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In our Montessori Home - Today

At Six Years - Non Negotiable Chores

Caspar using the dishwasher

At six years old Caspar is well past the sensitive period for practical life. This doesn't excuse him for helping around the home. 

Non negotiable chores are a bit tough though. Of course if he is unwell, tired or simply having a bad day many of his chores are overlooked. So at six which chores are everyday chores for Caspar, the ones for the most part I don't have to ask him to do, the automatic and expected tasks include;

  • Making his bed. This really includes just pulling up his blankets nicely and putting his water cup (from the evening) into the dishwasher. Often this including helping/role modelling for Otis also. 
  • Generally tidying up after himself. Dirty clothes in the dirty clothes basket and shoes in the 'shoe spot' are the two biggest. 
  • Clearing the table when finished. This includes clearing Otis' and any (children) guests we have plate/cutlery if they are finished also. All dishes are to be cleared (waste in the compost or bin) and into the dishwasher. 
  • Bringing his school lunchbox inside after school, emptying it and putting it in the dishwasher. 
  • Monitoring and filling his dog's water-bowl. This is frequent as our dog constantly empties his water. 
  • Complete care of his pet Hermit Crabs. This includes cleaning, filling with water, food and temperature control. 
  • Taking out the garbage if he notices the bin is full. This is one chore where I want Caspar to notice when it needs to be done. This applies equally to our recycling bin. 

We also have a general expectation that Caspar will help with other tasks when asked. These are quite frequent and often include;

  • Walking, brushing, washing (all with assistance) his dog.
  • Assisting with meal preparations. Peeling, chopping, grating, stirring etc. Caspar is at a stage where he doesn't enjoy this so I only ask when I really need to. 
  • Setting the table for meals. 
  • Generally tidying up rooms like the bedroom or study (this often includes helping/being a good role model for Otis - who is less conscientious on the tidying front).
  • Loading the washing machine, helping with hanging washing. If I am putting away clean laundry I always ask Caspar to fold and put away his own clothing.
  • Assisting with emptying the dishwasher. I don't ask Caspar to do this on his own but often I ask for him to do it with me.  
  • Vacuuming. This is a big one because Caspar is at the age where he is really good at it. I try not to ask too often but it there is a particular mess he is completely capable of setting up the vacuum cleaner and vacuuming a room (or the entire house). 

Caspar setting the table

The term chores has a negative feeling for me. We never ask or expect our children to do such tasks as punishment. For our family and to me it's really important the children know when and how to perform such tasks, to know there are some tasks that are necessary for our home to run smoothly and so they have the opportunity to contribute to our family and home. 

Neither of our children receive pocket money. It's not something that I feel comfortable with right now. 

I don't think it will be so easy to get Otis to do these chores at six. I have to say that Caspar is a very tidy child who also has a great awareness of meeting the needs of others. 

I would love to hear if you have a six year old and which chores are automatic or non negotiable...

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