Building and living in a homestead is not always easy. Having a helping hand goes a long way to maintaining a well-run home. If you have kids in the home, you have your own built in workforce ready for action. You just have to train them. It gives them something to do and teaches them about responsibility.
Kids between the ages of 3 and 6 do most chores while supervised by a parent. This can include harvesting from gardens, gathering eggs and helping with the cooking. From ages 6 and up they can start accomplishing chores on their own.
Kids need to grow into their responsibilities and we should be responsible in the way we set chores out for them. We want our kids to help while staying safe. Raising your kids on a homestead is a great way for them to grow into a responsible adult.
We are about to run through an in-depth list of chores for each age group. This is not a list of all the chores your kids should be responsible for at once, but rather, suggestions as to what is ok for them to do.
Homestead Chores For Kids Ages 2-3
This is the best age for kids to start building a routine. The chores that are given to them should be relatively easy and should be done while being supervised. If your kid seems to be struggling, don’t worry about easing up on the chores. Here is a small list of chores for kids aged 2-3:
- Harvest eggs
- Harvest produce
- Pick up rubbish
- Help Brush Animals
- Pick up rocks
- Tool helper
Harvesting Eggs and Produce
This is a good time to start showing them how to identify whether or not eggs are good for harvesting. Your little one can be in charge of the basket that the eggs are placed into and can help gather the eggs from the nest box to the basket.
You can also start showing them what makes certain produce ready to be harvested at certain times. Show them how to harvest a tomato without destroying the plant. You may lose a plant or two, but just think about all the learning going on!
Brushing The Animals
This is also a good time to start making your kids comfortable around the animals. Start by teaching your kids how to be gentle with the animals while brushing them.
This is a natural activity for kids. Most kids will be eager to get out and play with the animals. While the kids brush the animals, be it goats, sheep, cow or horse, you can begin to make them aware of possible issues with the animal, skin growths, overgrown toenails, etc.
While you’re at it, maybe try having your little one take the animals out for a walk. This really builds a connection with the two and a sense of pride in the child.
Turning your child into a tool helper is a great way to allow your little one to engage in a project you are working on but not get too much in the way. You can slowly teach them tool identification as you enlist their help in getting you that tool you need.
When my kids were 3, they would come out and help me on the car. I’d be changing the oil and ask them for a socket wrench or a vice grip and over time they learned what those tools were. I know 20 year olds who don’t know what a phillips screwdriver is. This kind of knowledge is vital.
Each chore in this small list is geared towards achieving the things mentioned above. Showing your kids the why and the how. Also getting them comfortable with things.
Homestead Chores For Kids Ages 4-5
Your kids are now getting older, they require less attention from you and can start helping out with more chores around the homestead. Sounds great. You should bear in mind that if you are introducing them to new chores, they should still be supervised. Here is a small list of chores for kids aged 4 to 5:
- Collect and clean eggs by themselves
- ID and Harvest from the garden on their own
- Help Cook
- Sweep up
- Keep a close watch on livestock for issues
- Transplant plant starts
- Water plants
- Help measure and make marks when building
- Spray compost tea
- Feed and harvest from worm bins
Collect and Clean Eggs and Produce On Their Own
Your kids have learned how to harvest eggs and produce. They should be comfortable doing this on their own. If not, that is completely fine, keep supervising until necessary.
Keep A Close Watch On The Livestock For Issues
They should have learned a lot about and become more comfortable with the livestock. Hopefully, you have taught them what to look out for when watching the animals. If not, now is a good time.
Transplanting Plants, Watering Plants, and Spraying Compost Tea
Transplanting plants starts, spraying compost tea, and watering the plants is a great way to build up for the next age group. This can be a time to relax for the kids, we all know that watering the garden can be very soothing and therapeutic.
Be sure to guide them on how to water. When making compost tea, have them mix the ingredients. It is tricky getting them to do a good job with it though. Plan on finishing the job yourself.
When it comes to transplanting, you’re going to lose a few. Stay calm. This is a good time to teach your wild one how to be gentle when planting a baby plant into the ground. Once they get comfortable transplanting plants, you will be able to use this time to relax a little bit.
