Helping Out Around the Home Develops Character


Our children are born with the desire to do things on their own.  A toddler will, when learning to eat on his own, often express “Me do it!”  We have learned that there is wisdom in teaching certain tasks and skills at certain ages. Often times, though, as mothers we can fall into a trap.  It takes more work and more stress to teach our children to work around the home than it does in the beginning to just do it ourselves.  I will confess that there is many an evening that I will work myself into a pile of nothing and then look back and say “I wish I had some help!” Each child should be a helper in the home; our children learn to appreciate so much more in life if they learn to work around the home.

Don’t pay your children to help out in the home.  It came as a big revelation to me when I heard the Ezzo’s share at a conference about the negative impact our children receive when we pay them to help around the home.  Part of living under one roof means that we all work together.  A child should not get paid for helping out.  Do you receive an allowance for scrubbing the floors, ironing the clothing, or preparing meals?  No, so why start expectations for our children when this is not the way life is.  Family unity means that we all work together.  Cultivating gratitude starts by working around the home together and then being grateful for the help and for a home that needs to be cleaned.


So what chores can your children do to help around the home?  It varies by age and maturity but here are some suggestions:


A child at 3 should be able to:  

make his own bed

help set the table

put her clothing in the hamper

help clear the table

pick up his toys


A child at 4 should be able to:

shake out area rugs

empty wastebaskets

help empty the dishwasher

help bring in the groceries


A child at 5 should be able to:

put away clean clothing

feed and take care of pets

get mail (if the mailbox is in a safe place)



A child at 6 should be able to:

organize their own drawers and closets

wash & dry dishes by hand

spot clean walls

rake leaves

bring in firewood

make a simple breakfast (cereal)

make a simple lunch (sandwich)

clean mirrors


A child at 7 should be able to:


clean pet cages

use a broom and dustpan

sweep porches, decks, & driveways

prepare a simple recipe

water outside plants, flowers, and garden

weed flower beds and garden


A child at 8 should be able to:

fold clothes neatly without wrinkles

iron flat items

strip and remake beds with clean sheets

clean the interior of a car

water house plants

clean bathroom sink, toilet, tub

set the table correctly

mop the floor


Character is never developed in a vacuum.  You cannot build endurance, perseverance, or become a hard worker if you have nothing to do.  You cannot develop kindness if you do not know what it is or how and when it is to be shown.  It is only through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, the practical application of biblical principles, and the patient training of parents that good character will begin to evolve.   And as parents, you will have the joy of seeing it happen right in your home in an atmosphere of encouragement, enthusiasm, and love as you give your children the opportunity to help around the house.


From the Christian Family Heritage vault.  Original author unknown.  Information used in the this blog from the What Every Child Should Know Along the Way book, available through Christian Family Heritage.
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