•   Wash dishes or load the dishwasher. This chore eventually includes wiping the counters and sweeping the kitchen floor.

     •   Put away clean dishes. Work in pairs if he is too short to reach all of the shelves.

     •   Prepare simple meals.

     •   Outside cleaning. This may include one or more of the following, depending on your climate: sweep sidewalk/steps/garage/carport, rake leaves, or shovel snow

Responsibilities for a Young Adult (Age 12+)

As your child grows into adulthood, he should be given more opportunities to take over certain responsibilities. You might rotate these among children at first so each one learns to do all of the tasks. Eventually, each youth will likely settle into his favorite. For some of the more time-consuming tasks, you might consider some type of payment as a part of the young person’s financial education.

Unless you have a large family, many of these tasks will remain on your own list. But don’t cheat your children of the satisfaction of a job well-done and the knowledge that they are making an important contribution to the family’s well-being. Here are some ideas for your older children:

     •   A young adult can and should continue to do any of the chores from earlier years on an as-needed basis. Many of them will be automatic routines by now.

     •   Assist with laundry for younger children; this is a great job for 11-year-olds. Then at age 12, they are ready to take over their own laundry on a permanent basis.3

     •   Learn organizational techniques while cleaning closets, drawers, shelves, or the attic.

     •   Meal planning and preparation. At first he plans one meal, develops a shopping list, and prepares the meal for the family. Later he is responsible for certain meals every week.

     •   Make basic clothing repairs using a sewing machine. A sewing machine is a safer introduction to electrical tools than a saw; have your sons whip up a set of pillowcases to learn how to safely move the fabric past that sharp needle.

     •   Perform outdoor maintenance: mow the lawn, assist with landscaping projects, wash windows.

     •   Perform basic auto maintenance: clean/vacuum/wash the car, pump gas, check/change the oil, change a flat tire, change the air filter, add windshield washer fluid, etc.

     •   Perform basic household maintenance: replace washer in faucet, unclog drains, wash/paint walls, troubleshoot appliance breakdowns.

     •   Family finances: balance a checkbook, pay family bills, see how a budget works, learn to fill out tax forms.

     •   Develop his own business, learning budgeting, production, marketing, record-keeping, and tax requirements.

     •   Study childcare principles including basic first aid and CPR, and take more responsibility for younger siblings.