can:
- prepare food (like cutting & washing veg, opening cans)
12+ year olds can:
- do anything you can do
This list is simply based on what I have taught my children to do over the years. Don’t underestimate them! Children are remarkably intelligent and if we nurture the love of helping at a young age, there won’t be a struggle when the child is older.
A few resources to help
Here’s a Free Printable Chore Chart for Kids by Passion for Savings
Download some Printable Chore Cards by The Idea Room
Penny Pinchin’ Mom helps you Create a Personalized Chore Chart
Here’s a helpful Clean Room Checklist from Kindred Bond
Create some Chore Kits with these great ideas from Joyful Homemaking
As you can see, large family living definitely has its perks! We spend our days doing everything together. From school time to chore time, we are learning from and helping each other.
How do you train your children to help in the home?