Whistle While You Work

Liz Fogle

I work at the television station a couple of days a week and the rest of my time is spent volunteering or subbing at my daughter’s school. Since my Monday thru Friday is often so busy, I often use my Saturday mornings to clean the house. Unfortunately, our crazy busy weekend didn’t allow this. On Sunday night, I looked around my house and I was almost overwhelmed by the mess/clutter (yes, my OCD was kicking in). My house looked like a disaster zone. I told my husband, that we have to get it clean before Monday morning! I knew I wouldn’t sleep otherwise!

At about 4:30 p.m. we decided to divide and conquer! My husband started on the laundry and Bug (my daughter) started on her room. I started bleaching counter tops, dusting furniture, and cleaning the bathroom. After Bug was finished cleaning her room, she helped tidy up the family room and picked up the piles of laundry that were starting to accumulate (ugh…it was bad!). Some days I wish there was a laundry fairy! Bug was very compliant and helpful! What was really funny was watching my husband vacuum and me run the steam mop right behind him. We were tripping over each others cords! We took divide and conquer to a new extreme. I was happy to say, the house was cleaned within a few hours and this momma was able to sleep soundly.

I was super proud of Bug and how she helped out. Bug is usually very good about doing the tasks I ask her to do. Bug’s jobs include: feeding the dog, tidying up her toys, cleaning her room, clearing her plate, dumping the bathroom trash, and picking up her clothes. Unfortunately, Bug thinks a laundry fairy comes every night?!?! Bug is also excellent at cleaning baseboards. I give her a semi-damp rag and she cleans them all. I feel like Bug does very age-appropriate tasks, but a new list circulating has me doubting a few things.

This age-appropriate chore list comes off a website entitled, “The Happy House Wife”.

Toddler (ages 2-3)
- Pick up/put away toys
- Unload the dishwasher (silverware, plastic cups, Tupperware)
- Dust with feather duster
- Swiffer the floor
- Put clothes in hamper
- Help move clothes from washer to dryer
- Put clothes away
- Make Bed
- Wipe cabinets
- Wipe baseboards

Preschool (ages 4-5)
- All previous chores
- Load the dishwasher
- Vacuum couch/chair/cushions
- Take out recycling
- Set table
- Clear table
- Wash dishes (with supervision)
- Clean windows
- Wipe out bathroom sinks
- Match socks
- Fold dish towels
- Weed
- Water indoor plants
- Feed pets

Early Elementary (ages 6-8)
- All previous chores
- Meal prep (wash produce, find ingredients, simple cutting)
- Wipe bathroom sinks, counters, toilets
- Hang out laundry
- Sweep
- Vacuum
- Collect garbage
- Get mail
- Fold/hang laundry
- Clean microwave
- Rake leaves

Elementary (ages 9-11)
- All previous chores
- Make simple meals
- Take garbage/recycling to curb
- Wash/dry clothes
- Clean toilets
- Mop floors

Middle School (ages 12-14)
- All previous chores
- Clean tub/shower
- Make full meals/meal plan
- Clean out fridge/freezer
- Mow yard
- Supervise younger children’s chores

I believe this list is a great guide, but some of these suggestions have me going “really”?!?!?! I cannot see my 5 year-old vacuuming the couch/chairs/cushions (I can hardly operate my vacuum). Also, I can barely get the dishwasher loaded! Bug can match socks because we all wear miss-matched socks anyway. I am also not sure that when Bug turns 6 if I will let her clean the toilet. For some reason, I think that is a task that requires a little more maturity! Elementary age children washing and drying clothes…really?!?! I was in middle school before I learned how to do laundry.

I know these are meant to be a guide, but some of them just seem so advanced. I am not opposed to Bug doing chores and work, I am just not sure that this list is entirely accurate. Are we forcing our children to grow up too fast? I Maybe I am alone in my thought?!?!

Moms what do you think, age-appropriate or asking too much?

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