As a 26-year-old who’s never figured out how to use a lawn mower you can imagine my surprise reading that tending to the grass is apparently considered an achievable chore for a child who’s nine.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one either, and parents are hotly divided over a chart of “age appropriate” chores which was recently posted by a popular parenting blogger.
According to the list that appeared on the “School Mum” Facebook page, but originally came from an American parenting site, children should be completing simple household chores from as young as two. By 12 they should be capable of ironing.
The divisive post making mums and dads mental:
My own ineptitude aside, it’s probably reasonable to expect your kids to help out around the house where they’re capable, but I’ll be honest, the list at hand seems rather aspirational.
At two to three-years old, kids should already be making their beds, picking up toys and putting their laundry in the dirty washing basket. They can also help feed pets, wipe up after themselves and even do some dusting, apparently.
By four or five, they ought to be setting the table and loading and unloading the dishwasher. They’ll also be moving laundry about, matching their socks, folding their clothes, straightening their rooms and bringing in the mail.
"Excuse me, I don't understand." Source: iStock
From six to eight your once clueless children will morph into dishwasher pros. You'll probably find yourself blinded by sparkling surfaces and wondering your kids even are. Hint: they'll likely be in the laundry, now sorting clothes by colours, or in the kitchen pre-making their lunches for the week. Or gardening. Or emptying their bins.
What really kills me about the list is the nine to eleven-year-olds who seriously put my own domestic feats to shame.
Apparently these guys can clean toilets, take the bins out, vacuum, mop, mow (!!!), help with food preparation and walk pets.
Don't even get me started on how far ahead of me the 12-plus kids are.
The list is obviously just a rough guide and different kids will be more or less advanced at different ages.
I also reckon the person who authored it probably envisioned children helping their parents out around the house rather than an army of unsupervised nine-year-olds in tiny sun hats behind unwieldy lawn mowers.
"Wow! 9 to 11 mowing lawns? Ummm I don't think so. There's some chores that really only adults can do," one mother wrote on the post, adding that her 12-year-old was nowhere near mature enough to babysit their younger siblings.
"I think who every made up this list must live in the dark ages, let kids be kids, they have a lot of years ahead of them," another added.
Other parents defended the list, or at least the principle of it.
"I'm disappointed by all the parents being so reluctant to have their kids do house work," one mum wrote.
"Kids should help around the house, especially the boys! Too much is expected of girls," she said.
What do you think? When should kids start doing chores?
* Featured image via School Mum Facebook page.