Help With The Cooking
For inside the kitchen, teaching your kids how to help with the cooking is very important. You can start by showing them how to make measurements and how to use certain tools. Also, teach them about safety in the kitchen.
Easy recipes for them to work on are eggs, pasta and helping you make bread. Kids love to learn how to cook what they already love to eat.
For sweeping up, there isn’t much to teach. I do like to encourage pride in their work. If they say they’re done and the pace still looks messy, ask them if they felt they did a good job. For the first few times, you may have to show them what a good job looks like.
Help With Building Projects
I’m always building something. I like to get the kids involved by getting them to help me out with tool retrieval and by helping me measure. This gives them a job to do that doesn’t get too much in your way and it also begins to introduce mathematical concepts.
Homestead Chores For Kids Ages 6-9
When kids are around 6 to 9, they are at their cutest. If you’ve done your job right the first few years, kids this age tend to want to help their parents around the house. It is the age where they start wanting to feel appreciated. If they have grown up doing chores, they will have a clear grasp on what to do.
Here is a list of chores for kids aged 6 to 9:
- Milk smaller livestock, goats, sheep, etc
- Do Laundry Solo
- Start their own garden area
- Feed animals
- Help with animal butchering
- Help with oil changes on the car
- Wash & clean out the car
- Take out trash
- Do dishes
- Weed garden beds solo
- Help screw or hammer nails on building projects
As you can see, the chores are becoming a little bit more advanced. If your kids are just starting at this age, you should have no problem teaching them this stuff at all. They should grasp everything pretty quickly.
Your kids should be comfortable enough with the livestock that they can milk the smaller livestock and feed the animals. They might seem squirmish or nervous at first but you can just show them that it is safe and natural.
Kids can continue to care for the animals but now might be a good time to show them how to prepare the animals. You might need to gently explain the circle of life and how the food chain works.
Starting Their Own Garden Area
We have spent a lot of time showing the kids how to transplant plants, plant seed, water the garden, use compost, and harvest the gardens. Now it is time for them to start taking care of their own garden. This will give your kids a sense of accomplishment every time they harvest from it.
Laundry and Trash
Doing laundry and taking out the trash are two of the most common house chores for not just kids but adults as well. Getting them to help you with this will free up some time for you to focus on more important things. Things like home maintenance which leads to our next section.
Again, this should be supervised at all times during this age but your kids can start helping with building projects and maintenance. Start off with using a screwdriver and work your way up to hammers.
I like to pre screw or nail certain areas and have the kids finish those spots up. This is a great way for them to build proficiency using a drill or a hammer.
Help With The Car
This is a great age for kids to start learning about the car. They can start by cleaning it out and helping with small things like oil changes or adding air into tires. Hopefully they have already been helping with tool retrieval.
It is best to supervise this in the beginning. I like to show how to do something, help them do it, then have them teach me how to do it. That is when I know they have proficiency. Helping with the car is stereotypically for boys but your girls can do just as good a job as the boys.
Homestead Chores For Kids Ages 10-13
This age group is still good if your kids are only starting out with chores. Teaching them a routine might be a bit more challenging but actual tasks should be a breeze. You won’t have to keep explaining every little thing in detail.
If your kids have been doing the chores mentioned above, this will be where they start handling bigger machinery and taking on a considerable amount of responsibility. Here is a list of chores for kids aged 10 to 13:
- Mow the lawn solo
- Maintain garden on their own
- Care for animals
- Complete oil change and lube on car
- Care for baby chicks
- Help with maintaining farm equipment & tool storage
- Trim hooves
- Harvest chickens or other small livestock for meat
- Set pest traps around the homestead
- Make cuts on building projects
- Prune trees
Maintain Gardens, Mow the Lawn, and Prune Trees
At this age group, our little ones are not so little anymore. They can start doing things more efficiently and with less supervision. Maintaining gardens and pruning the trees should be easy chores for them to do, assuming that they know how to safely handle pruning equipment.
Mowing the lawn will take some supervision at first. With the right protective gear, mowing the lawn is a great physical activity that will help develop the kids mentally and, of course, physically.
Caring and Taking Care Of The Animals
Your kids should by this stage be comfortable with raising chicks, harvesting chickens and small livestock, and preparing the animals for consumption. They should also be able to trim the hooves of animals without hurting the animal.
