Who does the majority of the chores at your house? American women and men tend to split chores evenly, but they are still spending more than 10 hours per week doing laundry and running the dishwasher. The average American family washes at least 10 loads of laundry every week, but parents can feel reluctant to ask children to pitch in. Educational studies actually show that children who do weekly chores have higher levels of self-esteem and are more likely to get good grades. Although you will want to vary the chore list depending upon your child’s age and capabilities, children as young as two can pitch in when it’s time to clean your home.
The main reason that parents do not ask their children to help out with chores is that they feel that children will do a messy job. Everyone has their own special way to load the dishwasher, for example, and children may be impatient. Nobody wants broken dishes and overloaded dishwashers, but kids can do chores where precision is not so vital: toddlers and kindergarteners will be happy to sweep for you: just make sure they use a smaller broom so they don’t make a hole in your wall by accident.
Older children can reasonably be expected to do their own laundry, even though they may need a few verbal prompts to get started. They should collect their laundry, put it into the washing machine, and keep track of when it’s time to transfer it to the dryer. Parents can monitor the amount of laundry detergent that the kids are putting in — we do not want a sudsy explosion — but after a few months, children should be able to perform the laundry routine without parental supervision. Younger kids should be expected to help fold laundry, and as a general rule, children over the age of 10 can do their own laundry every week.
If you are the kind of person who likes to do their own home repairs, you can show teens plumbing basics and kitchen sink repair. Teens are more coordinated than younger children and have longer attention spans. Kitchen sink repair can be a great opportunity to connect with high school aged children: plumbing basics are also an excellent life skill to master. If leaking pipes are giving you lots of trouble, contact your local plumber for help. Teens can ask questions about plumbing problems and may have basic plumbing questions that contractors can answer. There are websites that teach life skills available online. Look into classes that you and your teen can take together: once they get their license, they should know how to jumpstart a car, how to check their oil levels, how to change a tire, and what to do if their car breaks down. Every teen should have a roadside auto assistance membership and a pair of jumper cables in their trunk.
Plumbing basics are an important life skill, and so is car repair. Too many of us drive cars without realizing how often we should go in for oil changes and fluid top ups. Teens who are new drivers or who are living on their own for the first time should know about grocery shopping and living on a budget, plumbing basics and home repair, and performing basic car repairs. They may still have to call on professionals from time to time, but it’s important that teens know how to maintain their cars and homes. We spend a lot of time making sure that our children do well in school, but we may not realize that they need to develop life skills like budgeting, saving, and keeping their cars functional. If you start your children doing small household chores when they are young, you can gradually work them up to chores that require more precision and responsibility: when they move out on their own, they will have mastered important life skills.