Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chores For Little Ones

My kids are 2.5 and 6 years old. It's about time they earn their keep around here, wouldn't you agree? {wink}

Seriously, they are both old enough now to lend a helping hand. Teaching them to help around the house not only relieves some of my household duties, but it teaches them responsibility, teamwork, and how to take care of their belongings. I appreciate their help so much, and when I praise them for pitching in they are motivated to help me willingly more often, and that makes everyone happy.

We don't keep a chore chart. I simply ask my children to help as needed, offering them direction and guidance, and *sometimes* a treat as an incentive. Chore charts are great, but I really want my kids to know chores are something we do not because they're on a checklist but because it helps the family function peacefully. 

Little ones should always be supervised while doing chores, and your expectations of their abilities should be realistic. I know that when my 6 year old makes her bed the blankets might be a little lumpy, and it's okay. And when my 2 year old puts spoons in the silverware drawer they might be upside down, and it's okay. Even though it might not be exactly right, I would much rather have happy helpful children than an unhelpful or obsessive children! Practice makes perfect and praise makes peace.

top ten list
Ten Chores My Kids Can Do

1. Unload the dishwasher. I let my 2year old take cups and bowls out of the dishwasher, wipe them dry, and put them in the lower cabinet.

2. Throw dirty clothes into the washing machine. My little ones help move dirty clothes from the hamper, into sorted piles (colors, whites, and towels), and into the machine.

3. Sweep the floors. With a handheld broom, little ones can sweep debris into a corner for Mom to put in the dustpan. It might take them longer than it would take you, but that's okay.

4. Make their bed. Pulling the top blanket up over the bed and putting pillows neatly at the head of the bed is easy enough. We have been teaching to make their beds first thing every day. And teaching by example, too!

5. Clean windows. With a cloth and a spray bottle of vinegar and water solution, little ones can help clean their own fingerprints off of the insides of lower windows and glass doors.

6. Wipe down bathroom counters and mirrors. The same vinegar-water solution will get toothpaste smudges and fingerprints off of mirrors and countertops.

7. Tidy the backyard toys. Balls, ride-on toys, toy lawnmowers, and sidewalk chalk all has it's place in the yard. My little ones are capable of putting their outside toys back where they belong.

8. Feed pets. Our kids take great pride in being responsible for feeding our two dogs twice each day. A simple little chore but it's so helpful and the dogs love them for it!

9. Water plants. What child wouldn't love pouring a big cup of water into the potted indoor plants? Or even spraying outdoor plants with the waterhose?

10. Bring in the mail. We have a shared mailbox with a key. The mail comes about the same time every day and my kids love to take turns going to open the mailbox and bring in the mail. They are even starting to sort it into piles and take the junk mail to the recycle bin. Another small chore that they love to help with!

Make the most of your opportunity to teach your little ones household chores. Make it fun and remember to give high-fives after a job well done! 

"She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, 
   and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her; 
   her husband joins in with words of praise..."

Proverbs 31:28-29 The Message