How old are your kids and what all can they do for themselves?

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by MinnieLovesMickey12, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. MinnieLovesMickey12

    MinnieLovesMickey12 DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2012
    I am curious how old are your kids and what all you have them/let them do for themselves.

    My 2 youngest are 12 and 13 and I have them make themselves easy food items like microwave stuff or grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, easy stuff, cereal, ramen noodles, etc. But I do not have them actually COOK food for themselves. At what age should I have them actually cook stuff? I have let DS assist me in cooking but I was right there supervising what he did. I let him actually do all the work but I was right there. I am more concerned about them either making a big mess or burning themselves.

    I do not make my kids do any laundry but I do realize they need to know how to do laundry as they get older. Do you make your kids do their own laundry? If so at what age did you start making them do it? I make my kids put away all the clean stuff and come get all the stuff from the laundry room and hang it up, but that's it.

    I make them keep their rooms clean and keep the front bathroom clean but other than that I do not make them clean the house. I do that myself.

    I'm wanting to know HOW YOU DO IT with your kids compared to how I do it with my kids. Just curious if I am waiting too long to make them start taking more responsibility.

    I just have always had the notion that moms cook, clean and do laundry until you get out on your own then you do it for yourself. That's how my mom did it with us and we all grew up knowing how to take care of ourselves once the time came.

    I also never leave them home alone. Do you?
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  3. SLP958

    SLP958 DIS Veteran

    Dec 14, 2012
    My kids are a lot younger but my 5 year old has to pick up the dirty clothes every day and take them to the laundry.

    He also has to fold towels and put up the ones he can reach. They don't always look the best but I don't care.
  4. mamacatnv

    mamacatnv That be a Mum Y'all - a Texas Mum

    Nov 7, 2005
    My kids are 14 and 24 - they have been left home alone since about the age of 9.

    Like yours, when it comes to cooking we started with microwaveable items and then progressed. My DD began baking unassisted when she was 12, I remember that because for her 12th b-day she got a kitchen aide mixer and was thrilled.

    Both my kids were cooking on the stove top unassisted by about age 10 - it was soups, ramen, mac & cheese etc. As they got older I taught them how to fry, saute etc. Our go to practice item for frying is eggs and for learning to use the griddle it is french toast. DD was making her own burgers with the Foreman grill at 11 and last summer at 13 we taught her how to lite and operate our gas grill.

    She is now 14 and is in charge of Wednesday night dinners. Tonight she is grilling sausages, cooking corn on the cob, steamed butternut squash, spinach salad and broccoli. She has competent knife skills as well as stove top skills.

    As for laundry, she started doing her own after her father accidentally bleached her favorite navy blue uniform shorts when she was 12, she took over at that point and has been doing it ever since.

    Rooms: I don't make them clean their rooms regularly, that is their space, I close the door. They have been taught how to change sheets etc but I just close the door.

    Bathroom: DD has been cleaning her own bathroom since her brother went to college when she was 10. Again, I showed her all the steps and tutored and supervised until she knew how to get it clean.

    My DS is a very capable young adult who cooks, cleans, knows how to shop, plan a grocery list, pack a suitcase for a trip etc. DD has all of the same skills she is still refining and mastering them.
  5. JVL1018

    JVL1018 Guest

    My kids do what I ask them to do, but they have no set chores, except I make them make their beds every day.

    I do the laundry and the cooking. They've helped by throwing the clothes in the dryer or bringing it up for me on occasion, and I've actually shown them both how to use the washing machine, so they know how, but really it's not that hard.
    I like doing laundry, so I don't have anyone else do it.

    My daughter makes choc chip cookies by herself(among other things), my son...pours his own bowl of cereal, LOL. I assume as he gets older he'll figure it out. I never cooked at home. I made myself eggs or a sandwich, but full on meals? Not once. Neither have my kids.
    Though I did take Home Ec (cooking) every year from 7-12 grade. It annoys me that they don't have that in our schools.

    Yesterday they set and cleared the table for dinner, dusted and vacuumed the living room. Today I need the kitchen swept and mopped.

