Chores have been an essential part of childhood for generations. While most kids no longer have to rise at dawn to go help with the milking and feeding of livestock, most parents still feel chores are important. After all, they not only help to teach kids how to do things around the house, but they ‘re also an essential step in building that sense of responsibility any child needs to help them grow. What’s more, though, is that they help to ease up a parent’s tasks at home, spreading the responsibilities throughout the family.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the chore debate is when children should start doing their chores. While many parents decide to wait to start children on chores until later elementary school, some set them to doing age-appropriate chores as early as two years old. Wondering what the right answer is? In most cases, it depends on your child, but the reality is that the younger they are when you start expecting them to tackle the chores, the better the results will be down the road.
Can Young Children Really Do Chores?
Kids as young as 18 months can absolutely do chores. Hand your little one a dry rag and have him or her wipe baseboards down. They can take laundry to the correct room, too. There’s no reason your two year old couldn’t pick up his toys or even put his clothes in a hamper. As they get older, the chores can get more complex. Your three year old can probably put plates on the table. Your five year old may be able to help you dry the dishes, too.
The key with any chore assignments in the house is that they have to be both age and developmentally appropriate for your little one. Whether or not you choose to associate chores with some type of reward or allowance is completely up to you. Many families feel it wholly unnecessary while some choose to tie it into other life lessons like money management.
Mistakes to Avoid
If you’re thinking about helping your kids get started on the path toward responsibility, there are several missteps you may want to be aware of. First, remember that your kids aren’t perfect, and they’re not going to do the chores exactly the way you want them to. Pushing perfection is only going to lead to a fight.
Second, keep in mind that your kids may be more capable than you think they are. If you’re not sure about a particular task, talk it over with your child. Look at it from every angle, then give it a go. If it’s working, great! You have a bit of extra help. If it’s not, modify it so they can still tackle the task.
Third, remember to praise your child. You don’t have to wait until they’re finished with the task to tell them what a great job they’re doing. Build those positive feelings so they understand what they’re doing right.
Finally, consistency is a must. If you don’t constantly expect them to handle the chore, they’ll lapse into expecting someone else to do the work for them.
Chores are a great way to get your kids into the habit of helping out around the house. Hang a chore chart on the refrigerator, then watch them take off into the world of responsibility.
Image by Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr
- License: Creative Commons image source
Pinkchic18 is an author with a passion for family, kids, and party planning. She also regularly contributes to the Parenting & New Baby Advice Blog, where you can find unique baby gifts and more parenting advice.
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