What are some age-appropriate chores for a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old?
Chores are a great way to help children learn a variety of skills. Kids can learn and practice skills such as responsibility, following instructions and accepting feedback by regularly completing chores. Chores give children skills that they will use throughout their lives. When assigning chores, make sure you focus on completion rather than substance; it’s more important that your child completes a task than what the specific task is. Also, let children be part of choosing chores by asking them to help you come up with helpful tasks they can complete.
Sit down together and have a "Family Meeting" to discuss some possible chores for everyone. Make it fun and create a "Job Jar." Have your 6-year-old write his chores on a piece of purple paper and have your 10-year-old write his chores on a green piece of paper. Then put all the chore slips in the Job Jar. Each morning (or night), have your children pull their jobs for the day out of the jar.
There are probably a million tasks around your house that sometimes don’t get done because of your busy schedule! Here are a few ideas for your Job Jar to get you started:
- Wipe off all door knobs in the house.
- Wipe off all baseboards in (list specific room of house).
- Vacuum couch.
- Wipe out inside of trash cans.
- Collect trash on trash day.
- Make beds.
- Sweep porch or garage floor.
- Shake out rugs.
- Empty out one kitchen cupboard and wipe down the inside.
- Go through personal toys and pick out one that isn’t played with much. Give the toy to Goodwill so another child can enjoy it.
You’re the best judge of what will work in your home. Just remember that your focus should be on teaching your children to follow instructions and complete the chores. Try to be creative and make it fun!
I am 27 and I have been dating my older boyfriend for four years. He has a 15- year-old son from a previous marriage. His mother lives in another state.
My problem is that I feel like I am being taken advantage of by both my boyfriend and his son. His son is rude to me and does not have any responsibilities around the house. All he wants to do is play video games in his room.
Understandably, my boyfriend wants me to have a relationship with his son, but his son only converses with me when he wants something such as money, a ride or food. My boyfriend is starting to make me feel bad because his son does not want a true friendship with me.
I work and go to school full-time, yet when I go to their house I spend my precious free time cleaning and taking care of them. I am tired of the situation and feel unappreciated. Do I stay in the relationship or leave now? I’d like to stay, but things cannot continue this way.
You are correct that things must change. Instead of spending time cleaning their house, take time to plan a proposal of how this change will come about.
Start off with a positive point. Let them know that you would like to be part of their lives IF your role is that of a family member. You are not a maid. Then tell them that from your observations, the two of them do not act like a family. Follow up this observation with what you think constitutes a family:
- Families work together, dividing up chores around the house so the house is clean and orderly and laundry is done.
- Meals are cooked and the kitchen is cleaned on a regular basis.
- Family members show respect for one another by speaking appropriately and letting one another know where they are and when they will return.
- House rules exist and consequences are issued when the house rules are not followed.
- Families spend time together having fun. This does not have to cost money. Movie nights or game nights in the living room are easy options.
- Families support each other’s interests and are involved. This is as simple as talking at dinnertime about the 15-year-old’s day at school or attending one of his athletic events.
When you have finished describing these characteristics to them, ask them for their suggestions on how to create a family atmosphere. Then divide up the points, asking each person how he will contribute to executing the plan. Working as a family can begin immediately.
You are not a maid. The more you do, the less they will appreciate your efforts. You may not be your boyfriend’s son’s friend, but you can be a “teacher” who helps him understand what it means to be part of a family.
If they aren’t interested in your proposal, then you have a decision to make: Stay with them under the current conditions or say good-bye.
My 18-year-old daughter has “checked out” of life. She quit school in the tenth grade and is continuing her schooling via online courses. She does not have friends and shows no interest in making any. She sleeps most of the day and stays up late reading Internet blogs.
Her father and I were divorced 10 years ago, and she blames most everything on the divorce. I am remarried and have a second child who is 5 years old. My older daughter will have nothing to do with her half-sister and is rude to her.