    They stay home alone all the time-they are 11 and 13. (Birthdays are coming up soon).
    My 13 year old babysat 2 year old twins and a 4 year old on Sunday. She can handle them, she can handle anything. ;)
    I have zero issues with them being able to be home alone. We started by leaving them for an hour or so while we went grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons.
    I don't leave my oldest in charge of the youngest, though. They're a little less than 2 years apart and I know if one was in charge, that would create drama. I expect them to behave and they do..because they know if I ever heard that they were acting like fools or fighting with each other they'd be dragged on errands with me, LOL
  6. NHdisneylover

    NHdisneylover DIS Veteran

    Feb 26, 2007
    Mine stayed home alone for short times starting when DD was 9 and DS was 7. Now they stay home often--I cannot be with both at once and we certainly do not all go together everywhere! Last year we left them overnight for the first time. They did great and after a couple of 1-2 day trail ones they stayed home for a week while DH and I had an adult vacation. It was lovely--and they enjoyed being so responsible, and watching tons of TV, etc too.

    They also take public transit (trains, trams, buses) on their own on a regular basis (and have since we moved to where they could 4 1/2 years ago)., have each flown (internationally) alone, and check into their on flights, etc.
  7. Hillbeans

    Hillbeans <font color=purple>If you're bored, please read a

    Feb 24, 2003
    My 12 YO (going into 7th grade in the fall) gets his younger brother 7 off the bus during the school year, takes the garbage out and brings the cans back every Tuesday, helps with yard work like picking up sticks and leaves, clears the dinner plates and loads the dishwasher, can use the microwave pretty well with minimal supervision (although recently he did cook a hamburger in a ziplock baggie for 10 minutes that was a huge mess).

    He knows how to start the laundry machine but I generally like to take care of it because I don't want my things getting ruined.

    He also helps walk the dog. I've been slowly adding more to his plate the older he gets.
  8. Styx Fan

    Styx Fan DIS Veteran

    Jan 16, 2009
    I have a 16 year old ds and a 9 year old dd....both coming up on birthdays in Sept.

    At this point, there is little I don't have DS do. Not all the time, but when it needs doing and he is available. He has been doing all kinds of cleaning for several years...started with dusting at about 4. He is responsible for mowing for sure. Started that when he was tall enough to effectively push the mower at about 13-14. Since his e-box is downstairs near the laundry room, he does lots of switching loads over and hauling up and downstairs. I don't have him do much in the way of starting loads because I am picky. Don't have him do his own laundry cause I want to do full loads. Changes his bed when I make him.

    He began cooking simple dinners at about spaghetti. he HATES to cook, so I just make sure he is learning things here and there.

    DD is starting to take on more chores this summer. She has learned how to heat some things in the microwave and make toast in the toaster oven. She cleans counters in bathrooms, vacuums, unloads dishwasher, folds things like towels, cleans her own room.

    Listed here is sounds like a lot, but it is rare if either one of them does more than an hour a day of chores. Usually less....more if it's a major cleaning day or project like cleaning out garage, staining deck, etc. Chores always take a back seat to sports, clubs, school activities, homework.

    DS ended up doing quite a bit more last summer when he couldn't tear himself away from the video games and netflix. He just wasn't doing anything but sitting on screens. I suggested lots of other "fun" type go. He wasn't even seeing friends, just playing on line with them. Wouldn't try for mowing etc in the neighborhood. So he got put to work:cool1:

    On the topic of left alone at home......DS is left at home alone tons. At this point, he goes with us places if he wants or needs to. Default is staying home. He is allowed to have male friends over (we like his friends), but no females. He even spent one night alone overnight a couple of months ago. We started leaving him home alone for very short periods, like when we would push dd in her stroller on walks when he was about 9. We would keep looping around the house. It kept increasing in time and our distance from there. He has been babysitting his sister for several years.

    DD now is left alone also for short times, like when I drive DS to a school function a couple of miles away. Or if he is gone and I run to the corner for pizza or milk. Cell phones make things so much nicer! They have both been drilled/schooled/lectured/taught over and over on what to do in a variety of situations. We live in a fairly safe area on small lots with lots of nosey neighbors.

    Sorry ramble on so long.....I better find some flesh and blood people to talk with!
  9. MinnieLovesMickey12

    MinnieLovesMickey12 DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2012
    That's funny, me too!!
  10. lolainkent

    lolainkent Mouseketeer

    Jun 22, 2013
    I have 2 boys, DS7 (8 in Nov) and DS6 (just turned). They make their beds, put their dirty clothes in the laundry, clean their playroom and get their own breakfast. DS7 can reach and use the toaster, while DS6 will wait for his brother to help and then use a butter knife to put on jam/nutella/whatever. Our microwave is a bit out of their reach. They can open it, but putting things in/taking them out just doesn't work yet.

