woman picking up dirty laundry and making a disgusted face while a child peaks out of the laundry pile

School Is Out and Summer Is In!

For most families with children, we understand that summertime brings many extra expenses that the school year helps us avoid such as:  summer camps, higher electric bills, grocery bills, utility bills, and more.  Our homes that were once vacant from August to June, from 7 am to 3 pm, are now filled with teenagers sleeping in…and not only your children but their friends touching every surface in your home that they can.  This is the time of year we really understand the patience of school teachers that watch over our children for 8 hours a day. However, they are watching over them in a confined space and now summertime freedom has children (and all that they come with) attacking every wall of our homes.

Let’s Take The Teacher Approach!

Every semester teachers create very defined plans to keep our children busy from roughly 7:45 am to 2:45 pm daily. Their plans are really goals that help our children become better than they were on the first day of school to the last day of school.  Progress cards and report cards help us all see this and we reward them for their awesome efforts.  School may be out but the defined plans can still be put to work.

Let’s make a plan!  Teach your children that they can earn a summer vacation, camp, or another extra summer activity if they help around the house – since they now have extra hours on their hands.  Put those extra hands to work for you!  

Of course not all ages can do the same tasks.  But, every child of every age can do something and it is good for them to start learning early and progress in their tasks as they grow.  This gives them a sense of pride and responsibility.  Let’s look at household chores by age groups.


Teens 13-17

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photo credit: David Reber’s Hammer Photography via photopinccTeenagers are old enough to handle chemical-free cleaning solutions.  Now is a perfect time to teach them the importance of taking care of their possessions and the space around them before they leave your nest and create their own.

  • Laundry – Teach with direction the steps in washing their clothes, towels, and bed sheets.
  • Cleaning their rooms on a more defined level – Instructions on cleaning under their beds and the importance of not having food items or containers in their room are good points. Showing them that bugs like food just as much as they do is a great way to scare them into throwing that bag of chips in the trash instead of under the bed!
  • Assign one common area to clean a week –  From the bathroom, living room, kitchen, lawn, to the garage….These are all rooms we all use on a regular basis.  Show them the importance of cleaning under things like the cushions and rugs as well as cleaning above things like the ceiling fans.  Once you assign a task and make sure they are doing it your way (and not their way) they will become more aware of throwing towels on the floor after a shower and leaving shoes in the living room.
  • Washing out trash cans both inside and out – How many times are we constantly reminding our teens to tie a knot in the trash bag so it doesn’t cause maggots and flies in the trash? Ew!  When they clean a nasty trash can out once they will be sure to tie that bag before they let it fly into the can next time! 

Pre-Teens 8-12

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photo credit: Alison Faith via photopincc

  • Unloading and loading the dishwasher –We shared a blog a few weeks back on the importance of loading and unloading of dishwashers. Click here to reread that important article to ensure your dishes are loaded properly by all members of your family.  Teach your pre-teens the importance of carefully loading items so they come out clean and sparkling.
  • Feed and wash pets – As much as our children love playing with their pets, they really don’t understand the clean-up process that goes into caring for them.  This is a great age to teach your children how much a pet relies on us for everything…food, water, exercise, hygiene, etc.
  • Dust your room – It’s never too early to teach a child to dust.  Dusting is one of the most detailed cleaning tasks of most homes. Assign a common room each week for your child to dust that does not contain breakables.  Teach them the importance of caring for their home’s items whether those items are in their room or not. 
  • Strip your sheets for washing and make your bed – This is usually the age that kids are choosing their own clothes and finding their own style.  The value of their decisions means so much to them.  When you teach them how to properly make their bed they will value the process more when the school year starts because it will become a summer habit.

4-7 Year Olds

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photo credit: theloushe via photopincc

This is the age range of the little helpers!  Children this age are most likely in camps or activities outside of the house – as if it were a school day.  Since they now don’t have homework assignments, you can assign them small tasks to help them feel that they are your little helpers.

  • Place all toys back in your room at the end of each day.
  • Bring napkins to the table for everyone at dinner.
  • Help put away light grocery items and learn the assigned shelf or area for items… especially their snack shelf items. 

It’s never too early to teach our children the importance in the value of our homes’ items.  Summertime gets busy for every household member.  Assign tasks to see progress in your children’s caring behavior for their personal spaces.