Earlier this week we had a guest post on Navigating Baby about engaging children with spring cleaning and it got me thinking… what chores do my children do? Actually they each have some things that they would either be expected to do themselves or to help me with each day. I think it is really important to give children responsibility for tasks around the house early on so that this becomes part of the way they operate and hopefully become less entitled as a result. It also gives them a real sense of achievement and can help to increase their self esteem as they are contributing. There is also nothing cuter than a toddler running in shouting ‘I did it! I did it! or your 4 year old telling his teacher that he made his bed with the biggest smile you have ever seen. Their pride is tangible and add to that the fact that one seemingly small chore can help my day flow more smoothly or help us make it to school on time and I am all in favour!!
This is a work in progress and I have just heard them all being given a stern talking to by the husband as they wouldn’t help to tidy the playroom so clearly we are not there yet, but still… The point is we are trying to get them to understand that it isn’t all about playing whilst remembering that they are little and it is mostly just about playing. There are some things that I am more strict about like getting themselves dressed in the morning as if I had to get all four dressed each day we would never leave the house.
For the younger children I would really just be encouraging them to do things like take their PJs to the laundry basket and trying to make it fun with lots of positive reinforcement if they are doing well. Similarly we tend to make some of the chores competitive so they race against me to see if they can get dressed before me or I give them marks out of 10 for the quality of their bed making.
The chores that are the easiest sell are any that are in the kitchen. There is something about the kitchen that is like a person magnet; whether it is at a party when everyone just gravitates there or when you are handing out chores and everyone wants to help with dinner or unload the dishwasher… Who knows what the draw is, but I will take it and so I now present being able to help in the kitchen as a reward for positive behaviour and they lap it up.
As my eldest is 7 I have only experienced working with children of up to this age to develop an understanding of responsibility and awareness of the things that need to be done each day in the home. So I have put together my guide to age appropriate chores for the littles and these are all things that my lovelies are able to do and regularly take part in (without or without cajoling depending on the day)