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It is the age old question pondered by parents worldwide; when is it appropriate to have my child participate in chores and what are appropriate requests for their age? To help answer the “what’s” and “when’s” of the situation, Skinnymom enlisted the help of some professionals. Ingrid Kellaghan is the founder and CEO of Cambridge Nanny Group and Tammy Gold is the owner of Gold Parent Coaching.

So what are the first steps to assigning a child regular chores? According to Tammy Gold, it’s best to choose from a list of chores appropriate to the child’s age. Here are her suggestions by age group:

  • For children 3-5 years of age, have them put dirty clothes in the hamper, bring plates to the table and help set the dinner table.
  • For children 6-10 years of age, have them make their own bed, put away clean laundry and help with outdoor chores.
  • For children 11-13 years of age, have them begin completing homework assignments unassisted, do outside volunteer work and help look after younger siblings.
  • Finally, for children 15-18, Gold recommends allowing them to have a part-time job and help with bigger issues at home including watching younger siblings unsupervised for extended periods of time.

While discovering the right chores to assign to your child may be simple, getting your child to complete the chores and consistently stay on track can be a whole other story. To assist your children in staying organized, Ingrid Kelleghan suggests using a chore chart. She says it “teaches kids about responsibility in a fun and visually engaging way.” On the chart she recommends having each child’s name, their particular responsibility, and a box to check it off. She also recommends having a “weekly prize” list for the children to choose from. This list can include such events as an ice cream party, visiting with a friend or going to the Zoo. While providing children with fun and engaging activities as a reward is always a great option, Kelleghan says parents should steer clear of giving children money, at least until they have passed the age of 10.

For those with children who refuse to do chores despite a grand reward system, Tammy Gold suggests refusing that child certain

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rewards that other family members have. For example, if a child cannot bring their dish to the sink to help out, then they should not be allowed to have dessert. She also believes that children should be made to understand that having chores is not a form of punishment, but instead part of “being in a family” and in a family, everyone must do their part.

Regardless of what chores you choose for your children, know that by having them participate, you are not only teaching them responsibility but also the importance of caring for others. Having chores helps to build character in children, teaches them the value of a job well done and in a world where most of the time it’s all about them, shows them that sometimes it’s also important to help out others. So get your charts ready and begin delegating. You’re not just raising children here; you’re also raising future moms and dads, so make certain you’re raising them right.

For more information on Ingrid Kellaghan  and Cambridge Nanny Group, visit http://www.cambridgenannygroup.com/

For more information on Tammy Gold and Gold Parent Coaching, visit http://www.goldparentcoaching.com/