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How Many Chores Should a 10-Year-Old Be Given in the Home?

by Gail Sessoms

The 10-year-old child is mature enough and physically able to perform household chores with instruction and a little supervision. Children at this age are pre-adolescents who, generally, place great importance on friends, fitting in and independence. Physically-demanding, complicated chores might be too much for your 10-year-old. However, basic household chores and responsibilities are appropriate for this age group and can even contribute to their education and to the development of good character traits, like responsibility, self-sufficiency and a healthy work-ethic

Chore Rules

Chores should be pre-determined and performance required in a specific time frame. Set a standard that encourages your child to do his best work, but leave a little wiggle room so he is not overwhelmed by striving for perfection. Stick to the rules so he knows what to expect and can control his pace. Post a chores chart and the rules so kids have a handy reference Chores based on your child’s level of maturity and physical development give him the best chance to do a good job and develop confidence in his abilities. For instance, dusting the window blinds with a feather duster is probably a better choice than mowing the lawn. Avoid assigning chores that require the use of harsh cleaning liquids

How Many and How Long

Remember the attention span of a 10-year old and his physical capabilities when assigning chores. Assigning tasks that take a long time to complete might set him up for frustration and failure. Cleaning the baseboards throughout the house using a bucket and sponge is a taxing job for a young child. Wiping the baseboards in one room is a job a child can complete relatively quickly and see the results. Establish the amount of time your child will spend on chores on a given day. For instance, an hour on Saturdays and a half- or quarter-hour on weekdays might be enough time for 10-year-old to finish light chores. Leave time for children to do homework and take care of other responsibilities

Which Chores

A 10-year-old can bring in the mail or walk the dog every day. She can set the table for meals, load or unload the dishwasher or wash dishes. She can straighten the family room, clean sinks and toilets or take trash to the outdoor cans. If your child has pets, assign her the chore of cleaning the cage, tank or litter box. With supervision, a 10-year old can wash the car. She can help you fold laundry or rake leaves. Ten-year-old children can help with meals by preparing salads or dishing up desserts . Assign chores that are important to the household and the family. Children often resent being given busy-work that has little value or jobs that no one else wants to do.

Personal Chores

Discuss with your 10-year-old the personal chores he must perform regardless of other chores you might assign to him. He should keep his bedroom clean and orderly, including making his bed, changing the linen, dusting, hanging up his clothes, keeping his possessions neat and placing his laundry in the proper place. He should clean up behind himself when he leaves other rooms, like the kitchen or the family room.

Chores and Allowance

Although children need to know there are consequences for not doing their chores or for doing a poor job, many parents wonder if it's a good idea to connect allowance to chores. Should a child forfeit all or part of his allowance if he is lacking in the chores department? Will giving an allowance for a job well-done prevent learning to do a good job as a matter of conscience and responsibility? Some parents use allowance as motivation and reward for performing chores, requiring children to earn money and other privileges. Barbara Metz, parenting consultant with the column Mom’s online (link in Resources) recommends approaching allowances and household chores as part of the privileges and responsibilities of belonging to a family.

About the Author

Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.

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