Coorganizing tips

Helping at home which tasks at what age ?

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Helping at home – Which tasks at what age?       

Helping out around the house fosters a sense of responsibility and is rewarding for children. But at what age, and which chores?

We sought the advice of Claude Berthon, our favorite child and teenager psychologist.

Let’sCo: At what age can a child begin to help around the house?

Claude Berthon: It is preferable to associate a child with helping around the house at the right age: too early and you risk creating a feeling of insecurity in your child, which is a source of worry and anger; too late and your child may not feel capable and will violently reject it.

Making a child responsible must take place in a progressive and regular way from an early age, in relation of course to his or her capabilities (physical and intellectual) and psycho-affective maturity. Simple common sense forbids us from leaving an 8 year old child home alone to make the pasta or take the bus to pick up his 4 year old brother from judo class…!

Helping at home, even symbolically tidying or cleaning, can begin from the age of 4 to 5, depending on a child’s tastes and aptitudes, his or her desire to behave “like Mummy”, and this establishes a natural climate of helpfulness that is favourable towards wider delegation of tasks at a later stage!

Let’sCo: Can you give us examples of tasks that can be delegated and at what age?

Claude Berthon: The age of reason, 7 years old, would appear to be a good moment to start entrusting a child from time to time with “full missions” when it comes to helping around the house: setting the table, clearing the table, stacking the dishwasher or gathering dirty laundry. From this age onwards, a child will often enjoy going to the corner of the street to buy the bread.

From the age of 12, a young person can be given greater responsibility, for example going alone to a dental appointment, walking to school or taking public transport, being in possession of his or her own set of house keys.

A teenager from the age of 14 or 15 can begin to take care of some simple administrative tasks or supervise his or her younger siblings as they do their homework or start the dinner if the parents are not at home. In general, at this age girls tend to be more comfortable than their male counterparts when it comes to helping at home: but boys are just as capable!

In practical terms, be sure to adapt to each child’s level of independence, taking care to avoid overloading a young person with responsibilities that may put him or her in a difficult or risky position. So, for example, it is preferable for an adolescent organising a birthday party with friends to be able to do so within a clear framework and in the presence of an attentive adult.

Thank you Claude for this practical advice about family co-organisation! Anyone can help around the house!

What about you? At what age did your child start to help you around the house?