Chores for kids are proven predictor for successful adults. Decades of studies have shown chores help kids build a sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance. You can stairstep your way into teaching them chores by using my list of chores for kids by age.
Chore buddies or team chores has additional benefits for kids. They demonstrate their skills to a peer. They learn teamwork. They learn that everyone needs to participate equally in taking care of the family home. And yes, they bond together.
One Sunday morning recently, my youngest 2 kids were arguing endlessly over every little thing: who got to pick the tv show, who got to sit on the big couch, who got the last donut. Having enough at the early hour of 6:30 am, I told the 2 kids they had to clean all the baseboards together on the first floor. Oh, and they had to share the spray bottle.
Initially, there was a little bickering as the 2 kids figured out what to do. Then, I heard them begin to dialogue about getting the chore done. They realized they had to take turns with the spray bottle. They also figured out that one kid with longer arms could get behind the furniture while the other one helped move the furniture.
The bickering stopped. The 2 kids headed into the basement to play together.
While this doesn’t happen every time, over time, you’ll see your kids start to see themselves as part of a team, and less likely to bicker about stuff.
5 Benefits of Siblings Doing Chores Together
- Save time and effort – Teach one child a chore, and you’ll have to repeat the instructions to the next child. Teach 2 children a chore, and they both can help and teach other siblings.
- Siblings bond together – See your kids channel their energy away from arguing (usually) to working together.
- Improve cognitive and thinking skills – Working together involves understanding how to do the chore, what the parental expectations are, and deciding who is responsible for individual steps.
- Boost self-confidence – Doing tougher chores together helps kids feel more capable and more interested in trying new chores.
- Siblings learn from each other – Kids gain self-confidence when they own their skills. They also gain confidence when a sibling tells them they do a good job on something.
Practical Tips for Chore Buddies
One way I encourage my kids to work together and have the older ones teach the younger ones is through chore buddies. For example, we alternate the table setting weekly between the 7 and 6 year old and the 9 and 4 year old. Each pair is responsible for putting silverware and napkins at each spot along with drink cups for the 4 young children. When my 9 year old and 4 year old are setting the table, the 9 year old helps the 4 year old if he needs it and checks his work, most of the time.
Another way to have kids share chores is by having 2 kids clean the bathroom together. One child would be responsible for wiping the counters and emptying the trash while the other checks the toilet paper supply and puts out new towels. If an older child is involved, they could handle wiping the toilet and the shower area.
Since my 4 young ones share bedrooms, each pair is both responsible for their room. They make their own beds, pick up the books together, and take turns bringing the dirty laundry downstairs while the other brings the basket back up.
I’ve found my kids like to work together in the kitchen. Whether it’s cleaning the grapes together or cutting up the vegetables, the older child will often supervise the younger one or tell them how to do something. For the older child, they learn how to explain something and make sure all the steps are followed in the recipe. The younger child learns that his older sibling can be a source of help, not just a rival at times.
Always keep an eye on the chore buddies and be ready to supervise if needed. Some kids work together more naturally than others. While my 9 year old is almost always willing to help his 4 year old brother, his “best buddy,” he’s less willing to share the responsibility of a chore with his 7 year old brother, leaving the 7 year old to do the chore. When this happens, my 9 year old receives extra training by way of doing extra chores that day.