    I also leave them in the living room with their sister (DD1) while I get their school things organised, or run to the bathroom before going to school. I trust them to keep her happy. They also often clean up around her highchair after meals.

    By the time I was 10 or so, I could use the stove for things like Kraft Dinner, and do laundry...but then my mom had recently become single and we really had to pick up some slack after having a stay-at-home-mom for so long. I stay at home now so I find I do a bit more for the boys than I maybe should but I find the UK school system to be harder than what I remember (I'm Canadian) and their homework truly cuts into time I would have had to do chores back in the early 90's.
  11. mickeyboat

    mickeyboat <font color=660099>Nothing like the cream and choc

    Oct 14, 2003
    OP - mine are 12 and 13, and are very much like yours.

    They do not really have chores per se, but they are required to help with things when they ask. They vacuum ,clean the bathrooms, clean the kitchen, dust, etc when I ask. But for the most part, I do most of the cleaning.

    They are responsible for cleaning their bedroom and "dressing room" - but I usually close those doors and don't worry about those rooms. This summer I added a responsibility for each. DD12 is responsible for the laundry - for everyone. DD13 is responsible for the dishes. I do help with each of these tasks, but they must keep things moving along while they are home during the day. They also must clean up after themselves so I don't flip out after coming home to a messy house. We are going to teach them to use the lawn mower shortly.

    I figure they have their entire lives to clean their own houses, so don't wory too much about having them clean mine! :rotfl2:

    As far as cooking, they cook a lot of convenience meals using the stove top and microwave. I have just added allowing them to use the oven. They usually call and ask me if it is o.k. to use the oven, and I remind them that they need to make sure to turn if off when they are done. This morning they called and asked if they could make donuts with their donut maker, and I said yes. They help with weekly meals on occasion, but usually DH and I do that together in the evenings with a glass of wine and don't ask them to help.
  12. MinnieLovesMickey12

    MinnieLovesMickey12 DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2012
    I haven't left my kids alone when they are awake because they are only 14 months apart and sometimes they don't get along so great. The older DD13 tries to boss the younger DS12 around. Even if I just go lay down fora nap for 2 hours one of them usually ends up coming to my room to tell me something that happened.

    I don't think they are mature enough to be left for very long by themselves.

    But they do ASK to be left at home all the time. They hate going on errands and shopping with me. I may try letting them stay home for an hour or so next time I go run errands and see how well it goes. I know the youngest will tell me exactly how the oldest acted while I was gone.

    They both now have cell phones. (Just got them this year)

    But they will be told no cooking or do not answer the door while I am gone.

    So we'll see if I am brave enough to try it.
  13. Janepod

    Janepod <font color=royalblue>The new dinning plan is out.

    Sep 21, 2010
    My son is 7. He has to put his clothes in the hamper, spray Shout on any stains, set the table for dinner, put away the cutlery from the dishwasher, make his bed every day, and just generally keep things neat in his room & the playroom.

    Outside the home -- order his own food/drinks in restaurant. Order and pay for himself in casual places (e.g., buying mozzarella sticks and drink on the boardwalk.) Count his change. Buy his own metrocard in the machine. Buy his own ticket at the movie theater. Generally stuff that gets him used to these basic tasks along with handling money and counting change.

    But I can't get him to tie his shoes. WHY CAN I NEVER FIND THE ROLL EYES SMILIE?
  14. disney1990

    disney1990 <font color=royalblue>Wow, it make my heart skip a

    Aug 24, 1999
    My granddaughters are 13 and 15. They started in the kitchen at a young age - 5 or 6. For several years now, probably since they were 10 and 12, they have been making complete meals - they cook virtually everything.
  15. aprilchem

    aprilchem DIS Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    My kids are 3,5, and 7 and they do a lot around the house. The seven and five year olds are responsible for collecting the recycling and hauling it out to the bins each day and then taking the large trash/recycling cans out to the curb on Monday and bringing them back after they're emptied. They make their own breakfast on the weekend and empty and reload the dishwasher each day. They clear the table after dinner, keep their rooms clean, and start loads of laundry and fold clothing each week, as well as vacuum our downstairs rugs. They also help my DH with special projects; for example DS7 grouted the kitchen floor last weekend and helped to mow the grass the weekend before.

