Just because my kids are cute (and they really, really are) doesn't mean they get out of doing farm kid chores. In fact, their cuteness may even make things worse for them.
Aww! Aren't you darling! I bet you're even look more darling carrying this up to the trash can!
Think I'm joking? I'm not. But hear me out. As much as I believe in childhood and imaginations and playtime and all the beautiful things that come in those early years of life, this new cultural idea that “being a kid” means not being taught skills, making any contribution, or carrying any responsibility is just… well… ridiculous.
Our children are so capable. Chores are an opportunity to grow their character, strengthen their moral fiber, give them skills to carry them through life, and teach them my very favorite lesson of all (repeat it with me now!): The world is not about you.
We are just entering a beautiful new season of parenthood where the oldest children are actually huge contributors. There were many years where we pushed them through their chores simply to get them in the habit of doing them, but I wouldn't say they were exactly helpful. But now? That work payed off. Never did I think I would love to see the day! Hallelujah!
Before I list out some farm kid chores, let me just encourage you if your children are less-than-enthusiastic about their own chore obligations. Much like us, children need to be taught. They need to be encouraged. They need to be pushed and they need to be held accountable. The best way to teach your child to participate in the keeping of your home is to be calm, consistent, and a cheerleader for their efforts. It takes time to form a new habit, so be gentle, yet unwavering. Come alongside them day after day to show them how to do the task well.
They'll be angry at first but before long, they'll begin to take pride in their skills. Hold firm! Grab their little sweet, chubby, cute faces in your Mama hands, kiss their cheeks, and lovingly tell them to get to work, yo.
Farm Kid Chore By Age
- Put dirty clothes in dirty clothes hamper
- Help to clean bedroom
- Pick up toys around the house
- Help vacuum
- Put pillows and blankets away
- Hang with Mom & Dad while they feed, milk, or garden
- Help harvest produce
- Pickup trash & toys around house
Ages 6-10 (in addition to chores listed above)
- Wash clothing
- Fold and put away clothing
- Empty dishwasher
- Load dishwasher
- Hand-wash dishes
- Clear table
- Clean bathroom
- Vacuum & sweep floors
- Take out garbage
- Make bed & change sheets
- Help preserve food
- Gather eggs
- Clean the chicken coop
- Care for cats, dogs, etc.
- Water pots of flowers or window boxes
- Wash windows
- Rack leaves
- Clean out the car & wash it
Ages 11-15 (in addition to chores listed above)
- Milk and feed animals
- Fill up animal waters & scrub clean
- Make bread
- Preserve food
- Mow lawn
- Help to weed gardens
- Help meal plan, grocery shop, and cook meals
- Shovel snow
- Help paint as needed
- Help organize the home, barn, or animal pens as needed
These chores that may seem small become much bigger when you're teaching your child to submit to responsibility and to bare the burden of work well. Expect some kick back. And then keep on anyway. In the long haul, we can trust that a strong work ethic will only benefit them.
Be kind. Lead by example. And go clean the chicken coop.
Over and out.