There are about a bazzillion charts and lists you can find about age appropriate chores. I don’t have that here. I do have advice on helping kids get started with chores and take responsibility for a certain task. Other than helping put dirty clothes in the basket and helping pick up toys after playing, I dont have my kiddos help with much before age 3. They just kind of do everything with me and I talk about it all while I do it. But, no one task is their resposibilty.
When Verity turned 4, I gave her the task of being the bathroom helper. Anytime I would walk in to the kid bathroom and see a mess or disorganization, I would send her in and give her just one task at a time. Put clothes in hamper. Close shower curtain. Throw kleenex in gargage can. Put brush in drawer. Use wipey to wipe toothpaste of the sink. I would give her one insturction over and over for weeks at a time until I could just send her in and ask her to get the bathroom cleaned up and ready for guest. I try to teach my girls that guests can come by at any minute and we want them to feel welcome by doing our best to be prepared. That only happens about 50% of the time but it sure is a task worth learning. Now, at age 5, I have Verity tackle bathroom duty in the morning just before leaving for school and just before bed. Then it stays in pretty good shape.
My favorite trick for getting the girls really going on cleaning their room is to use my iphone camera. I go in and take a starting picture and then sit in the livingroom (or wherever) and assign one task per girl. As soon as that task is done they get to take my phone in and take a picture and bring it back to show me. I then assign the next task and we continue on. They have the best time and it doesn’t seem to overwhelm them with EVERYTHING that there is to pick up at the end of the day. This idea came to me at the end of my third pregnancy. Sitting at the end of the day was about all I could muster…..so the phone trick it was. And it really continued to work well when I had a brand new little nursling always in my arms. These days, I just tend to sit in their room and give them pointers and suggestions and I pick one of the assignments to do myself so that we can all work together to get it done.
At age 3 and 5 the girls share the task of sweeping the floor. I have a broom that is about 3 feet tall and a dustpan with a long 3 foot handle on it that is upright. Verity does the sweeping and Nora follows her around with the dustpan for V to sweep the crumbs in to. It is funny to listen to them try to work together and accomplish the task. Nora’s gross and fine motor skills are improving by the day, so this task will just get easier and easier.
As far as laundry goes, Verity does the washing and drying (with help as needed) and I do the folding of the clothes. Nora folds small towels and wash cloths and they both put away their own stacks of clothes. I divide up the clothes and they just take one stack per drawer at a time. This gives us a little higher success rate of getting the garments in the right drawer. Things dont stay perfectly folded, and that is not my goal. My goal is willing obedience to help and take responisbilty. In time, keeping their clothes wrinkle free will be a concern of theirs…..or not.
Nora is 3 and is my helper right before dinner getting the table set. She can’t reach the dishes so I set them out for her on the counter and she sets the table. At lunch and breakfast I choose one girl to serve and they take the dished up meals to each person. They LOVE getting to be the one who serves.
What chores do you have your young ones help with? I know that this will be a contant ebb and flow of tasks as my girls get older and can do more. I really like to focus on a cheerful heart and willing obedience with helping. That is a skill all in its self.
Happy Teaching. Happy Homemaking!