    My 3 (almost 4) year old feeds our two dogs each morning and afternoon, helps keep her room clean, and helps me with special projects around the house. She also walks one of our dogs (with her dad accompanying her), sweeps the living room floor, and helps to put some of her clothing away.

    Personally, I don't think this is too much work for them, although it sounds like a lot. I grew up in a house where I never had to do anything at all until I went to college, and I think it was detrimental to me. My kids generally enjoy learning to do new things, so they don't see it as something we're forcing them to do.
  16. bjscheel

    bjscheel (Avatar art by my daughter)

    Jan 27, 2005
    Mine are 14 and 11. They started staying home alone together during the summer when they were 12 and 9 (going on 13 and 10). They do some cooking when I am around (they need to do more). When they are alone they may go so far as to make ramen or regular noodles, or put chicken nuggets in the oven, but usually it's microwave or cold sandwiches.

    They know how to operate the washer and dryer, sometimes they want a reminder on the details. I don't have them "do their own laundry" as it's more efficient to wash everyone's whites together, everyone's darks together, etc. During the summer I often start a load before I leave and have them hang it out on the line.

    DD14 cleans the toilets (voluntarily) and DD11 cleans the sinks.

    Almost every day of summer I leave them a short list. It might include hanging out clothes, sorting and putting away clothes, sweeping, cleaning and refilling the dog's pool, watering flowers, weeding, picking up clutter, pick up sticks in the yard, etc. DH would like them to start mowing. DD14 has done a little but will need a refresher on how the mower works again.

    Helping out has been a little bit of an issue lately with DH. We are adding on to the house and he is stressed by the extra work that causes him. Then he sees them on the computer and is irritated. So I am extra careful to make sure the kids offer to help him. Yesterday when DD11 and I drove in he was washing the semi so I sent her to run the power washer for him. When he grew up he was expected to do a LOT of farm work so he didn't have all this free time as a kid.
  17. mamacatnv

    mamacatnv That be a Mum Y'all - a Texas Mum

    Nov 7, 2005
    When they ask to stay home alone, I would remind them why you don't. Also, IMO by giving the youngest an audience in which to tattle on the oldest, you are perpetuating the tattling problems. I'd put my hand up with a firm, "I don't want to hear it, sort yourselves out" type of response. My brother and I are 8.5 months apart, I am very familiar with sibling issues :)

    Also at 12 & 13 there is no way they should be disturbing your nap to tattle on each other unless the house is on fire or someone needs a trip to the ER.
  18. wvjules

    wvjules DIS Veteran

    Mar 7, 2001
    DD is 18 and she can do everything but load the dishwasher or do dishes, apparently. :laughing:
  19. MickeySP

    MickeySP DIS Veteran

    Jan 11, 2005
    Well mine is 28 so he is mostly independent, I still cut his meat but I am afraid he will choke otherwise:rotfl2::rotfl2:
  20. powellrj

    powellrj DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2003
    My kids are older now, but they started staying by themselves at around 10 and babysitting around 13. They were much better at doing chores when they were smaller than they are now. I am ready to give middle DS the boot he is such a slob. He is my cook. All the kids started cooking at around 13, but they would rather cook for themselves and rarely cook for the family. Middle DS has had kitchen jobs, so he is actually becoming a good cook, just not for us!

    They all started doing laundry at around 14, and they had to learn to steam/iron their own clothes at the same age. I don't iron anymore so if you wanted it ironed, you did it yourself. They also each got their own checking accounts at 16 so they knew how to do banking before college.
  21. Ginny Favers

    Ginny Favers <font color=green>I told my husband I think they m

    Dec 30, 2011
    This will probably vary depending on what type of kid you have. My 3 year old does more to ease my workload than my 7 year old. I started requiring things of DD7 early on, and so now she sets the table, makes her bed, cleans her room, and things like that. DD3 saw her big sis doing it and won't be outdone. She does the same things. Usually, it's a fight for who gets to set the table.

    But actually, DD7 has no interest in doing things for herself, where DD3 wants to do everything on her own. DD3 will get herself ready in the morning and set up her stuff for school the next day, fix lunches and snacks, dust the house, sweep the floor . . . she's 3 going on 13. I pretty much can't do anything around the house without her stepping in to do it first.

    SO I say, "yes, sweetie, if you're a good girl, I'll let you clean the toilet." :)

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