Do you remember watching your parents do chores around the house and because “they” were doing the chores it looked exciting and interesting to you? I can remember begging my mom to help wash dishes or sweep the floor as little as 6 years old because it looked important. Little did I know, this was a part of real life. My interest in helping my mother set me up for taking those responsibilities off her hands as the oldest of four siblings.
Fast forward, here I am 4 kids later myself and my oldest at six years old is asking me to do the very same thing. Little does she know, she was doing chores as early as 2 years old.
How, you ask. Once baby girl knew how to take out the toys she wanted to play with, my husband and I would tell her to choose two or three. Only when she put those toys back could she play with another one. We felt that we were teaching her how to be responsible for herself at an early age. This also helps us out a lot as parents because we don’t have to feel overwhelmed with cleaning up after our children, along with everything else around the house.
Now that our six year old has learned and accepted her responsibilities for her own room, she has now graduated to wanting to help out around the house with my daily chores. So one day I invited her to help me rinse the dishes while I wash. She thought it was the most amazing thing ever. During this time we were able to talk about whatever was on her mind. It made her feel like she was doing big things!
Here are a few ways by age you can get your little ones started!
Starting early is the key! By this age they are starting to let you know that they want to be independent. They see you do it so they want to show you they can do it too. Encourage them and let them know that they are doing a great job! It starts with their own toys, books, and clothing. They play with it, they put it up. Simple!
If they have younger siblings you can easily encourage them to help their little sister or brother with their clean up time. This is teaching them to not only be responsible for themselves but to be a help to others in need. In addition to helping their siblings you can then encourage them to help you with your chores. That’s if they haven’t asked you to do so already ? When they ask to help with your chores, depending on what it is, allow them to help you. I know you may see this as slowing you down, but it makes them feel very special that mommy and daddy need their help. It also helps you to communicate with your little one. Some of these chores can include setting and clearing the table for dinner, rinsing dishes, or loading and taking clothes from the dryer. Obviously you must be present assisting them while they think they are assisting you.
At this age things get kicked up notch because kids know they are capable of doing more than just picking up behind themselves. They want to show you their creativity and skill. You can start by giving them a list with a few items for the grocery store and have them help you pick out what you need. This gets their brains really working and helps them to read and think. They can also help prepare meals with ingredients. And if that’s not enough, make a chart with chores assigned by days of the week, like sweeping, wiping off the table/counters and or sorting and taking out the garbage.
You might have noticed that I never mentioned paying for these chores. If you start early with your little ones there won’t be a need for bribing or paying. They will accept that this is what growing up is about. They will learn what it is to be responsible for themselves and helping others around them. You also play a part in encouraging them and responding well after they are done with completing each task. You will be surprised at how much they are satisfied with a just smile, conversation and a great job from mommy and daddy!
Ladies, how do you get your little ones interested in chores?
Kim is the author of where she discovers what it means to be a woman of GOD, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur.