What Kids Can Do - Realistic Chores For Six, Seven and Eight Year Old Children

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A six-year-old has acquired good control over his body and has a great deal of energy to expend learning new skills and perfecting those he already has. His attention span is increasing, but he gets restless if an activity lasts longer than fifteen or twenty minutes.

Most six-year-olds like games and competition and will work like troopers for stars on a chart. A six-year-old is very concerned with good and bad behavior, particularly as it affects his family and friends.

Task Expectations:

  • Leave the bathroom neat after use
  • Straighten dresser drawers
  • Clean the toilet and tub
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Sweep porches, patios, walks
  • Know basic food groups
  • Put groceries away
  • Make KoolAid
  • Know monetary denominations (penny, nickel, dime, quarter, etc.)
  • Learn to use a small allowance
  • Learn to swim and ride a two-wheel bike
  • Know what to do in case of a fire at home
  • Service projects like sorting cans, bottles and papers for recycling

Realistic Chores for Seven-Year-Olds

At seven, a child is still close to his parents and appreciates attention, love and sympathy. He is also beginning to relate more to things outside the home. He has individual tastes and wants to be allowed to make some of his own decisions. He is lively, eager and tremendously interested in life around him. He explores many activities and likes to repeat those that he likes.

Seven is the "collection" age.

What to us may appear as a box of rocks or pieces of paper are to him a valued collection of treasures. His attention span is growing, and he can see a project through to completion, if it interests him, or if the payoff is great enough. His attention span has increased to 20 to 25 minutes, but he may need reminders to keep on track. Some children in this age grow so rapidly they tire easily and are restless and fidgety. A seven-year-old is becoming more independent and in general thinks more logically.

Task Expectations:

  • Wash and dry his hair
  • Clean out his closet
  • Sort out outgrown clothes
  • Empty the dishwasher and put dishes away
  • Wash and dry the dishes by hand
  • Clean out combs and brushes
  • Sort laundry into white and colors
  • Separate and fold socks
  • Check a book out of library and keep track of it
  • Make emergency calls to 911, grandparents or neighbors
  • Service projects such as visiting a nursing home

Realistic Chores for Eight-Year-Olds

There is a big difference between a seven- and an eight-year-old. An eight-year-old is well on his way to becoming a responsible person. He has a clear idea of right and wrong, fair and unfair, honest and dishonest, and what constitutes a "good" job. He desperately wants to feel independent.

An eight-year-old is in a real push-me, pull-me stage and seems to need his parents for everything. He does not want to depend on them and yet will make great demands on them. Parents have become less of an ideal in his eyes and the teacher sometimes is more respected. He may often double check information you gave him, with a teacher, even if you are a teacher.

Parents seem to get more cooperation at this age if they approach an eight-year-old in a businesslike, direct, but friendly way. Eight-year-olds still want outward affection but not in front of their friends. The feelings of an eight-year-old are very tender, and he is especially sensitive to criticism, but responds eagerly to praise. Be very careful not to discourage his attempts at work. Kindly direct and instruct him in the proper methods.

The eight-year-old will often set unattainable goals for himself. As parents, we need to help him divide a project into manageable and attainable parts.

Task Expectations:

  • Fold clothing neatly, without wrinkles
  • Separate and deliver family members' laundry
  • Hang clothes outdoors for sun drying
  • Polish shoes
  • Know how to use various household cleaners
  • Load and turn on dishwasher
  • Water houseplants
  • Water grass
  • Make lunch of a sandwich and canned soup
  • Make change
  • Surface clean the car interior
  • Use a vacuum cleaner
  • Clean pet cages and bowls
  • Service projects such as running errands for elderly neighbors

The Primary grades are a time of learning and wanting to please the adults in the child's life. Maximize this time by encouraging positive action. Good luck. You do an important work.

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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