Having a homestead can be a lot of work. There is no need to try and do it alone. Here are 5 homestead chores that you kids can do, at (almost) any age.
The work on a homestead can be never ending. Especially if you share that homestead with children and animals that require your care. There are chores that need to be done inside the house to keep the family happy. There are also chores that need to be done outside of the house to keep the homestead happy and productive.
There is no need to try and tackle all of this alone. You could run yourself ragged from sun up to sun down and never get that to-do list finished. It’s too much for one person. One of the reason we chose this lifestyle (yes, it’s a lifestyle) is to show our children where their food come from.
One of the reason we chose to homeschool our children (and there are many more than just this one) is so that we could bring them along side us in our homesteading journey. There are many great lessons that children can learn on a homestead. Giving them homestead chores is a great way to start to in still a sense of responsibility for something outside of themselves.
Children are often happy to help with any task, from an early age. It is our job, as their parents, to give them a chance to help. Helping with the daily homestead chores can make our little people feel like a valued member of the family. Participating in homestead chores give children a purpose and direction to their day.
Chores your kids can do, at (almost) any age
1. Collect Eggs
There are few things more exciting on the homestead then going into your hens nesting box and finding eggs. I can only imagine the wonder and surprise that children must feel when the hen stands up and all her treasures are laying there waiting for them.
If you have chickens, collecting eggs daily is a must. This is a chore that children can do from a quite a young age, with some assistance. It is also an excellent opportunity to learn the importance of being gentle. The consequences are swift and obvious if you are not gentle while collecting eggs.
Collecting eggs is also an excellent opportunity for an older sibling to help a younger one. It is a chance for them to work together on their homestead chores.
2. Weed the Garden
Weeding the garden is a never ending task. It can take a lot of time. And, yes, I do tend to give up on it some time later in the growing season, but having 3 extra sets of hands to help weed the garden sure makes the task quicker.
Weeding the garden when it is first starting to come up can be tricky, even for adults. But once your garden is fully up and starting to be productive, it can become quite obvious what is a weed and what is not.
Weeding the garden is a job that is best done with some supervision. Some of the youngest ones tend to get over zealous with the job and can pull up the food. But with some guidance, children are more than capable of distinguishing chickweed and dandelions from peas and lettuce.
I like to give each of my children a bucket to put their weeds in. Small children get a smaller bucket, older children get a bigger one. The buckets are big enough that I think they can fill them, but not so big that it feels like a never ending task. Then they are given an area of the garden to work in and I tell them to ask if they are unsure if something is a weed.
Once their bucket is full, they take it and feed it to the chickens. Job done.
3. Feed & water small animals
The animals. The reason we all got into homesteading, right? Depending on the types of animals you have on your homestead, children are more than capable of helping to feed them.
On our farm, feeding the cats, dogs, and chickens is one of the children’s homestead chores. These are animals that they can safely be around without a lot of supervision. Every morning, someone goes out and feeds the dog and chickens. They are also responsible for checking that they have water. Some waterers can be tricky for children to open and close, so they just ask for help if it needs to be filled.
Then after dinner, they go back out and do it all again. This is a simple homestead chore that your children can succeed at. All of our animals that they are responsible for feeding have pre-sized scoops in their food bin. They know how many scoops each animals gets at each feeding. This is a job that my children do independently by the time they are 6 or 7.
4. Stack firewood
If you have a wood burning stove, a fireplace, a wooden cook stove, or even an outdoor fire pit. You are going to need some firewood. If you have trees on your homestead, cleaning them up if they fall over is an important part of keeping your land clear and useable.
We have a dedicated shed that we keep our firewood in. We have a wood burning stove in our house that we use as a secondary heat source all winter long. Getting firewood is a big job around here. Each member of our family has a role to play when it comes to maintaining our firewood stores.
If you guessed that the children are responsible for stacking it then you guessed correctly. This is a case of how many hands can make light work. The more people that help with firewood the sooner the job is done. This can be a big job and I would highly recommend a reward at the end of it. Maybe it is a mug of hot cocoa if it is cool outside. Or if you are collecting firewood in the summer a trip to the local swimming spot might be in order once the job is complete. This homestead chore is best done knowing there is a reward at the end.
5. Help with garden harvest
Growing your own food is a lot of work. The garden is a job that benefits the whole family, everyone has got to eat. So there is no reason that the whole family can’t get involved when it is time to harvest.
I have found that harvesting food from the garden gets a similar response to finding eggs. Pulling up carrots, beets or any other root vegetable is a thrill. They finally get to see how big the vegetable is, or what colour it is. They are pulling up little treasures from the earth.
Harvesting potatoes is another homestead chore that seems to be very exciting. Pulling up the plant to see what is there. Digging in the dirt to make sure you didn’t miss any. Of course the best part is that this homestead chores come with built in snacks.
Creating good habits
Have your children ever asked you what the family is doing today? Like 50 times? Just me? Oh, phew, I’m glad it’s not just me. Having homestead chores and responsibilities gives children an anchor to their day, the same way school work does. They know if we do nothing else that day, those chores need to be completed. Bringing our children along side us in the daily tasks of a homestead is another way to make sure we are spending time together. It’s little things, like doing chores on a regular basis, that add to the culture of our family, encourage a strong work ethic, build life skills, and encourage independent children.
Take heart and know that chores do not always run smoothly in this house. The children need to be reminded, almost daily. There is often complaining and whining and bargaining. But to me, the benefits of them having their own farm chores and the character that the work will help them build, are far more important to me than trying to avoid the drama and doing it myself.
Do your children help out with homestead chores? Tell me in the comments what chores look like at your place, I’d love to hear from you.