I have suggested counseling, but she has declined. I have tried to help her get a job, make friends and sign up for more schooling. She lacks social skills and refuses to help around the house. I am afraid for her future.
Your daughter’s online schooling is an unnatural social setting for a teen. Without interaction with her peers, she is missing out on the discussions that teens share about preparing for their future and transitioning into the next phase of life.
At 18, your daughter would typically have a job, be making plans for college, maybe considering entering the military or receiving training to enter the workforce.
She needs responsibilities and chores around the house. Put her in charge of preparing the family’s evening meal once a week. Make the Internet and other electronic communication off-limits for the entire family at a certain time of the day. Help her become more adapted to normal work and school schedules. Have her explore viable job options. Insist that she get this vital experience while you are still supporting her. She cannot wait until she is out on her own and financially responsible for herself.
Your daughter can decline counseling if she can prove that she does not need it. So, let her know what she is required to do to prove her normalcy and if she does not comply, ensure that she attend counseling sessions. This is not optional.
I recently caught my 18-year-old daughter in a lie. She took something out of my room without permission and was going to let her younger siblings take the blame. When it became clear to me that she was the one who took the item, I confronted her. She lied straight to my face; she had hidden the item in her book bag. What punishment should she receive for willfully lying and allowing someone else to take the blame? This is not the first time I have caught her lying to me.
Lying can become a habit if it is not addressed. In your daughter’s case, there are multiple behaviors that need to be addressed: stealing, lying and shirking responsibility.
Specifically address each one by issuing a consequence for each infraction. Try to make the consequence fit the individual behavior. For instance, as a result of stealing, your room is off-limits to her for a set amount of time. She can even lose a few of her own personal items. She needs to learn that lying breaks trust between her and others.
Have her prove that she is telling the truth – even when you know she is – for a week or two. Have her call and check more frequently when she is out. Have her show you that her homework is completed every night even when you know it is finished. Check her backpack every day when she comes home from school so you can look for items that do not belong to her.
Lastly, because she has tried to place blame on her siblings, have her pay restitution to them by apologizing – either verbally or in writing – and doing their chores around the house for a week or two.
My 13-year-old grandson lives with his grandfather and myself. He is completely out of control. He will not shower or maintain basic good hygiene. He refuses to do simple chores around the house. He has a foul mouth and calls us names I can’t even write down. We are in our 80s and are unable to physically control him. Is Boys Town willing to take him in?
Your grandson is struggling with out-of-control behaviors to the point where intervention is needed. If you have not done so already, have your grandson evaluated for mental health conditions. Has he had substance abuse treatment? Does he receive counseling, or is he on medication? Do you go to family counseling? Have you tried any special academic programs or day treatment programs?
It sounds like you want your grandson to be placed outside the home. It is important to exhaust all local resources before placing your son at Boys Town. There are documents you will need to gather before going through the admissions process. These are a psychological or psychiatric evaluation performed within the last six months by a psychologist or psychiatrist; pertinent school information such as transcripts, individualized educational plans and behavioral reports; and a letter from the youth explaining why he wants to come to Boys Town.
This letter needs to include at least one personal goal that he wants to work on while he is at Boys Town (anger issues, academics, coping skills, etc.). This letter usually is the most difficult thing to obtain because many kids do not want to be placed outside of their homes.
Explain what his alternatives are if he doesn’t participate in the program. Once you’ve sent in all the information, the process takes about 30 days if the youth qualifies. Visit our website at www.boystown.org to learn more about the residential program.
It is important that you take care of yourself at this difficult time. Do you have someone to offer support? Though we are not right there with you, we are here 24/7 to support you and your family. Call us anytime at 1-800-448-3000.
My boyfriend and I live together with his three children. I thought this situation was going well until his oldest daughter (age 10) started acting out against me. When I sat her down to discuss this, she told me that she hates me. How should I respond to this? Should I curtail my time at the house?
