Monday, February 7, 2011
What Chores Can Kids Tackle?
Probably more than you'd think. Beginning with toddlers, who incidentally are the PERFECT candidates for household chore help...what with their almost overflowing desire to please adults and "Eelp!" mom, our job as parents is to instill the importance of keeping the house in working order as well as responsibilities...all while fostering a sense of empowerment in our children. Now, ALLOWING the help may take you longer. It may slow you down. But the boost of confidence it gives your munchkin to be a valuable part of the family (everyone, including a child, loves to feel needed), the look on his face when he gets it right, and not to mention the magical event of a self-cleaning room (kind of) will be well worth your efforts.
So how to go about doing it?
Here are some age appropriate chores too divy out to our little angels:
-Help make their bed.
-Pick up toys (with supervision)
-Help sort laundry (big clothes and little clothes)
-Dusting (perhaps start by slipping Daddy's sock over his hand and teaching him the basics)
-Food prep (mixing batter, helping "measure" ingredients, frosting cookies, etc.)
-Setting the table (plastic, please!)
-Sweeping and vacuuming alongside mom
-Putting away groceries (learn about all sorts of shapes and colors in the process!)
NOTE FOR PARENTS: At this age, sticker charts may not be necessary, but be sure to LAVISH on the praise! And...as always, make sure your number one helper is out of the room before you start filling in spots he missed while dusting. :)
-Making their bed with little parental help
-Matching socks in the laundry
-Hang up towels in the bathroom
-Clean the floors with a dry mop
-Carrying and putting away groceries
NOTE FOR PARENTS: For our adorable little lovers of new adventures, the thrill of learning something new may be reason enough to make chores fun. Physical rewards at this age are very motivating. A sticker chart or, for some preschoolers, a small allowance may be just the ticket to make chores into something fun and give the kids a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
AGE 6-8: (In addition to the chores already laid out above)
-Make their beds by themselves
-Brush their teeth
-Choose their fashion-forward outfit for the day and get dressed by themselves.
-Be responsible for taking care of a pet
-Vacuum and mop (for reals :)
-Take out the trash
-Put away dishes from dishwasher
-Answer phones (with supervision)
-Fold (with supervision) and put away laundry
-Write thank you notes (love this one)
NOTE FOR PARENTS: Kids, at this age, most likely won't have that budding excitement to "help" as they did before. Instead, that is replaced with an overwhelming desire to be independent. "MO-OM! I can do it myself!" At this point, make use of a chore chart to keep track of responsibilities. The chart will also be a gentle reminder without you having to nag (as much).
BUT...and that's a big BUT...every child's different. And millions of moms have been using millions of combinations of ingenuity, patience, and discipline to get this whole "chore" machine well-oiled and working throughout the years. The most important thing is to DO IT! Chores are invaluable for instilling confidence, a healthy attitude about work, and basically how to be a good adult in the future (which really is our ultimate goals as parents, right?)
So now, I'd like to hear from all you brilliant guys and gals...
What have you done with your own kids? And what kinds of new ideas are you forging to make your current system work even better?