Chores: Start Them Early And Often

I am a big fan of giving kids chores, and lots of them.  Chores can help kids feel involved, and help parents feel like they are not alone in the care and running of the household.  Chores also give kids a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.  Granted, assigning chores can come with some serious opposition and digging in of heels, but by expecting involvement from a young age, the arguments over chores can be diminished.  Once established, a good family chore routine can make everyone’s life a little easier.

I think many of us parents are guilty of under-estimating what our kids are capable of doing. We assume that they can’t cook, clean up, or put their clothes away just because they don’t do it of their own free will.  Well, of course they don’t! Who doesn’t want to be waited on like royalty?  The problem is, part of becoming a self-sufficient adult (which is the end-goal of childhood) is learning how to do those things for yourself.  So, I say: start chores early and often.

As soon as kids are able to walk and understand a bit of what you say, you can start asking them to put things away.  Of course, it won’t happen right away, but starting in early toddlerhood gets both you and your little one in some good habits.

Lori Gottlieb recently wrote about how she “outsources” chores to her young son.  For ideas on how she does it, check out her article in Working Mother Magazine

Here are some other ideas for tasks little ones can do:

  • Help change laundry from washer to dryer, etc
  • Bring dirty clothes basket to the laundry room
  • Help unload the dishwasher
  • Empty trashcans
  • Make their bed
  • Put away their laundry
  • Set the table
  • Water houseplants
  • Assist in bringing in groceries from the car
  • Get the newspaper and/or mail
  • Put away their own toys
  • Sweep the floor
  • Wipe down the dinner table
  • Feed the family pets
  • Help pack their own lunches



Chores: They’re Never Too Young to Start Them

OK, maybe my 4 month old is a bit young to start changing his own diaper or dusting his room, but not by much!  Chores are great for kids and families for several reasons: they teach them responsibility and make your load a bit lighter (at least in theory).  Parents often underestimate what their kids can do for themselves, and the variety of ways they can help throughout the home.  I was recently quoted in an article about chores in the Yuma Sun.  Check it out:

So how does a parent choose chores for their kids?  Perhaps you should start with the things you don’t like to do! Putting laundry away, emptying all or part of the dishwasher, sweeping the kitchen – these are all tasks that even very young kiddos can complete.

Need some help staying organized?  Check out this cool website that offers free chore charts.