Continuing with last week’s discussion of the benefits of chores, I wanted to give some pointers on how to start introducing chores to your little ones. Read on to also find some ideas as to what your child can do at what age (hint: there’s no excuse to think they’re too little to start ;))
1. Praise: when you’re starting out, praise is what will keep your little ones motivated, so don’t skimp on it! Remember to praise the effort your kiddo’s do vs their qualities (e.g. “Great job at putting your clothes away! Vs “You’re so tidy!”). Even if your child’s bed only looks marginally better than when they started, thank them for their help (criticizing their efforts here only makes it so they’ll be less willing to do it next time). Here’s more info on the topic of > praise <
2. Get a routine going : This helps with decreasing both begging on your part and whining on theirs. When you speak about chores, talk as if they are just something that needs to get done (which is true!): “It’s Thursday, the bathrooms get cleaned today”. We’re trying to build habits of what and when chores need to happen (and hope that when the little ones grow up it becomes second-nature to them!).
3. Keep it short: try not to drag chores out for a long time, not only do kids (and you!) start to dread chore time, but it also allows for more distraction and less actual cleaning to happen. Depending on your kids’ ages and how much you think they can handle, set a timer and encourage them to get as much done as they can in that time. This is where I have to remind myself that giving chores is often for my kiddo’s benefit, not necessarily to have a spotless house.
Below are some suggestions for age appropriate tasks. Are you little ones doing some of these? If you see a chore they haven’t explored, don’t be shy about sitting back and watching them tackle it (just explain it clearly).
18 mos – 3 yrs :
– Put garbage in the trash can
– Help water garden
– Put some toys away
– Help load plastic dishes in dishwasher
– Wipe cabinets
– Help make their bed
– Put dirty laundry in bin
– Help load washing machine
– Sort laundry (i.e. Lights and darks)
– Help fold bath/hand/kitchen towels
– Clean up their room
– Fold and put away laundry
– Set/clean table
– Water house plants
– Help with easy tasks when cooking
– Feed pets
– Empty trash house trash cans
– More involved food preparation
– Do own laundry
– Walk pets
– Mow lawn
– Help wash cars
– Take garbage cans to curb
– Load/unload dishwasher
As all kids develop differently, you’re the best bet for gaging when your kiddos are ready for more responsibility. I’d love to hear what chores your little sprouts’ are currently tackling!