Between having a job, cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, dropping off the kids at daycare, and running countless errands, a parent’s work never ends! Our car’s might as well have the words “taxi” on one side and “maid service” on the other! We could all use a little assistance sometimes. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have our kids clean up after us for once? Believe it or not, there are many chores that your children can help you to do, even at a young age. Although you may feel your child is too young, children are more capable then you may believe. In fact, having your children help with chores early on in their life has its benefits. Introducing chores at an earlier age makes doing chores become part of your child’s daily routine. Being consistent about your expectations, will also help children learn to be responsible and to follow through on expectations. As your child gets older, instead of arguing or dragging his or her feet, they will accept chores as being part of their daily and weekly responsibilities. Your child will learn to be more independent, and won’t always rely on other people doing things for them. Children, who are responsible at home, tend be more responsible outside of the home as well. In childcare, “clean-up” time is part of our daily routine. Often, pre-school aged children are assigned special “jobs”, or chores, to do to help in the classroom.

If your child is between the ages two and three, he/she can put their toys away after playing with them. This will also help teach your child to be more responsible with their toys, and soon it will become habit to put their belongings away after use. Daycares use special “clean up” songs. You can try this technique at home, too! Toddlers can also help to collect dirty clothes and put them in the hamper, as well as help to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. Afterwards, they can help to put clothes away. Toddlers can also help to unload the dishwasher, when the load consists of Tupperware and sippy cups. Toddlers can also help to dust with a feather duster or a microfiber rag. Believe it or not, many toy stores actually sell toddler dusters, brooms and dustpans! You can buy a toddler sized broom and let them sweep along with you. Toddlers can also help to wipe tables after a meal with a soap and water cloth.

If your child is between the ages of four and five, he/she can do all of the previous chores listed as well. In addition, you can have your pre-school aged child can assist with laundry after it is done, by matching socks and folding dish or hand towels. Your child can also help to set a table before a meal, and to clear the table after a meal. After, your child can help to load the dishwasher, or help to wash and dry the dishes by hand. Other chore ideas for your four and five year old are to take out the recycling, water indoor plants, feed the family pet, and to clean windows or the bathroom sink.

Having your child help with chores will help them to feel like they are a valuable part of the family, instead of feeling as though they run the family! Being part of a family requires contributing as part of a family. Your child will learn that families need to help each other out, and to work together to have a smooth running household. Make sure to praise your children for their hard work and efforts. Kids love to hear that they’ve done a good job. It makes them feel proud of what they have accomplished. Your child will learn to be more courteous and not to take things for granted. So come on moms and dads! Let’s put our kids to work!

Katie Bromley
Child’s World Academy
477 Main Street
Monroe, CT 06468