Are Your Kids Too Young For Chores? (Spoiler Alert: Nope!)

Everyone in the family contributes to creating the mess, so why are we as parents so quick to take on the task of tidying it all up on our own? From washing the dishes, to folding the laundry, to vacuuming and sweeping the floors, the household chores should be shared, and if you think your child may be too young to chip in – think again.

Kids Chores

While it may seem easier to do it yourself than to encourage your children to help out around the house, there are actually many benefits associated with giving your children chores. It teaches them accountability, responsibility, and independence. It teaches them how to cooperate, participate as a family, and it equips them with important life skills that will help them to succeed in the future. Plus, more helping hands equals a cleaner house – quicker!

To help you get started, here are some chores you can assign to your children based on age:*

Chores for children ages 2 to 3:

  • Put toys away
  • Fill pet’s food dish
  • Put clothes in hamper
  • Wipe up spills
  • Dust
  • Pile books and magazines

Related: How To Encourage Your Kids To Enjoy Reading

Chores for children ages 4 to 5:

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Make their bed
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Bring in mail or newspaper
  • Clear table
  • Pull weeds, if you have a garden
  • Use hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
  • Water flowers
  • Unload utensils from dishwasher
  • Wash plastic dishes at sink
  • Fix bowl of cereal

Chores for children ages 6 to 7:

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Sort laundry
  • Sweep floors
  • Set and clear table
  • Help make and pack lunch
  • Weed and rake leaves
  • Keep bedroom tidy

Kids Chores

Chores for children ages 8 to 9:

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Load dishwasher
  • Put away groceries
  • Vacuum
  • Help make dinner
  • Make own snacks
  • Wash table after meals
  • Put away own laundry
  • Sew buttons
  • Make own breakfast
  • Peel vegetables
  • Cook simple foods, such as toast
  • Mop floor
  • Take pet for a walk

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Unload dishwasher
  • Fold laundry
  • Clean bathroom
  • Wash windows
  • Wash car
  • Cook simple meal with supervision
  • Iron clothes
  • Do laundry
  • Baby-sit younger siblings (with adult in the home)
  • Clean kitchen
  • Change their bed sheets

* Source: WebMD Divide and Conquer Household Chores

Some parents choose to reward their children with an allowance for completing their chores, while others make chores mandatory for every member of the family. Regardless of how you choose to do it, it’s time to start getting them to chip in now,  so cleaning can become less of a one-person chore, and your family can enjoy the benefits of a cleaner, happier home.

Our latest issue is all about education, including stories on how to beat the homework battle with your kids featuring some great tips from contributor Michele Kambolis. Pick up a copy at a location near you, or read the full issue online now!

Parenting Support to Help Children with ADHD

Childhood friendships can have a significant influence on the rest of our lives. In addition to their sentimental value, these early peer relationships are crucial for feeling comfort and companionship as well as learning valuable social skills, such as sharing and compromising. However, building friendships may not come naturally for children with ADHD, and their parents need to know how to talk to their child about peer problems – and how to help them with social issues.

The UBC Peer Relationships in Childhood Lab, directed by Dr. Amori Mikami, is offering a free parenting group for families of children (6-11 years old) who have diagnosed or suspected ADHD/ADD and poor social skills. Parents have the chance to learn about social problems and how to help their child build friendships.

Families of children with ADHD receive 10 weeks of parenting support groups. The purpose of the groups is to help parents learn more about their child’s ADHD and social problems, to receive support from other families experiencing the same concerns, and to help parents better handle these issues in their children. Groups meet weekly at a time that is convenient for parents. Groups are held at the Vancouver Coastal Health Sunrise site (2750 Hastings Street, East Vancouver), and free childcare is provided. Families from all areas are welcome, and participating families receive money for completing study measures.

For more information, please contact the UBC Peer Relationships in Childhood Lab at 604‐822‐8756, peerlab@psych.ubc.ca or peerlab.psych.ubc.ca.

