Cleaning Tips Indoors & Out

Teach Children to Clean

What can parents do to create peace on the home front? Try these strategies to chill the chore wars.

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Chores for Children

Check this listing of age-appropriate chores to help children learn responsibility and habits of order:

2- to 3-year-olds can:

-Pick up toys
-Help make beds
-Help feed pets
-Dust lower shelves and furniture legs
-Place spoons, napkins and unbreakable dishes on the table
-Carry dirty clothing to the laundry area
-Sweep floors with a lightweight electrostatic dry mop

For 4- to 5-year-olds, add these chores to the list above:

-Make beds (if using comforters)
-Set the table
-Dust table tops
-Unload and put away groceries

Between 6 and 8 years of age, children can master these additional tasks:

-Keep their play areas or bedrooms tidy
-Water house plants
-Make beds (using bedspreads)
-Sort laundry
-Put clean clothing away
-Assist with simple food preparation (tear lettuce, make sandwiches)
-Fold socks, shirts and pants
-Help wash the car

9- to 10-year-olds are ready to:

-Change sheets
-Clean bathtub and sinks
-Help cook meals
-Prepare simple snacks
-Wash dishes
-Load the dishwasher
-Polish silver
-Sweep floors with broom and dustpan
-Help with yard work (rake leaves, pull weeds)

From 11 and up, train teens to do "adult" chores. They'll squawk on the outside, but feel pride on the inside as they master real-life skills. With teaching, teens can:

-Plan and cook family meals
-Do their own laundry using the washing machine and dryer
-Wash windows
-Replace light bulbs
-Polish furniture
-Wash hard-surface floors
-Clean garages and outbuildings
-Wash, wax and detail cars

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Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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