Little kids are obviously not going to be able to clean the entire house or maybe even do an entire load of dishes by themselves, but even very young children can begin to contribute to the family through daily chores.
Encouraging your young children to begin doing daily chores is both a joy, and a careful consideration. In our family, we decided it was time to begin doing daily chore sessions with our children after listening to Michelle Duggar speak at a woman’s retreat session. I had been thinking about doing chores with the kids but didn’t know how to get started. Now they are eagerly doing their chores twice a day with minimal fussing. Here’s how we did it.
Start Children Gradually With New Chores
Don’t just suddenly overwhelm children who are used to doing whatever with a master list of three dozen chores. This onslaught is sure to create tension in the family, fights, feuds, and disputes of all kinds. Exactly what we as parents are trying to avoid!
My children started out with six cards in their Chore Packs–Make your bed, Get dressed, Brush your teeth, Put away PJ’s and then two special tasks that are their morning responsibilities. The first day we only did the morning chore packs so that it wasn’t too much. The next day we added in the evening chores and will probably eventually add more tasks as their level of responsibility and ability increases.
Ask Your Kids’ Input On Their Chores
Even my young children, three years old and four years old, were able to articulate their preference of special tasks. “What would you like to be in charge of–just you special, all by yourself? Feeding the chickens? Taking care of the cat? Wiping the table?” Guide them to choices you are ok with them doing by only suggesting tasks they are capable of doing.
When it was all said and done, my 4 1/2-year-old son now feeds the chickens and checks the cat food and water every morning. My 3-year-old daughter’s chores are to wipe the sink in the bathroom and water the container garden and/or vegetable garden outside. These are chores even preschoolers can do, and they feel so special having these areas of responsibility.
Show Young Children How to Do Their Chores
My children did each task together with Mom or Dad supervising the first day carefully, so that we could go one-by-one through each card and explain what was expected of them. The children saw Dad and I also using our chore cards with happy and cheerful attitudes, so as far as they know chores are fun! Ssshhhhh….don’t tell them any differently, ok?