Summer Chores For Kids

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When school is out and summer weather has settled in, do your kids have enough to do? Summer chores help kids fill in the gaps between fun summer activities.

Why Summer Chores?

Giving kids summer jobs offers them as many benefits as it does you. Here are just a few:

  • Self-esteem: Kids feel good about themselves when they're feeling competent and useful.
  • Social responsibility: Chores help kids understand the importance of helping others and being part of a team.
  • Good work ethic: Regular chores instill good work habits and a sense of pride in doing things right.
  • Time management skills: When kids have responsibility, they have to learn to manage their time to complete chores and still be able to swim, go to the beach or mall and spend time with friends.
  • Smoother transition into adulthood: Since all adults have to be responsible, complete tasks and manage their time effectively, kids who have had chores will be ahead of the game.

Starting Early

Even the youngest children can help out during summertime! And since kids in this age group look up to adults and want to imitate them, they're especially motivated to take on chores. These summer jobs are just right for beginner-level helpers and still appropriate for older kids:

  • Setting the BBQ table: Give your child the responsibility of carrying out non-breakable dishes, silver and napkins and setting the table for your backyard meals. They can also carry out condiments in plastic containers and some food items.
  • Clearing the BBQ table: Young kids can bring plates and leftovers back inside after an outdoor meal. Preschool aged kids might only be able to stack things on the table, while older kids could be responsible for putting everything away and getting dishes into the sink or dishwasher.
  • Composting: Let kids bring scraps to your compost bin and stir the compost.
  • Weeding: Give your child the responsibility of pulling weeds once a week. You'll have to supervise your little ones to make sure they know the difference between weeds and plants you want, of course. Your time investment will be rewarded as your child grows older and is able to take care of this job independently.
  • Watering: Very young children can handle the responsibility of watering a small area of your garden, perhaps a single flowerbed. Assign them their own special area to water with a small watering can. As they get older, kids can water larger areas with a hose or be responsible for turning on and off sprinklers.
  • Summer toy cleanup: At the end of a fun day of playing, give little ones the job of putting away all the summer toys that have accumulated on your lawn and in your pool. Having a large outdoor bin for toys makes this job manageable for even the youngest children.

summer chores for kids

Summer Chores for School-Aged Kids

As your kids get a little older, they'll be able to handle some slightly more involved chores. These jobs are perfect for school aged kids, and can be continued as kids enter their teen years:

  • Washing the car: At first they'll just be able to help out, but eventually kids can wash family cars independently.
  • Mowing the lawn: Mature kids can safely learn to use the lawn mower by middle-school age.
  • Pet care: Long, warm summer days are just right for getting your child accustomed to the responsibility of pet care. Give your child the job of daily dog walking, changing the cat's litter box, washing pet dishes and feeding your pet.
  • Washing windows: Let school age kids help bring in the sparkle of the summer sun by washing the insides of windows with non-toxic spray cleaner. As they get older, they will be able to safely clean the outsides of some windows as well.
  • Pool maintenance: School aged kids can be responsible for skimming the pool daily, as well as covering it. When they are teenagers, responsibility might grow to include checking Ph and adding pool chemicals. Just be sure to never give pool related tasks to a child who can’t swim.
  • Trimming the hedges: Mature middle-school aged children will be ready to take on the job of trimming hedges and other foliage.
  • Deck/porch/patio cleanup: Let school aged kids begin sweeping the deck, porch or patio, wiping down outdoor furniture and covering furniture at night.
  • Garden work: Kids can plant flowers or veggies, and help pick vegetables when they're ripe.

Summer Chores for Teens

Teenagers and very mature kids are ready for summer chores with extra responsibility. Here are a few your kids might want to try:

  • Babysitting: With school out for summer, teens make great babysitters for younger siblings while you're at work.
  • Shopping: Let teens begin to take responsibility for grocery shopping if they are old enough to drive.
  • Lifeguarding: Teens who are excellent swimmers and certified in lifeguarding skills will be able to watch younger kids in your pool when you can't.
  • Transporting: Responsible teen drivers can take younger siblings to summer activities or to friend's houses.

Motivating Your Kids

All the benefits of summer chores are lost if kids resent their jobs. To keep morale up:

  • Stress that chores are part of being a family team, and not some kind of punishment.
  • Keep things fun! Let kids play their favorite music when working and work along side them rather than standing over them.
  • Show genuine appreciation for your kids' help and praise their good work.
  • When kids make mistakes, avoid harsh criticism and gently guide them to learn chores correctly.

When you find summer chores that fit your kids' skills, maturity and personalities, you'll be giving them a great start in life as well as getting extra help you need.

Last Updated: June 7, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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