Building Projects, Maintenance, and Tool Keeping
Your kids should be able to know where the tools go, how to clean them, and how to maintain them. You should also have a proper helping hand with any maintenance or building projects that you have going on.
At this age they should have no problem taking measurements, but always make sure you double check. I also like to introduce cutting tools such as chop saws and hole saws. They won’t use these tools 100% on their own but with very close supervision.
We need to make sure our kids stay safe while they learn how to help us.
After spending a few months or years helping us with changing the oil of the car, the kid should be able to change the oil by themselves. If not, be patient and they will get the hang of it eventually.
I’ll also begin to introduce bigger jobs such as changing a tire or doing the brakes.
Homestead Chores For Kids Ages 13+
They grow up so fast. From 13 and up, kids start becoming more self-sufficient. You can start trusting them to do more chores on their own. I do advise you to supervise any chores that require power tools and/or sharp tools like shears. At least until they are 16 or when you are confident that they won’t hurt themselves.
Here is the list of chores that your kids can do when they are 13 and older.
- Be responsible for one type of homestead animal
- Change brakes and a flat tire on the car
- Build on cooking skills
- In charge of seed starting
- Help with fencing projects
- Rotate livestock
- Help with beekeeping
- Watch younger siblings
- Assist on homestead maintenance projects, ie plumbing repair, electrical, carpentry
- Build trellises for gardens
- Responsible for any painting projects
- Harvest from fruit trees
- Preserve and can food
- Help with cost analysis and budgeting
Taking sole responsibility for a certain animal is a huge undertaking. This will teach your child a lot of valuable lessons that he can take into his adult life. He will learn things like understanding, patience, compassion, and responsibility.
At this stage, you can start taking turns in preparing food as your kid should have developed enough cooking skills to prepare a good meal. Our kids have a night in which it is their turn to cook and choose a movie or game for the night.
My kids really love their cooking night. They get to cook their favorite meal, choose the family activity afterwards and they are not responsible for cleaning up after.
Securing the Homestead
Securing the homestead consists of placing traps around the area to ward off any dangerous animals such as bears. It also includes helping with building fences. Your child, who is now becoming a young adult can and should help with this.
I also have my kids responsible for any pest control. They set the rat traps, mix their own natural pesticides and use their pellet gun to chase away gophers or mongoose.
I know, one of the worst nightmares for our oldest children is to babysit their siblings. At first, they might seem to get annoyed at first but will eventually grow into the role.
Finally, you can get some work done or sneak that nap in when nobody’s watching.
At this age I feel it is important to introduce your child into the world of household finance. My older kid helps me with our budget. I teach her how to make one, how to save and where it is ok to spend.
I also take this time to teach them about cost analysis. I will have them build a spreadsheet for a new project and together we will run numbers to estimate the cost and labor involved.
Lastly, I encourage them to build their savings and knowledge with how money works by opening for them an investment account. I encourage them to save by matching anything that they put into their savings account.
Continue Maintaining the Garden and Lawns
This process started when they were young, so you can feel comfortable knowing that your child has what it takes to look after the garden. They should be more comfortable with the tools used to keep the lawns looking well kept and in good shape.
Build On All The Skills Learned While Growing Up
It doesn’t really matter when your child started building a routine or learning the skills required to do the chores mentioned in this article. Children are well adapted to learning new information faster than adults.
Whenever they started, now is the time for them to start building on their skills. It won’t just help them within the homestead but it is great for building good character in adulthood.
We are not saying that your kid needs to do every single chore, this was more of a suggestion list. At the end of the day, you will know what is best for you, your kids, and your home. I placed a rather fair amount of emphasis on safety and supervision. This is because as a parent, I know that the well being of our children always comes first.
If your children are not catching on quickly, it is ok, be patient and allow them to grow into their roles. A life of self-sufficiency is not an easy lifestyle to maintain and a homestead needs to run like clockwork. The thing is, a good clock, takes time to build.
Be sure to bookmark this page as a reference for when you need to consider anything. Also, don’t forget to check back in now and then, we upload content regularly. My goal is to help people build a self-sufficient lifestyle without the headache of not knowing where to start and how to do things.
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