Summer chores for children?

Summer holidays are getting closer, some of you are already on vacation, and for mothers (and fathers) this is a great challenge. How to survive these long weeks and get some holiday feeling despite the daily chores?

In her latest post “Responsibility should not be a chore“, Nicole from Sisters from Another Mister, points out that chores teach our children responsibility, like Livia McCoy says in her article “Summer chores teach kids responsibility“.

We all know that chores are not a choice and I agree with Nicole that “we should (not) pay our children to do them”. At least, this is how I do it with my children and they know that every member of the family has to participate as best as he can, in order to “run the family”. I know how this sounds, and in fact, I consider that a family is like a business where every member has certain tasks (chores). I don’t pay my children for daily chores, because nobody is paying me to do my chores, so why should they be paid? For those of you who want to give rewards, you could think about a sort of reward at the end of the week that they enjoy but that you can do as a family.

During the schoolyear I usually narrow down the chores for our children in order to give them more time to study and play, but during the holidays, they have to take over some more (age appropriate) tasks, in order to guarantee that we all get more time to spend together. During the last few years I realized that children need structure and routine, otherwise my holidays are not fun for me as I take over all the tasks.

Whether you are spending your holidays at home or elsewhere, there are every day chores that need to be done. Children of any age understand that it’s important that someone can rely on them. Adults are used to this all the time, but our children need to learn this too. They have to learn to become dependable, to remember things they are supposed to do (starting with brushing their teeth, washing the hands regularly, packing their bags for school etc.). And every day chores help our children to learn this.

Toddlers can help with simple chores, like setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, sorting laundry, tidying up (toys etc.) or helping with setting the table before breakfast, lunch etc. They can help to prepare meals (by chopping up some vegetables or fruits etc.).

Elementary school children can do more complex chores. If you have a garden, they can help to clean up the yard, maybe mow the lawn, pull the weeds etc. They can not only set the table, but also help to prepare some meals, write the shopping list etc.

Teens can already take on many chores. In addition to the chores mentioned above, cleaning out the garage or another room and helping with some chores around the house are simple and quick tasks they can do on a regular basis. They can also babysit their younger siblings if needed (maybe not necessarily during the night, but during the day – it ). Teens can also help you with the maintenance of the car or the bike  and learn some basic repair skills. And they can run easy errands. – Find more ideas for chores for teens here.

If you are spending your holidays in a new place, let your child be your guide. If they can read a map they usually are very proud to take the lead and they will surely be less bored during long walks. – Also for the packing you can give them a list with the items they have to pack. I do this regularly with my kids since they were 5.

Nobody likes chores, but we all have responsibilities in this world and chores “step up to the plate none the less, with or without the promise of ice cream”. Make sure that everyone knows what you want them to do. Everyone needs to know what he is held responsible for. You can make lists to put in a prominent place in order to remember everything you all need to do.  Electronic calendars can also be helpful (I use google calendar on my computer and smartphone). You can also download chore lists/charts from the internet here or here for teens etc. You may think that having charts is time consuming, but believe me, they take away the nagging and reminders because the children can see what they need to do without you repeating it over and over…

final laminated chore chart

But after all those chores, don’t forget that holidays are supposed to be the moment where families live adventures (camping, swimming, vacationing etc) and form memories. Therefore, enjoy your holidays and have a great time with your families!

Family Playing at the Beach

Family Playing at the Beach (Photo credit:

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