Pre-school vs. Daycare: Which is right for you?


Article by:  Kimberly Fowler and Melissa Martz for OurKids.net, Canada’s trusted source for camps and schools.

For many working Vancouver families and single parents third party childcare is a necessity and daycare is often seen as the only realistic option. Many of these same parents are astonished when they discover that private preschool is just as available to them. Even busy, stay-at-home parents are realizing that preschool can provide their children with a wealth of advantages over regular daycare.

Preschool costs the same

Although the benefits of preschool are far-reaching, parents usually reject the idea in favour of the “lesser costs” traditionally associated with daycare. However, experts note that paying tuition for early childhood education instead of the hourly daycare rate is either about the same cost or sometimes even cheaper!

According to the 2013 report, You Bet We Care: A Survey of Centre-Based Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada, the Canada-wide median monthly fee at a full-time centre for toddler care is $696, or $674 for preschool care. However, because of the wide provincial range in costs, 25 per cent of monthly fees were higher: for toddlers $902 or higher, and for preschool aged children $816 or higher.

Median monthly fees for families in British Columbia were similar: $1,047 for infants, $907 for toddlers and $761 for preschool.

Examples of private preschools in Vancouver such as Collingwood School, Crofton House School, and North Star Montessori Elementary School have nursery and preschool programs with monthly tuition costs ranging between $566 and $1,485.

A variety of financial assistance options are also available to help pay for private pre-school such as support from the school itself, local community programs and sibling discounts.

What’s the difference?

Young children who attend private or independent preschool have a more hands-on learning environment and are introduced to many educational topics. This is a very different approach to many day-care centres where the focus is simply to provide care and opportunities for play. 

Why pre-school?

Private preschool dispels the myths that children don’t like to learn, and that ECE will rob them of their sense of play. In fact, preschool starts toddlers on a path to lifelong learning through a variety of techniques “disguised” as play and can help cultivate the linguistic, logical and social skills needed for success in later school experiences through play! Preschool also develops emotional intelligence, encouraging responsibility and self-expression. But the advantages of private pre-school even go beyond the exceptional learning environment, including:

  • Flexible schedules and after and before school care to meet your needs
  • A highly secure and safe setting for children
  • Small class sizes, ensuring that children feel secure away from home and allowing them to make friends easier, grow in self-confidence and develop a positive attitude towards authority.

Private preschool is also a great way for parents to test out Montessori school, Christian school or any other private school and gauge if it is right for their child. Experts also insist that it is best to start private education early in order to foster learning in a child’s developing stage. Often, this “trial run” will not only provide children with a mental and social advantage, but also give them an edge when gaining acceptance into elementary programs.

What to look for, what to ask

The cost and type of childcare varies greatly depending on your location. Contact day-care centres and private schools in your area for accurate fees and care options. When evaluating the pros and costs of your childcare options, make sure to ask the following questions:

  • What is the school’s educational philosophy?
  • What is the school’s reputation?
  • Are meals and snacks provided? If so, are they included in the fees?
  • Is transportation (i.e. school bus) to and from school included in the fees?
  • Does the fee cover the entire year, or just the school year? Are March break and summer programs offered?
  • Is there an extra cost for before- and after-school care? Can the school work within your schedule? What is the fee for picking your child up late?
  • Will you have to pay for care when your child doesn’t attend school on holidays, when they are ill or on a family vacation?
  • Are there any school trips materials, uniforms or other subsequent costs you will need to add to the regular fees you will pay?

Give your kids the best school experience this year. Meet with private preschools across the country this fall at the Our Kids Vancouver Private School Expo: http://www.ourkids.net/expo/vancouver-expo.php

Guest Post: Surviving 68 Days of Hard Labour (aka Summer Vacation)

Image © Hixson | Dreamstime.com

(This is a letter from one of our readers we thought you all might enjoy and relate to. We know we did! ~ WCF team)

From One Burnt-out Mom to Another

School is back in session (!) and I for one am proud that my family and I are still alive to see it. Surviving 68 days of summer vacation was a challenge, to say the least.

