How To Introduce Chores To Your Child

Once your child reaches the age of 2, they are old enough to start helping with small tasks around the house. If you’re unsure how to introduce your child to chores, here are some tips.

How do I get my child to do chores?

Teaching your child to help out around the house and clean up after themselves doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, when it comes to getting your kiddo to do chores, it’s better to keep things as simple as ABC:

Ask for their help

Eventually your child will learn how to take initiative, but instilling that in them takes time. So start by asking your child for help whenever you need it or see an opportunity for them to help.

If you’re making dinner and you need silverware put on the table, ask your child to get some from the drawer and set it on the table at each person’s place. If you’re taking boxes out to recycling and you’ve got a small one that is their size, ask them to carry it for you. You might not always “need” their help, but asking for it on a daily basis teaches them there are things to do and they can help!

Be patient

Kids don’t typically do a perfect (or fast) job when they’re first starting out on chores, so be patient with them. You may have to come behind them, if necessary, to finish off the job. For example, if you give your child a dish or two to wash, don’t expect your child to get every crumb cleaned off; expect to wash them a second time yourself.

Additionally, a task that might take you 5 minutes to do might take them a half an hour. Let them work diligently on it for as long as it takes them to finish. Remember, the goal isn’t for you to get help around the house; the goal is to teach them how to do chores, be responsible, and develop a good work ethic!

Critique don’t criticize

It’s okay to teach your child to do things properly and excellently, but try to avoid nitpicking. Most young children want to do a good job and are doing the best they can. Perhaps you asked your kiddo to pick up their toys and when you come to check their work, you discover a few toys aren’t in the right location. Don’t discourage your child by pointing out every single toy they misplaced or scolding them for not cleaning up perfectly. Instead, gently remind them where things belong and thank them for helping. “Just remember for next time, all the cars go in here together, okay? Your room looks so nice, though! Thanks for your help!”

What chores are appropriate for my child’s age?

It can be difficult sometimes to determine how much to expect of your child, but most parents don’t ask enough of their kiddos when it comes to housework. Every child’s skill level differs, but has a helpful chart you can use as a guide that might help you determine which chores your child should be responsible for:

Toddlers (2-3 years)

– Pick up toys and books.
– Put clothes on clothes hooks.
– Set placemats on the dinner table.

Preschoolers (4-5 years)

– Set the table for meals.
– Help with preparing meals, under supervision.
– Help put clean clothes into piles for each family member, ready to fold.
– Help with grocery shopping and putting away groceries.

School-age children (6-11 years)

– Water the garden and indoor plants.
– Feed pets.
– Help with hanging out clothes and folding washing.
– Take out rubbish.
– Help with choosing meals and shopping.
– Help with meal preparation and serving, under supervision.
– Vacuum or sweep floors.
– Clean the bathroom sink, wipe down kitchen benches, or mop floors.
– Put away crockery and cutlery.

Why should I teach my child to do chores?

Cherelle German, author at The Inspired Prairie, says that,

“We as mothers sometimes do way too much for our children and don’t expect enough from them…This is going to be one of the biggest struggles you will face because we as parents have a tendency to DO.ALL.THE.THINGS. We want to do it ourselves instead of asking our children to help because we know we can do it better and faster, but by doing this, you are doing your children an injustice!Experts say that most recent generations of parents place fewer demands on our children than in previous generations.We don’t expect enough from our kids and by doing this, we are extending our children’s adolescence.”

Teaching your child to help out around the house may be scary (especially if you’re a perfectionist!) But take heart knowing that introducing chores is part of “training them up in the way they should go.” The investment you’re making and the character traits you’re instilling in them now will serve them well the rest of their lives.