There are 3 benefits in teaching your kids to do household chores
- They learn to be responsible for themselves: for their time, energy and money
- They learn the skills so they can help and care for other people
- They learn that they are a part of the family, and together they are responsible for the home they live in.
What Chores can Preschool age kids do?
But often parents don’t know where to start. Here are 10 skills you can start with – as young as 3 years of age. Of course, to start with you will need to help, and/or lower your expectations. Ask yourself: what is the most important – that the task is done to a level of perfection, or that your children learn to do these things?
- Put stuff away – toys, groceries, laundry
- Dust (including skirting boards)
- Wipe down cupboard doors
- Fill water bottles (kept in the fridge)
- Empty wastepaper bins and food scraps
- Make beds (especially if you have a doona/quilt)
- Wipe Bathroom bench
- Sort Laundry
- Dishes – washing, drying and putting away (at least some of the dishes!)
- Clean Windows and Mirrors
Kids need to be taught to do Chores
Whenever we teach our kids anything we need to remember the four step process:
- Model it – show them how it is done
- Teach it – tell them how/what to do
- Practice it – Work with them till they get it
- Expect it – Give them the responsibility to do it on their own
When my kids were pre-school age we had 3 different chore times every day: After breakfast, after lunch and before dinner. They would have the same chore in any time slot for a week, maybe longer – eg they would be on emptying bathroom bins every morning, emptying the dishwasher plastics for lunch and helping me put the laundry away every evening. They would work on those three chores for at least a week until they were doing it well. Only then would I move them on to learning a different skill.
When we were in ‘teaching/training’ mode with chores we would stay with the same chore for about a month before we would rotate. Once everyone had learnt a set of chores we would rotate every week. When everything was going well, I might introduce another skill.
Admittedly, this constant teaching and practicing meant chore time took a considerable amount of time and energy – but it was so worth it. Before long the kids could do the daily cleanup every morning: dishes, rubbish, bathroom and a load or two of laundry while I looked after the floor and food.
As the children grew older they were able to take on more responsibility, and training didn’t take so long.
Teaching our children to do chores when they are little is much easier than when they are older. Little ones want to be beside you, they want to copy what you are doing. Let them. By using your chore time, to teach and train their hearts and hands, you are building life skills into them that will benefit them, you and your family in years to come.
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