Homestead Chores for Kids
Living off the land brings with it a lot of hard work. This means that everyone in the family will need to pitch in. Whether it is your toddler or your teenager, there is always something children can do to lend a helping hand. In this blog, I, Matthew Davies, and going to cover the basic chores that kids can do to help you and your family on the homestead. Note that while I will be classifying chores by age group, any task listed can be completed by a child in that age group or older.
Ages 1.5 – 3
Children in the infant and toddler set love to spend their time exploring the new and exciting world around them. During these early years when they are learning to walk and then gaining increasing mobility, they can grasp other skills in the process. Remember, when assigning chores to this age group, they will need supervision from either a parent or an older sibling.
Children this age can be tasked with any of the following chores:
- Collecting eggs
- Picking up sticks or rocks that are in the garden
- Harvesting the garden (make sure you are having them pick vegetables that are relatively easy to pick
- Use scoops to fill the feeders (I would not suggest feeders of the larger animals, but chickens should be fed regularly and that task is completely doable by this age group)
- Fill water buckets
- Brush smaller animals
Ages 4 – 5
Once your kids have reached this age, they are a little better on their feet. They will want to branch out a bit to show you what they can do. At this point, you can task them with jobs that require much less direct supervision. Just know that the job may not be done the first time correctly. Once the job is complete, check it out. If done incorrectly, take a few minutes to explain to the child how they could do a better job in the future. If they did some parts of the job well, make sure you mention that as well. Too much criticism will make them not want to do any of the chores you task them with.
Here are some jobs that can be assigned to this age group:
- Water all the plants
- Gather wood that has been felled and split. Have them take it to someone to stack it for them.
- Sweep (porches, kitchens, any flat surface that needs it, honestly)
- Clean and store collected eggs
- Give bottles to baby animals
- Harvest the gardens
- Help with baking bread or other baked goods
- Plant seeds in the garden
- Help hang laundry by giving the person hanging it some clothespins
- Open the chicken coops in the morning
- Check on small animals and report back any issues they find
Ages 6 – 9
This is the age where your kids will have a lot of independence. They will likely want to prove to you that they are as capable as their older counterparts at completing chores. Make sure that you give them all the details of the job upfront, and the job should be completed as requested. This does not mean that you shouldn’t verify it was, but you will want to check their work incognito so that they don’t think you’re questioning their abilities. All supervision should be done at a safe distance.
The list of chores elementary aged kids can perform is as follows:
- Learn how to milk smaller livestock (e.g., goats)
- Take care of a garden by themselves
- Learn how to candle eggs
- Feed scraps to the animals
- Rake leaves
- Wash, dry, and deliver clean laundry
- Clean any litter boxes you may have
- Weed the garden
- Empty the trash
- Assist in the birthing process of smaller livestock
- Wash the dishes by hand
- Load or unload the dishwasher
- Wash the windows
Ages 10 – 12
Kids at this age often try very hard to garner your approval. However, as they are beginning to have other interests like hanging out with friends, you may find that they occasionally produce subpar work. Be sure to correct them early on, letting them know from the start what’s expected. Chores at this age are much more critical; that is, they can’t go undone. You will need them to understand that the decisions they make could affect the family as a whole. For example, if they fail to medicate the animals, livestock may die. This can mean not enough food on the plate for everyone or the inability to sell it at the farmer’s market.
That being said, here is a list of chores they should be able to manage:
- Medicate or worm animals
- Care for baby chicks
- Trim hooves
- Clean out the work vehicles
- Bathe animals
- Organize and put away all tools
- Milk animals
Once your kids have reached this age, they will be capable of handling any task as well as any adult. Of course, there are some exceptions, but for the most part, that statement is true.
There isn’t much you can’t assign this age group to do, but a shortlist is below:
- Help with beekeeping
- Mow the yard
- Load and unload the hay or grain
- Move the livestock from pasture to pasture
- Assist with fence repairs
- Wash cars
- Clean the house
- Weed eat properly
- Clean out the stables, hutches, and coops
- Maintain farm equipment
Conclusion There are endless chores that must be done daily on a homestead. When you enlist your kids to help as I, Matthew Davies, recommend, your kids will grow up to become well-rounded, hard workers. Homesteaders like me choose to homeschool our kids. Having practical skills they can take with them into the future is something most city kids don’t get. I hope that you have found my list to help determine what your kids can and cannot do at specific ages.