Age-appropriate Household Chores for Children
Updated: Apr 1
Giving your child some household chores to do may be one of the most important things you will ever do. Kids who do chores learn responsibility and gain important life skills that will serve them well through to adulthood. Assigning some chores to your child will also help your child feel good that they are contributing to the household. Having a part to play in caring for the family strengthens bonds and makes them feel needed. Doing chores will teach values such as responsibility, cooperation and discipline. Besides, it will take some burden off you!
Today, we explore age-appropriate chores for your little one, as well as the dos and don’ts of assigning chores to a child.
Toddlers (2-3 Years)
Simple chores that involve picking up after themselves should be assigned to younger children from 2 to 3 years old. Some examples include:
· Put toys away after playing
· Dusting table tops
· Wipe minor spills
Tip: Consider your home environment. Do you have heavy or cumbersome furniture that make it difficult for your toddler to put away his toys? How about his safety? Do you use breakable plates, bowls or cups? If your toddler has an accident and breaks something, would he get hurt easily from the chores?
Do consider making adjustments to your home environment to enable your child to perform simple chores. This might include a safe step ladder, melamine bowls, cups and plates.
Pre-schoolers (4-5 Years)
As your child grows older, they will be able to manage more chores. Generally, children who are 4 to 5 years old are able to handle simple one to two step jobs. Add these on to the list of chores that you assign to them:
· Making their bed in the morning
· Empty the bin
· Setting up the table for a meal
· Clearing the table after dinner
· Water plants
· Put groceries away after shopping
Tip: When you first introduce chores to your child, try and make it fun for your child! It can be a game where the siblings do it together and have fun at the same time. Example, when laying the table, pretend that the family is now in a fancy restaurant and the "waiter" has to lay the table or clear the table after dinner.
School-age children (6-8 Years)
When children begin attending school, their responsibilities should increase too. You may gradually add more new chores to their chore list!
· Put backpack away after school
· Sweep floors
· Sort laundry
· Fold laundry
· Help with preparing meals
· Wipe down tables and chairs
Tip: Remember, education is caught, not taught. As parents, do set the example of doing the chores by proactively setting aside time to clean, tidy up the house and to complete household chores. To make it enjoyable, you can put on cheerful, marching music whilst doing the chores.
Dos & Don’ts of Assigning Chores
Do make a chore chart
· Have your children pick out the chores that they would want to do the most.
· Create a chart to track completed chores.
· Motivate by giving small rewards such as a delicious snack of their choice for completing a chore.
· From time to time, allow your child to change chores to keep things new and fresh.
Do be consistent
· Explain to your child that you expect them to regularly follow through with the chores on the chore chart.
· Being inconsistent might cause them to procrastinate and expect someone else to do it for them.
Don’t expect perfection
· Understand that your child is trying, don’t expect chores to be done perfectly.
· If they are doing something wrongly, be clear with your instructions and guidance.
· Try not to jump in and take over as it might hurt your child’s self-esteem.
Do praise your child
· Praise and encourage your child while the chores are in progress.
· This will help to build confidence and competence! Be patient, do not nag and accept that it will take time for the child to "master" the discipline of doing chores diligently and skillfully.
Don’t think it’s “too early”
· Some parents may feel that their child is too young to be taking up chores and responsibilities. Don’t underestimate your child! Children can learn to take up chores and are more capable than you think.
· Start slow, and build up to more challenging chores and responsibilities.
· You may even do the chore together with your child, until he/she is ready to do it alone.
Children & Chores
Involving children in household chores is good for everyone. With your little one helping out with chores, you can even catch a little break. Follow the tips in this article as you begin assigning chores to your child!
For parents living in the Tampines, Nurture Infant House has had 20 years of experience in caring for your beloved children.
We hope you will put into practice some of the tips mentioned here. We would love to hear how you have done so. Feel free to drop us some comments so that we can know what worked for you!
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