Kids are capable of more than we give them credit for. They’re naturally curious, clever, and quick to learn. They can easily master an iPad and eavesdrop like it’s nobody’s business. So why are we so hesitant to have them help around the house?
If given the opportunity, I start working on developing the habit of completing chores with kids around the age of one by asking them to put away toys. I make it into a game. I’ll ask, Will you put the ball in the bin? as I hand them the ball. I over-exaggerate my praise each time they do it. They laugh, enjoy the game, and eventually develop the habit of cleaning up after themself. From there, you move on to move complicated tasks.
By the time a child is 4 years old, they are capable of doing quite a few chores around the house, including:
- Putting toys away and tidying their room
- Cleaning up after themself (ie. putting trash in the trash can; clearing the table)
- Wiping down a table or the countertops
- Making their bed
- Helping with laundry
- Putting away groceries (may need supervision)
- Feeding pets
- Sweeping, mopping and vacuuming (sometimes with help)
- Watering plants
- Helping to wash the car
Remember, you are looking for effort, not perfection when it comes to completing chores. Kids want to feel accomplished, so offering praise and gratitude will encourage them to continue helping around the house. They will get better as they practice these skills.
Children learn by observing, so keep supporting them and modeling these desired behaviors. You will see results!