Why chores are awesome for kids

Posted on July 7, 2010 

So, you’ve got this super adorable and hyper child that you’re trying to encourage to help you around the house. If you can get his/her focus for more than one minute, they’re actually kind of enthusiastic about doing “something the adults are doing.”. Not everyone instills the value of chores in children- plus I’m not against giving them an allowance for it- so here’s a small guide to chores that children under 5 can handle. Harness that energy before they run rampant!

One “exciting” chore your child can partake in, is getting dressed… believe it or not. They can learn to:
• Select clothes to wear (that aren’t blindingly mismatched)
• Put them on
• Put them in the laundry basket once they’ve gotten chocolate Popsicle or dirt on it.

This can start at incredibly early ages, with your children selecting the clothes they want, and then getting dressed with your help. By about three years old, it’s safe to move them toward getting dressed and undressed on their own. It’s also a good age to teach them how to fold and hang up clothing so that you aren’t left with a mess of clothes strewn everywhere.

Making the bed is another chore that can start from just one or two years of age (if they can reach the blankets). At these earliest stages, making the bed will consist of pulling the sheets or blankets across the bed with the help of a parent. Once they get older, the child will be able to do the full work solo while you sit back and enjoy the cleanliness.

In their bedroom, children will also be able to clean and organize their toys, putting them in the proper location. When the child is very young, simply having a designated toy box where your child can store playthings is a good idea. As they get older, you can implement a more structured and organized system for storing their fun stuff.

Your children will (hopefully) sleep better knowing that they are in a room they helped clean and organize themselves, but the chores they do shouldn’t stop there. Oh no- they keep going. Once they’re up and out of bed, your children can learn how to brush their own hair (without knotting it like I did when I was little) and pearly whites. At early ages, these tasks will require more parental assistance (ever read the back of toothpaste?), but can be done independently by about age five.

Children can also help in some portions of other household cleaning, like vacuuming, in other areas of the house. Different weights and sizes of vacuum cleaners are more suitable for children, but even young boys and girls can use a handheld cleaner that they won’t struggle with.

Other minor tasks that a young child can accomplish include:
• Dusting furniture
• Setting the table
• Feeding pets
• Rinsing off dishes
• Helping with some food preparation
• Sweeping

Keep in mind that you are likely to have to re-do some of this work as your child is still learning how to do these tasks.

Your child will also love doing tasks and chores outside when the weather is nice. Raking up leaves or sweeping off the porch (no matter how boring it sounds to you) can be great chores when done with adult supervision. Having your children help with small portions of lawn and garden care, such as watering and weeding, can also be a great way to instill valuable habits in your children that will follow them for the rest of their lives.

PS: once again… an allowance helps

Photo Credit: Chore Time by Peachy Weasel

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