Chore Time :: Start them Young
Mommas, aren’t you tired of doing it all? Yes, absolutely. Dream about the day when your kids are old enough to help around the house? Yes! The time is now! My daughter has been helping around the house since she was 3 years old. Every little thing they can do around the house is to help you and your sanity.
Research shows that children who perform chores around the house have benefited greatly as adults. My favorite quote is from The American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry that states, “Children who do chores may exhibit higher self-esteem, be more responsible, and be better equipped to deal with frustration, adversity, and delayed gratification. These skills can lead to greater success in school, work, and relationships.” (AACAP) What parent doesn’t want their child to be successful? Obviously a trick question. The trick to get children to do chores is to start them young. So parents, it starts with you. While yes it may feel like it’s faster to do it yourself, once the child gets the hang of the chore, it can save you plenty of time in the long run.
With 2-3 year old children, the easiest chore to start with is picking up toys after they are finished playing with them. Remind the toddler to put away the toys when they are done playing with before moving on to the next toy. Large bins or baskets for toy storage make this chore easier. This can also involve making sure all toys are picked up before bed time. Repetition will be key on this one! So Mommas, stick to your guns and DO NOT PICK IT UP FOR THEM!
Four and up, there are more things to add to the chore list.
Here are some of my favorites for my 4 year old:
- First thing in the morning, make the bed. This will probably just consist of pulling the comforter up, but boy oh boy, does a neat bed look nice.
- Have pets? Have them feed the dog / cat / fish. It will show them the responsibility of having others depended on them.
- Cleaning up after they finish eating or putting their dishes (carefully) in the sink.
These little chores add up to extra time for parents to do other important things. My husband loves gardening, and it’s sweet to watch my daughter and him garden together. One of her chores is to assist him with weeding the plants. She truly enjoys it because she loves eating fresh tomatoes and herbs in her dinner. Add watering plants to that list of chores. Laundry can seem endless sometimes. Have a helper! The easiest thing to have them fold are socks.
With little ones, it may be easier with rewards at the end. I’m not above a little bit of bribery, but that is my way of getting a now four year old to do a lot more chores. Rewards can be a sticker chart or $1 a week. Rewards are absolutely not necessary. I use the $1 a week to help my other desire for my kid to save up her “pay” for things she wants because money does not grow on trees, and Mommy and Daddy don’t buy everything. I recommend starting your kids young with chores. That extra couple of minutes of help around the house could result in you drinking your coffee while it’s still hot.