Research shows that children who have a set of chores from a young age have higher self-esteem, are more responsible and are better able to deal with frustration.
Both of my girls (2 and 4 years of age) have chores, but I have framed them in a way that these little ‘jobs’ that they do is their way of contributing to our family household, and my husband and I have set the tone that these things are just expected to be done.
Holding children accountable can help to make them more responsible and enables them to feel more capable once having completed their task/s and met their obligations. Think about when they are at school and the ‘jobs list’ comes out. They all want to be a part of this special list and they all want a job. We can create this same atmosphere at home if we do it the right way. It’s all about empowering our children and making them feel like a valued member of the family.
Chores help to develop a sense of belonging and they can see themselves as important contributors to the family. As adults, we don’t always think about this, but our little ones often want nothing more than to be like us and to impress us! They actually do want to help and they want to feel a part of the family unit.
Here are some suggestions for those wanting to implement some chores at home. These are chores on top of the usual ‘tidy up your toys’. I believe this is something that we should be getting all children to do, no matter if you believe in chores for children or not. Please remember, this is just a guide and what you actually do with your child will vary a lot depending on their age and maturity within each of these brackets. You may need to supervise your child if they are younger and /or just starting out with a new chore.
- putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket
- getting the bowls out for breakfast
- getting the cereal box out
- getting the milk out of the fridge
- collecting the things you might need for an outing. g. togs and towel for swimming lessons.
- Putting their shoes away
PRESCHOOLER CHORES (in addition to above)
- making their own bed
- putting their dirty plates and cup in the kitchen/sink
- keeping the shoe rack tidy
- putting their own washing away
- hanging up their bath towel
- making breakfast
- refilling the toilet paper
- unpacking the dishwasher/cutely tray
- wiping down the table after meals
PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE CHORES (in addition to above)
- tidying up the living areas
- taking the washing off the line
- sweeping the floors after breakfast
- setting the table for meal times
- getting a drink for everyone at meal times
- making their own bed
- ensuring their room is kept clean
- taking their sheets of the bed to be washed
Obviously you don’t need to implement all of these, and you may feel some are too difficult for your child, so you decide which are appropriate. If you are just starting out and you have a toddler, choose one chore and build from that. If you have a preschooler or primary school aged child, choose two or three and build from there. There are no set rules for chores. It’s all about what you feel is acceptable for your child and what they can accomplish on their own.
Our children will often surprise us with how clever and capable they are. We just have to provide them with the opportunities to do so.