Admittedly, things have changed quite a bit since you and I were children. Growing up I was “kicked out from under mom’s feet” every evening until the ever-present street lights came on … well, after the chores and homework were complete. We then sat down for dinner as a family and possibly watched a show on the ONE television in the house before my bedtime.

With the growing age of technology, children today are exposed to faster, more dynamic and exciting visuals stimuli while not having to move and develop the capability to interact is concerning. My memories as a child, teen, adolescent and even as an adult include household responsibilities through chores. Chores were just a part of growing up in my parents’ house and were just as important as; schoolwork, developing a sense of independence, and learning social interactions. Reading the article “Chores for Kids: Promoting Developmental Skills” by Claire Heffron (found on, had me thinking about the chores my parents assigned me. (Honest Moment: I did not see the developmental skills in my chores as a child/teen, I thought it was all for punishment!!)

Claire Heffron lists and categorizes “Chores for Promoting Developmental Skills in Kids”:

Strength and Proprioception:
• Taking out the garbage
• Washing the floor
• Loading the washer and dryer with clothes
• Raking, shoveling, pulling weeds, taking sheets, and pillow cases off beds
• Making beds
• Vacuuming

Bilateral Coordination:
• Sweeping the floor
• Folding laundry
• Washing dishes
• Cooking (especially stirring and pouring tasks)

Visual and Cognitive Skills:
• Following a recipe
• Making and packing snacks/lunches for school
• Putting away groceries unloading the dishwasher
• Setting the table
• Putting away laundry, matching socks
• Tidying up and sorting toys and other objects picking out clothes

Fine Motor Skills and Hand Strength:
• Washing anything using a sponge or cloth that needs to be squeezed out (dishes, floor, windows, car)
• Folding laundry
• Watering plans with a spray bottle
• Hanging laundry using wooden clothespins

Midline Crossing:
• Dusting/wiping down tables or counters
• Washing windows
• Sweeping and mopping
• Washing the car
• Ranking or shoveling

Children can do common chores to increase many of their developmental skills while nurturing independence, increasing a sense of responsibility, and placing value on being a member of their household/society. The list is not the end all be all, but it is a good place for us to start. Do you have any suggestions on what to add to the list?

-Jose Martinez, COVT, CSVT