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When summer comes, your kids’ majorly-structured days can suddenly feel wide open. And while you prepare to bask in the glow of fewer responsibilities, you might also want to use this time to implement a new habit with your kids, big and small: daily summer chores.
Chores Help Kids Learn and Grow
If your child seems to whine and complain endlessly about chore time, you might wonder if the effort to implement chores is really worth it. But it is!
Kids gain so much in social and emotional development from doing chores, including…
- executive functioning (how to follow through with a task)
- connection to family well being
- problem-solving skills
Best of all, chores don’t have to compete with a get-up-and-go lifestyle. If you’re the kind of parent who feels overwhelmed about planning activities and managing your kids schedules this summer, you can totally let go of that mentality and get back to basics with this simple list of summer chores. Here they are.
20 Simple Summer Chores
- Mow the lawn
- Weed the gardens
- Care for family pets
- Empty and load the dishwasher
- Set and clear the table
- Fold and put away laundry
- Pick up toys and games
- Vacuum or sweep the floor
- Prepare a salad or simple side for dinner
- Wash the car
- Make your bed
- Wipe down outdoor furniture
- Water flower gardens
- Take out the trash
- Sort/take out recycling
- Wipe down counter tops
- Bring in the mail
- Take out the compost pot
- Wipe down mirrors and windows
What’s a Good System for Enforcing Summer Chores? Make it a Daily Habit.
How you handle summer chores will vary a lot depending on your lifestyle and your kids’ ages. Even so, making chores a daily habit should be part of your strategy. Even if your kids do just one small chore each day, they’ll start to internalize their chore as part of their daily routine. (With any luck, this means less complaining!)
Chores might be tied to the time of day (like making your bed or setting the table for dinner) or they might crop up unexpectedly, when you or your kids notice something that needs to be done around the house.
Typical kids ages 5 and under can complete one chore a day, and kids 6 and over can reasonably do two or more chores. (Remember, these activities don’t have to be long or involved.)
Finally, try to stay positive about chores, and your kids will be more likely to approach their chore with positivity, too. (Some kids LOVE to vacuum, or spray water from a spray bottle. Don’t squash their enthusiasm!)
Should You Pay Your Kids to Do Chores?
Paying kids to complete chores might be a popular system, but experts say it instills the wrong lesson in our kids. For one thing, kids might refuse to do chores when they don’t need money! More importantly, paying for chores makes contributing to the household about money, rather than about doing your share. It can also lessen the sense of pride and accomplishment kids feel after helping out.
All this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your kids an allowance (money management is a good learning opportunity, too!) But it’s best to treat allowance and chores as separate entities.
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I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie