skip to Main Content
We Do Not Have To Keep House Alone

We do not have to keep house alone

Believe it or not, we have a built-in support system, but often we don’t utilize it! I am talking about our kids. It is our job to give them the skills to go forth in the world as healthy, self-sufficient individuals. How will they do that if we do everything for them?

I hear from a lot of overwhelmed moms who balance work and home and love for their family and lose themselves somewhere in the mix. They feel like they HAVE to do everything, and everyone burns out from doing everything at some point. On the flip side, I also have seen 16 year-olds who cook dinner twice a week for their family, 14 year-olds who do their own laundry, 8 year-olds who load and unload the dishwasher, and 6 year-olds who make their own bed everyday. We don’t have to keep house alone. In fact, what most of us find is that our kids really want to help, and they definitely want to spend time with us (well, until the teens!), so helping us cook, buy groceries, or garden is a bonding experience that each family member craves!

If we are not in the martyr role, some of us are in the perfectionist role. In other words, grown-ups do it faster and better, so why bother with letting the kids do it? But really that is when we have to take a deep breath and let go, because that’s just how they learn. And we are actually doing them a disservice for later in life because school just does not teach you this level of personal responsibility and self-care. It is our job, and it can work to our benefit!

Make chores something that really matter to your family (including calling it something other than “chores!”), and share your gratitude for all the work that gets done when you have downtime as a result! Gratitude is real — families need everyone to be doing their part, especially when both parents work outside the home. And children like to really feel like they matter!

We have put together a list of chores that are focused on food.

Kids can also make beds, vacuum, mow lawns, and even clean bathrooms, but that is for another day!

Toddler (ages 2–3)
Unload silverware from the dishwasher
Fold dishtowels
Sweep the floor
Wipe cabinets or table
Wash vegetables
Help clean up spills and messes
Water the garden

Preschooler (ages 4–6)
Everything above +
Tear lettuce for Salad
Measure and stir when baking
Help find items at the grocery store
Load the dishwasher
Pack snacks (with guidance)
Collect recycling
Help plant a garden
Set table
Clear table
Wash dishes (with supervision)
Carry groceries

Elementary (ages 7–10)
Everything above +
Wash, peel, and cut produce
Make a smoothie
Make simple dishes
Pack snacks and part of school lunch
Make salad dressing
Read recipes and help collect ingredients
Collect garbage and bring out to bin
Take out the compost
Harvest from the garden
Wash dishes
Load dishwasher
Empty dishwasher and stack items on the counter
Select produce and weigh it

Tween (ages 11-13)
Everything above +
Find a list of items at the store
Make homemade muffins and snacks
Cook simple meals
Pack entire school lunch
Take garbage/recycling to the curb
Weed the garden

Teen (ages 14+)
Everything above +
Make full meals
Plan meals
Walk (or if 16+, drive) to the store and buy items from your list
Clean out fridge/freezer/pantry
Chores can be a fun thing to do together! Clean-up after a meal has fun parts for every age, and it means the job gets done faster and a family has more time to be together after dinner.

I don’t want this to just sound good, I want it to work for you! So let’s take action!

Write a list of all the things that you and your partner do around meals — from shopping to cooking to taking out the trash. The more you can break this down the better. So, for example, don’t write “cook dinner,” but instead, “wash veggies,” “make rice,” “cook veggies,” etc. Don’t write “clean up kitchen,” but instead write, “put away dishes,” “wash dishes,” “put leftovers in Tupperware,” etc.

Delegate some tasks. Figure out age appropriate tasks other family members can do. Make a checklist and hang it somewhere central. Kids love checking stuff off a list — if you have a school aged child who likes getting organized, she could make the checklist!

Stay close. Remember this takes some training. It may even feel like a little extra work at first, but you will have to show what you mean by clean lettuce, and what it looks like to set the table. Kids will be more game to stay the course if they felt like it was a bonding experience. Once it is old habit, you of free of that chore!

Have fun! I can’t wait to here how it goes…

Back To Top