What Were the Chores of Pioneer Children?

Pioneer children typically helped with domestic chores, such as cooking and bringing firewood into the home, as well as caring for crops and animals on the homestead. Children were responsible for many daily tasks.

Pioneer children in America assisted their parents in completing seasonal chores, like shearing sheep, and daily tasks, such as cleaning, cooking and caring for animals on the homestead. For instance, a pioneer child may have woken up at sunrise, eaten a morning meal and then fed and watered animals before going to school. Children may have also milked cows or goats, collected eggs and groomed animals each morning.

In the spring and summer, pioneer children spent their time in the fields. Young boys spent time farming and caring for animals during the growing season. In the winter, fathers and sons hunted animals, such as bison and deer, for the family. Boys also completed basic upkeep for the home and farm, such as mending fences or making home repairs, throughout the year. Girls often spent their time caring for younger children, sewing and cooking meals. Girls also swept, prepared food for long term storage and performed other tasks inside the home as needed. Both boys and girls collected firewood that was used to cook and heat the home.

Children carried water home from nearby creeks or rivers each day. Mothers and daughters washed clothing at the river or creek, then hung the clothes to dry on a clothesline.