7 Chores Kids Can Do That Won’t Make Extra Work for You

Here’s how kids can help around the house without leaving you to redo their work.

By Betsy Voreacos

We all know the importance of chores. It’s not (just) about making your kids do work. It’s about building confidence, teaching responsibility, and making them feel like they’re a valuable part of the family. The problem is, half the time – or even most of the time – you end up having to redo the chore, or undo the damage, until they’ve mastered it themselves. To save your sanity (and time), here are some chores that your kids can do that won’t backfire!

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Make it a clean sweep.
Sweeping is something every kid can do, albeit with varying degrees of success. But if they don’t get every crumb today, it’s a given that there will be more tomorrow. Assign one day a week for your child to take over the broom. You’ve got the other six days to get down and dirty yourself!

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Pick up sticks.
Mowing the lawn is a whole lot easier if you pick up the stray sticks first. This is a perfect job for a young, or even a not-so-young, child. You can add a competitive edge with a timer, or by counting how many sticks he collects. And if a few are missed, you’re still ahead of the game.

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Give the bathtub a rub-a-dub-dub.
Turn a bubble bath into a bathtub cleaning opportunity! At the end of the bath, have your child use a washcloth or clean sponge to give the tub a quick once-over after the water drains out. (Afterward, you can use cleaners as needed.)

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Mom’s most famous words – make your bed!
Teach your children young and they’ll never leave a bed unmade! And because it’s not you who has to climb in between those wrinkly-crinkly sheets, resist the urge to do too much tucking and smoothing yourself.

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Learning lessons with laundry.
Turning clothes right-side out is not only helpful for you, but is an easy chore that can turn into a learning experience. Not only does it teach dexterity, but you can have them sort their clothes by color and type. Just offer a couple of laundry baskets for this task so towels can go to the left, T-shirts to the right!

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Another Laundry Shortcut for Moms
Until the kids master sorting (and eventually doing!) their own laundry, save a little time by switching to Tide Pods. You toss them right into the washing machine yourself before each wash– no messy measuring required!


The pet project.
Nothing teaches responsibility better than taking care of a pet. Whether it’s feeding the cat, walking the dog or making sure there’s water in the rabbit’s cage, there’s something your child can do. And the best of all, they get thanked by someone other than you.

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Clean up your mess!

The sooner your child learns to clean up after himself, the better. Offer big, plastic bins in which to toss toys, easy-access laundry baskets for clothes, and a nice big garbage bag for trash. Just remember to always check that garbage bag before you send it out to the can!

Which chores do you hand over to your children?

Betsy Voreacos lives with her family a stone’s throw from Manhattan. An overly involved mother of three active children, Betsy has always been acutely aware of her shortcomings as a parent, not to mention those of her children. A freelance writer and blogger, she documents her life in the brutally honest Old Minivans Die Hard.

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