During the age span of nine to 14 years of age, children can and should learn to do chores around the house well. Younger children cannot be expected to do a great job with chores, but they can learn to do the best they can for their ability. By the time a child reaches the age of nine, that child needs to start refining performance and being more accurate and precise with his/her chores.
The age of nine to 14 is possibly the last opportunity parents have to really teach a good amount of skill in homemaking. Most children start thinking about working outside the home at age 14. By this time, they are dreaming of getting a driver’s license and that first car. They start looking for a job to help pay for their dream. It is for this reason that parents should take advantage of the short time they have left with children at home to teach as much as they possibly can.
We often underestimate children. We watch them learn how to do many things on the computer or cell phone, but seem to think they are not able to use the washer and dryer, microwave, kitchen stove or other home appliances. They need to learn the proper use of each and every one of common home appliances. They can prepare meals, clean and do yard work.
Children begin learning fractions in school at around fourth grade. One of the best ways to use these fractions is to prepare recipes. Reading skills are also enhanced as children read and follow directions in recipes. Checking nutrition facts on labels of foods and figuring calories contributes greatly to a child’s math skills. Measuring accurately at this age helps a child understand quantities to be able to estimate in some recipes later as the child grows older. When the family sits down at the table to a meal prepared by a child, the whole family feels a sense of pride and the child, especially, feels a boost in self-esteem.
Most cleaning chores can be done by the age of nine. Bathrooms can be cleaned properly. Kitchen cabinets can be cleaned and organized, floors swept and mopped, and furniture dusted. There is always the temptation to use spray bottles as water guns, but this temptation can be easily squelched if the child has to pay for the wasted agent from his own money. Children at this age can clean the refrigerator and freezer. They can make shopping lists and assist with finding the best bargains when buying groceries.
Doing yard work offers valuable lessons in science. Children learn about plants. They can also learn about machines and how they work. Another benefit of yard work is the conditioning of the body to heat and cold. Many would say that our children are getting soft and do not like to do things in the heat. There is a limit, of course, to a child being in the heat or cold, but sometimes we forget that for centuries and centuries there was no air conditioning and somehow people managed to survive.
Common sense should prevail in our expectations of children in doing chores, but the value of such training cannot be disputed. We must never forget that childhood is a foundation for adulthood, and we need to lay that foundation well.