Most days of “vacation” went a little something like this…It’s 8:17 pm and I have put my boys in the small room they share in our East Vancouver apartment. My husband is, of course, at work, where he animates video games, but more importantly, gets to enjoy conversing with adults 60 hours a week. Because I am a stay-at-home mom, I bask in the bevy of luxuries associated with raising two boys, who this month will turn six and eight years of age.

The older one has ADHD. He wakes up vibrating and shouts as if he is Sam Kinison on fire. Just now he put a pushpin on the end of a Nerf Gun “bullet” (sharp side out) and was threatening to shoot his little brother with it. His medication has worn off and when that happens he gets evil ideas. An added bonus: the medication also prevents him from going to sleep at a normal hour so his little brother and I get to savour the joys of ADHD.

The little one is no angel either. His life appears to be a series of minor accidents and injuries, which he responds to with off-Broadway melodramatics. I must go through a carton of band-aids a week, which I hold at the ready in my purse. The only other thing I go through as quickly is red wine. His voice can reach a unique decibel that penetrates my ear canal and goes straight to my brain’s panic centre. This is why I have begun to wear earplugs at home.

I am a 44-year-old peri-menopausal woman who, like many of my peers, had kids in my late thirties. It seemed like a good idea at the time. In hindsight however, I should have predicted the collision of my pissed-off hormones and the “rambunctious” energy of two boys under eight. I have no patience anymore, no sense of humour, no joie de vivre. Some amateurs call it “Motherhood Burn-out.” Now that I have lived through eight long summers with my boy(s), I can honestly say that I don’t think it is natural or healthy for an adult to spend this much time with children. This is why I have already booked multiple summer camps for 2012!

At this juncture in my life, I actually daydream about having a job. A job outside this house. Any job. Any job with lots and lots of hours. And grown-ups. And no kids! A job that I would be paid for and thanked for and, maybe even… respected for. I would get a lunch break where I could actually sit alone in silence for a full hour! Perhaps even a job which would pay me to take a vacation! (Vacation defined as a leisurely adult trip without kids to take care of).

I am now checking out the job listings on Craig’s List and imagining what my updated resume would look like now after taking eight years off from the work force…

Objective: To get the f*%# out of my house and talk to grown ups!

  • Middle-aged, depressed, mom seeks missing identity (and a quiet position in serene adult office).
  • Has state of the art computer skills (from 2003).
  • Outspoken.
  • Dynamic (mood swings).
  • BA Degree in Communications (from before you were born).
  • Needs 4 pm nap and chocolate break.
  • Was smart and hip at one time.
  • Concise
  • No cleaning, cooking, nursing, teaching or wiping anyone’s ass.

Desired Hours: 7 am until just after the kids’ bedtime.

Did I mention that I am overjoyed that school is back in session…?

Lisa Doucette

Deuce4@shaw.ca

New Book: Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart

Can you imagine getting the “birds and bees” talk – complete with stick figure drawings – at age seven? What if you discovered your husband was cheating on you…when you were four months pregnant? How does it feel to learn the daughter you adopted 21 years ago wants to find her birth mom?

Just in time for the holidays, Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart: 28 True Stories of Love, Loss & Everything in Between answers these questions and more as writers take us on a personal journey into the relationships that shape our lives. With wit and humour, honesty and grace, these intriguing essayists—including two Canadians—dish on everything from families and lovers to influential life changers and pets.

Contributors to Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart came together through a professional community called Freelance Success. They are professional writers whose bylines appear in O: The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, the New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Newsweek, the Washington Post and countless other publications. Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart: 28 True Stories of Love, Loss & Everything in Between is available online via Amazon.ca, Chapters.Indigo.ca, as well as independent bookstores. SRP $21.00.