Age-appropriate chores for 5 year olds

Chores for children

Claire “helping” with the dishes at 18 months

We’ve seen Claire go through a big transition in the last year or so. She has become really into helping out around the house! It started with clearing her own plate after a meal. This was part of her daily routine at school – she would take her own dishes, wash them in basins with warm water, and stack them to dry. So we started asking her to clear her plate at home as well, and she was happy to do so!

Around the same time, we also realized that Claire has no real concept of money. She doesn’t know if a lollipop costs 10 KSH, or 10,000 KSH. So we decided to make a simple list of chores with payments, and made her a piggy bank to keep her earnings in. The chores are pretty basic – make your bed every day (this is actually an expectation), set the table for dinner, clear the table after a meal (everyone’s dishes, not just her own!), fill the bird feeders with seed, tidy the bookshelf, help to prepare a meal, etc. Most of the tasks are paid 5 KSH, so it’s not exactly a high paying job. But Claire is really motivated, and loves to check chores off her list.

Eventually, when she has saved up some money, Claire will get to go to the store and pick out whatever she wants, even if it’s something Mommy wouldn’t normally allow (within reason, of course). I fully expect her to buy some disgusting candy I don’t approve of… 🙂

I’m excited to see Claire growing, building character, and taking on an active role in the household. Growing up in the US, we did not have housekeepers the way we do in Kenya. I’ve always worried that having household staff might make my kids lazy or entitled, and this feels like a great way to remind our kids that we still have to participate in the running of the house, even if we have someone to help with the heavy work.

What about you, do your kids do chores? Do you pay allowance? How does it work in your house?

PS – I love this old photo of Claire as a toddler helping with the dishes. I can hardly believe she was ever that tiny!

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3 Responses to Age-appropriate chores for 5 year olds

  1. Joanne says:

    I’m in the opposite situation, growing up with housekeepers in Kenya to expecting my 1st child and not having one in the US, and man, it’s hard! I realized in my 4th month I didn’t really grow up seeing pregnant, working moms coming home from work and then having to make dinner and clean the house, so I had no idea how to juggle all of it. It definitely takes some getting used to. I’m fully in support of Kenyan kids helping out around the house, maybe if I’d done more when I was growing up, it would be easier for me now. So keep going mama!

  2. Marie says:

    Great to get the kids involved in the house.

    Even my 2,5 years old loves to help with cleaning, dishes, …
    But I’m not convinced about the payment to do something… I think kids should learn to help at home without being paid in exchange. Don’t you risk to have a growing child asking for money to do something? (thinking more of a young teenager) Isn’t there another way of getting them to understand money? I have always been annoyed seeing kids telling their parents things like i ll wash your car if you pay me… But i don’t have any answer on how to deal with money understanding at that age.

  3. Anne says:

    Well done! Totally on board with the idea of rewarding kids for chores in monetary terms. It teaches them about budgeting . I grew up doing house chores for free and when i finally left my parents house and into work, i had a lot of work experience but zero experience in budgeting and finances. I once spent Kshs 1,500 for shoes , money that was meant for household shopping and i had to make do with tea and bread for a couple days before payday! Lesson learnt and am doing things different with my daughter . I want to teach her money management skills and a chores based allowance makes the most sense for my husband and I.

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