Get Your Kids on a Summer Chore Schedule, No Complaints
Some schools are starting to wind up classes for summer break and soon most kids across the country will be celebrating the end of the school year. Parents meanwhile are dreading the messy house, complaints of boredom and how much time kids will try to spend glued to the screens of their electronic devices.
To help combat summer laziness, before the school year ends parents should put a chore plan in place with their kids, based on their ages. There are an estimated 15 million summer-time latchkey kids (ages 5-12 who stay home alone) in the U.S. and you’d think that these kids would naturally be drawn to visiting the local pool or running around outside with friends. Instead, they use the summer to sit around and engage in obesity-related behaviors like watching TV, playing video games, eating sugar snacks and fewer vegetables according to a study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Chores can help keep kids active, teach them responsibility and accountability and earn them some spending money to fuel summer fun.
Believe it or not, making a chore plan and nipping complaints in the bud is just two easy steps.
1. Communicate Your Expectations
Sit down with you kids and lay out a plan, as well as, what you expect. Clearly older kids will have more responsibility but that doesn't mean the little ones get off easy.
- For kids under 5 – Because the little ones won’t be able to tackle a lot of tasks solo, think of ways they can contribute by helping with other family member’s chores are doing or keep their solo tasks basic. Solo chores could be picking up toys and bringing dirty clothes to the laundry.
- 6-7 – Start asking more of your kids like when you fold the laundry they are in charge of bringing it to each family member’s bedroom, have them pick up their bedrooms, fill the pet’s water bowls or dust baseboards.
- 8-9 –You can rely on bigger kids to put away their laundry, clean their room, make their bed, clear the dinner table, wipe off lower cabinets and appliance surfaces.
- 9-10 – Kids in this age group are ready for a little more responsibility and can be put in charge of tasks like feeding the fish, watering indoor plants, setting the table for meals, collecting trash and recycling from around the house so it is ready to take outside.
- 11-12 – In middle school kids will be fighting for more freedom, so make sure they learn that more freedom means more responsibility. Have them make lunch for the family. They can also dust, vacuum, pick up dog poop or clean the litter box. Non-household tasks can also be assigned as chores like practicing a sport or music outside of normal practice/lessons.
- 13-14 – By now, kids know they need to contribute to the household and they can tackle more labor-intensive work like mowing the lawn, washing windows, cleaning the garage, washing floors, loading the dishwasher.
- 15+ – Your kids are rapidly approaching independence, so chores should now focus on life skills. Laundry, cooking meals, taking out trash and recycling, household cleaning and other chores that soon will be on their shoulders at college or their first apartment can be taught through practice at home first. Also consider financial chores like assigning a weekly budget for groceries and putting your teen in charge of making purchasing decisions for the family. Earning rights to the family car can also mean washing, vacuuming and waxing.
2. Reward Success
If all goes according to your plan, your kids will be moving around a bunch this summer and plenty of projects will be done. Make sure to reward them for working hard and staying with the plan. Paying an allowance is a great way to reward your kids and can help keep them from complaining about pitching in. Using BusyKid will help them learn how to save, spend and invest it wisely. Paying allowance could even end up saving you a few pennies if you give your kids chores that allow you to cancel lawn care or household cleaning services!
The co-founder & CEO of BusyKid, Gregg Murset is best known as groundbreaking inventor of My Job Chart which grew to nearly 1 million members in four years. My Job Chart was the first electronic chore/allowance platform to take advantage of our modern digital society. A father of six, Gregg is a certified financial planner and consultant who also became a leading advocate for sound parenting, child accountability and financial literacy. In 2014, he was named Chairman of 2014 “Smart Money Week” for the state of Arizona, as well as, the National Financial Educators Council Financial Education Instructor of the Year. A firm believer in improved financial education in schools, Gregg has conducted hundreds of media interviews around the U.S. in hopes of much needed change. Promoting these changes, Gregg took his family on a pair of RV trips in 2014 and traveled nearly 10,000 miles in just 31 days. When the trips were complete, the family had stopped in 22 different cities in 27 states and performed normal household chores for families in need and organizations requesting volunteers. Gregg is considered a pillar of his Arizona community and is regularly attending his kids sporting events or taking them on weekend camping trips.