We are glad you talked with your boyfriend’s daughter about her behavior. For her to say she “hates you” as a reason for her behavior is not that simple. If she doesn’t like you in the home and hopes to instigate your leaving, this may be the purpose of her behavior. If she is jealous of the time and attention her father gives to you and wants more of his attention, this could be another cause of her behavior. If she would rather be living with her mother and is striving to frustrate her father into sending her to her mother’s, that may be the purpose of her acting out.
Every behavior has a function or purpose. Once you determine what her purpose is, it will be much easier to deal with her and make changes.
Does her father recognize the current situation, and is he attempting to stop it from happening? Are there consequences for her behavior? Have you and your boyfriend come up with some ideas on how to address and improve the current situation?
Being raised by one parent is hard on children. They often take on responsibilities that are not typically given to a child their age. At age 10, your boyfriend’s daughter may have placed herself in the role of the family caretaker to support her father’s efforts to keep a home and care for his children. She may see you as someone who is threatening this role. She will fight to protect it.
If you can provide a little more information on her acting out, including concrete examples of her misbehavior for instance, we can offer you suggestions and strategies to improve the behavior and the overall situation in the home.
My 10-year-old son found $80 in the bushes in a parking lot. Should we have allowed him to keep the total sum? With strong urging, I convinced him to purchase $25 worth of goods for the local food pantry. Should he share some of the money with his sisters? What lessons can be effectively taught to a 10-year-old? How do I best respond to this situation?
I admire your desire to raise a socially conscious and responsible child. There are several ways to answer this question. Here is one option: You can encourage your child to divide the sum into three amounts: one for charity, one for savings and one for spending. This division of money provides a valuable lesson in giving to those in need, responsibility and enjoying your luck.
Another option is to share it with your other children, and then discuss why this is important. You sound like a very conscientious parent who will take advantage of opportunities to help your children grow and learn.
I am a single parent. My 12-year-old daughter does not have any boundaries at my ex-wife’s house. She is permitted to stay home by herself with no one checking on her. Additionally, she is home alone in the evenings when I pick her up since her mom doesn’t come home.
Because there is little accountability at her mother’s house, she likes to challenge my rules and boundaries. This is especially true when it comes to the use of technology and Facebook.
My fiancé and I have observed very reckless behavior when it comes to my daughter’s Facebook usage when she is not under our care. I approached my ex-wife with my concerns and asked if we could establish consistency between our two homes in how we handle technology use. My ex-wife responded that she is too busy to follow her on Facebook, but that she would talk to our daughter. She then proceeded to shame me for dragging our daughter into the middle of it.
What can my fiancé and I do? We will be raising five children together, and we want to do everything to provide a safe and healthy environment for them. We want them to be successful in life, and we are aware that it will take strength of character to swim against the current of my ex-wife’s household.
Having a child who is parented with two completely different sets of expectations is difficult for the parents and child alike. The only thing you can do is make your expectations very clear, and back them up with many good “kid” reasons. These are reasons that show your daughter the benefits of doing things according to your expectations. She has to be able to relate to these reasons and see how they fit into her world.
Along with expectations, establish consequences that are consistently used when she does not meet your expectations. These are privileges like cell phone use, going out with friends and watching TV. If she does not meet your expectations, consistently assign negative consequences, such as the loss of a privilege or an added chore.
This type of structure teaches young people responsibility and good decision- making skills. Pre-teaching will also help ensure your daughter’s success. Use her reckless Facebook use as an example. Before she goes to her mother’s, talk to her about her recent Facebook activity that you deem is reckless and how it could be dangerous or have damaging results for her. See if she can think of what possible negative things could result from her Facebook activity. Then talk to her about more appropriate postings that would not put her at risk or give others a negative impression of her.
