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Train ‘Em Early! How Your Kids Can Help Around Your Home

According to recent research, 79% of parents say that they chose to have children primarily so that they could put the little rugrats to work around the house while the adults relaxed and watched TV or played video games.

Home maintenance
“Wait… what?”

Okay, so that’s not a real study.

That said, it is a good idea to begin integrating your children into the maintenance of their home. At first, it won’t be as important for them to complete a task or finish a job according to “adult” standards. The idea is to get them used to engaging in these types of maintenance chores and accepting their role as a member of the household. You might be surprised how eager your children are to help out around the home. In fact, you can even start this process as soon as the kids are old enough to walk!

Here is a list of age-appropriate exterior home improvement or maintenance chores for your kids, along with some suggested incentives:

Up to five years old:

  • Pick up toys in the front or back yard
  • Put away toys and games in their proper containers and storage places
  • Water flowers, plants, shrubs, and gardens (with a small watering can, not a hose)
  • Pick bugs or pests off of plants
  • Pick up twigs, sticks, and other small debris in your yard
  • Wipe off an outdoor play table with a sponge or wet cloth
  • Possible reward: A sticker or a gold star

Ages five to ten years old:

  • Rake leaves or grass clippings
  • Sweep off the porch, patio, sidewalk, driveway, or deck
  • Wipe off patio chairs, benches, and table with a sponge or wet cloth
  • Wash outdoor toys like bicycles, swingsets, and play areas
  • Help wash the car
  • Clean doormats by shaking or rinsing them off
  • Pick up pet poop in the yard
  • Help with weeding in a garden
  • Clean pool strainers
  • Help test and balance the pH in the pool or hot tub
  • Possible reward: A treat like ice cream or a fast-food meal
Home maintenance
Chores like these are often more fun for kids than their regular playtime activities.

Ages ten to thirteen years old:

  • Water the lawn and greenery
  • Plant and mulch bulbs or flowering plants
  • Gather vegetables or fruits from the garden
  • Rake an entire yard
  • Clean an entire patio and its furniture
  • Clean and sweep out the garage
  • Take out the trash and recyclables
  • Take out material to the composting bin
  • Remove leaves and other floating objects from the pool using a pole strainer
  • Possible reward: money or extra video game time

Teenagers

  • Mow and edge the lawn
  • Prune bushes and shrubs
  • Clean out the gutters
  • Shovel snow
  • Perform simple repairs or maintenance using screws/nuts/bolts
  • Help paint the house’s exterior
  • Vacuum the pool or hot tub
  • Scrub the sides of the pool or hot tub
  • Possible reward: money or keys to the car for an evening
Home maintenance
She did a great job pruning the front bushes and cleaning out the pool. Let her go have some fun!

It’s understandable for parents to want to “baby” their kids for as long as possible. However, assigning outdoor chores to children will help them learn the concept of responsibility, the value of perseverance, and the joy of a job well done. These are characteristics that help kids grow up to be confident, responsible adults.

Then when your children have kids of their own – you can spoil your grandchildren rotten!

Written by Del Thebaud

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