Foster kids need a sense of belonging (and Momma needs some help!), so I think it’s absolutely acceptable and beneficial to everyone to assign kiddos chores, tasks, ways to help, whatever your family calls them. Kids want to be included, they want to feel proud and accomplished, they want to spend time with you, and learning a sense of responsibility or helping others is extremely important and can be introduced early. Each family may handle it differently, some will assign daily consistent chores, some weekly, sometimes there will be allowance attached or not, or sometimes it’s just whatever mom asks you to do to help out the household. We kind of fall into the “all of the above” category.
Now, each kid will have their own abilities regarding chores, one 2 year old (previous kiddo we had) might be able to fold wash cloths while another 2 year old (my current kiddo) will run off with it while chewing on it. And, of course, ALWAYS have proper supervision with chores! In the chart I created I have helping with meals for every age kiddo, but obviously their tasks doing so will change as they grow. (And, obviously, I’m not saying give your kids ALL of these chores all the time! Use this as a guide or to give ideas. YMMV in your home with your kids. Especially as foster kids, you may have to consider their adjusted age.) Our 2 year old can pour, mix, sometimes crack an egg and might get most of the egg in the bowl, while the 5 year old can measure and cut with butter knives (with supervision.) An 11 year old might be able to handle cooking the entire meal with a recipe or may have to be taught how to even turn on the stove safely. Things may be different in your household depending on many factors. Please take these suggestions as just suggestions and always be safe and supervise as needed.
We might have daily things, like cleaning their bedroom, weekly things like emptying the recycling, or just random things that the household needs. Because we all live here, we all chip in. (Funny story, on a recent Saturday, I told the household, we need to get cleaning today, there were too many toys around, clutter on countertops, always crumbs on the floor, etc. The 5 year old asked, “who’s coming today?” Oh geez. Honey, we don’t clean just when people come over…although I admit, and am willing to bet, most people are guilty of that too!)
Giving allowance is required by our agency, but it’s to our discretion how it’s handled in regards to chores. Some may deduct from the allowance for chores not completed, but honestly, in our house, there’s no option to not complete a chore. If they have to cook supper twice a week, by the end of the week, they need to have it done. They can’t just choose to not do it and have a deduction on allowance. (We might need to remind them that it’s Thursday and it hasn’t been done yet, so there is no choice but to do it Thursday and Friday nights. Sorry, that fun thing you wanted to do Friday night won’t happen until the meal is done, even if that fun thing was going out to eat with friends. It helps them to plan ahead and be responsible. Now we will give reminders throughout the week if they need help, or if it’s not working that’s when we’ll just assign days.) It’s always a fluid thing, life changes, things come up, schedules change, so you do need to be flexible and adjust when something isn’t working. In the past we’ve had a teen who had a part time job, she needed to plan ahead for what days she cooked because suddenly she’d get called into work on a Friday and needed the extra money (we allowed her to do it Saturday instead). When that happened more than once we said the chore had to be scheduled to be done before Thursday so there was an extra day to cover in case something came up again. You’re always adjusting things…but it’s ok. When things are smooth sailing, it makes me wonder what I’m forgetting!
What are other chores I may have missed? How does it work in your home? We’d love to hear from you, your experiences or suggestions! Leave a comment!