Let her know that you will be doing whatever is necessary to keep her safe. Continual monitoring of electronic communication, including her cell phone, e-mail and Facebook will take place. There are very strict laws in some states about “sexting,” as well as large costs for being involved in that activity. Assure her that she should report it to you if and when she receives anything that could be considered sexual in content.
Talk to her about the responsibility that accompanies electronic communication. If a good level of responsibility is not demonstrated, that privilege can be lost, whether the behavior occurs while she is with you in your home or elsewhere. Location has nothing to do with whether she makes good decisions or not.
This approach, if used calmly and consistently at a neutral time, will have great benefits for your children and you and your fiancé.
I am having serious problems with my 16-year-old son. He is lazy, sleeping all day and staying out with his friends until all hours of the night. He disregards the rules I set for the household. The most worrisome is that he has been caught stealing from family and friends and even a store on several occasions.
Most recently, he and his friend (age 18) were accused of stealing cash from a neighborhood girl’s purse. She and her father brought this to my attention that evening. At the same time, my daughter (age 13) discovered that cash was missing from her wallet.
My son denies that he took the money, but I don’t believe him. He has offered to reimburse my daughter and neighbor out of his lawn-mowing money. He says he is doing this not because he is guilty but because he wants to save the relationships. The neighborhood girl’s sister has been caught stealing before and had access to the purse and my daughter’s wallet, so maybe my son is innocent. I just don’t know.
He has been diagnosed with ADD and Narcissus Complex, and he has been seeing a psychiatrist for three years. I see little progress, if any. I don’t know what to do. I am a single mother with a full-time job. I can’t even enforce my own rules because I am never home. I am so disappointed and frustrated with my son.
Parenting is a difficult job, and you are doing it alone. Who do you have to support you emotionally? Of course you feel frustrated and disappointed. Your son could be a tremendous help to you and shoulder some of the responsibility, but he is doing just the opposite.
Have the police been made aware of his stealing and curfew violations? You will be held responsible if anything bad happens to him while he is out of your home beyond curfew or anytime he leaves without permission. Don’t risk being charged with neglect. Call the police and report that he is missing. You can indicate that he was supposed to be in by 10 p.m. – or whenever his curfew is – and he was not in by then. You need to have it on record that you called in to report him missing.
Every time he steals and does not suffer a consequence, his interpretation is that he is “slick.” The behavior will likely continue and possibly increase.
If he is scheduled to appear in court for his theft charges, perhaps he will be required to attend a diversion program to work through his problem. If not, there are programs available in our area that may be helpful.
One particular program is at the Tamarack Center. This center has a daytime treatment program for behaviorally disturbed youth.
Another option is Catholic Community Services, which has an Integrated Family Preservation program. The staff would come to your home and coach you on your parenting issues. They might also try to connect you with services in your community for support. The number to call is 800-566-9053. If you need support for yourself, we can help you find an experienced counselor.
My daughter’s friend of 10 years appears to have stolen an old cell phone of ours. After weeks of trying to get it back, my daughter’s friend finally returned it. I tried to teach both girls a lesson about responsibility by not allowing the friend to come to my daughter’s birthday party. I confronted the mother about this and asked if we could sit down with the girls and talk about it. I was told yes but it never happened. It's been three months since it happened and my daughter hasn’t seen her friend. My daughter is still very upset, she misses her friend. I feel like it is my fault for ending the relationship.
The fact that you are trying to teach both girls a responsibility lesson is great. But remember, you only have control over teaching your own daughter, not the other child. It sounds like you have already taken the time to talk with your daughter about what her friend did and why that wasn't appropriate. Good job!
It's understandable that you wouldn't want the girl back in your house but you feel stuck because your daughter is really missing the friendship. Talk with your daughter about what important friendship qualities are and let her make the decision if she feels this friend is a good friend or not. Then if she makes the decision to continue her friendship, teach her how to be assertive with her friend if a situation like that should arise again. Talk about things they can do to rebuild trust in their friendship and how setting boundaries might be appropriate until the trust is back.