Jenn here with a new post on getting in a routine. Today’s topic is “Chores for the Little One”.
I know some people don’t think that children should have “chores” or things they are responsible for around the house, but I disagree. For many years kids helped out in all sorts of ways around the home and they grew into hard working productive adults. I don’t think children should be made to do everything, but they should be taught the value of hard work and the value of working together to accomplish a task.
I can’t say that I think there is a magical age that children turn and then BOOM it’s time to do chores, it varies by child. All children mature differently and one can never be judged by another, nor should they be. But I can say that by the time a child is 2 they should be able to at least help pick up their toys and possibly put their clothes in the hamper/laundry basket.
My little girl is almost 5 and she has had chores of some kind for a few years now. Her first “chore” was cleaning up her toys, and as she has gotten bigger other things have been added.
It has definitely made it easier on her and us when we made a routine for her chores, but I want to add that we sometimes help her with her chores (especially when they first started). Now, sometimes she welcomes our help and sometimes she says she “wants to do it herself”.
So if you are wanting to implement some chores for your little one I hope that what I have learned will help you!!
My daughters chores are as follows:
*Make her bed (I used to help her with this, but now she does it herself) and don’t worry about it being perfect, let them do it and compliment them on a job well done! There is no reason that their bed has to look like Martha Stewart made it.
*Put her plate on the kitchen counter after meals. She has to ask to get up from the table and when she does get up, she is expected to take her plate into the kitchen. This obviously works better as they get older and are able to carry their plate and are tall enough to reach the counter. As she has gotten bigger she also will sometimes empty her leftovers into the trash before putting the plate on the counter, but that is not a part of her routine, as of now. If you decide to have your little one do this, be prepared for it to hit the floor sometimes, and if that happens don’t snap on your little one……just clean it up together and move on.
*Put her laundry in the clothes basket/hamper. My daughter is expected to put her dirty clothes in the clothes basket in her closet, this saves mommy sooo much time when getting laundry together for washing and it makes things look so much nicer!
*Put her trash in the trash can. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people throw their trash on the ground or leave it sitting somewhere. Seriously, it drives me crazy!! I don’t understand why people can’t throw their trash in a trash can, trash cans are everywhere!! There is no need to dirty up the wonderful world God has provided for us by throwing trash everywhere!! Soooo now that I am off my soap box 🙂 my daughter is expected to put her trash in a trash can and not leave it sitting around the house, outside, or anywhere else.
*Clean her room. Every night before bed my daughter has to clean up her room. We will help if we need to and she wants us to, but she doesn’t have a lot of toys in her bedroom so there is usually not a lot to clean up in it.
*Clean her playroom. Every night before bed she has to clean her playroom. This can be a BIG job depending on the day and if we had any company. When we first implemented this her playroom wasn’t really organized and it made it harder on her and on us. I have worked very hard on organizing her playroom and getting rid of some things and that has made it soooo much easier! (Organizing the playroom is a post for another day). We always helped her with this when it first started and now she will usually walk in to her playroom, survey the messiness, and then decide if she needs help or not. And if the room is completely destroyed from having a friend over then we always help clean it up, I don’t think it’s fair to force her to do it all by herself when she didn’t make the mess all by herself.
*Help with laundry. This hasn’t been added to her chore chart yet, but she has been helping with it and it is something she needs to learn, so it will be added soon. She helps me get the laundry together on laundry day and even strips her bed for me. Then we take it downstairs and she helps sort it. She likes to sort it all, piece by piece, which can take more time, but in the end it makes for some fun bonding time. She likes for me to hand her each piece and tell her which pile it goes in, then she likes helping load the machines, add the detergent or dryer balls, and cutting on the machine. It makes her feel like a big girl 🙂
*Help with dishes. We haven’t done this since I got my new sink.(I have the big bowl with no dividers). But I used to love having her help with the dishes. She usually ended up playing in the water and getting soaked, but it was always a nice time of togetherness. I think we will have to start that again. Little ones can also help put clean dishes away, sorting the silverware into the drawer is fun and educational!!
There are so many things that your little one can have as chores. And even many more things that they can just have fun helping with! Like raking the yard, working in the garden, helping with the pets, sweeping the porch/sidewalk/driveway, washing the vehicles, it is really all up to you!
Now you have to remember that if you have your little one help there are something’s to be prepared for:
*Task are going to take longer.
*There will be some messes.
*There will be mistakes.
*There will be trial and error.
*They will get distracted and need to be put back on task.
Just remember your patience and focus on what’s really important and what you are teaching your little one!!
Also, when we first started some of these there was rebuttal from our daughter……just stick with it and keep your patience, it gets better I promise! She used to complain and try to fight it, but she learned that didn’t get her anywhere, she still had to do it. (Isn’t that a life lesson!) Now she does it without argument.
Another tip: Make a chore chart!! I bought one a little over a year ago from the Dollar Tree. It had plenty of space to fill in the chores and then spaces to check off each chore each day. It was dry erase so we just wiped off the check marks each Sunday and started over. Over time it got to the point that it wouldn’t wipe off so I made my own! You can print them from online. A simple google or Pinterest search will give you load of different options! You can print one out and either laminate it or put it in a sheet protector and it will then be dry erase! Which is what I did. She LOVES this! She loves making the checks and getting high fives when everything is checked 😉
Well I hope my experience and what we do can help you in some way!! Good luck with your chores for your little one/ones!!
Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!!
Until next time,