Sometimes it is so easy to get bogged down in the day to day life with young children, and I forget the big picture. The big picture for me is to first and foremost teach my children about the love Jesus has for us. Hands down, that is the most important. After that, though, I think it is so important to raise our kids in a way that they can be successful adults one day. I think learning responsibility, even at an early age, can play a HUGE role in their future success.
I’ve always loved the ‘don’t do for others what they can do for themselves’ mentality when it comes to teaching children. Sure, the socks might not get folded together exactly how I would like, but does that really matter? Is there really any eternal value in what socks look like folded? Absolutely not, but there IS eternal value in teaching our children how to function in this world and how to be responsible human beings.
Chores not only teach children to be responsible, but chores also teach children how to contribute to a group, in this case, a family unit. It is important to teach our children that life is not about them. Requiring children to contribute to the family helps teach them to see life beyond themselves. Let’s not even mention how this prepares them for future jobs!
I personally think that it is never too early to start implementing chores into your child’s life. I do think it is important to have age appropriate chores and age appropriate expectations. It is important to have chores your children can be successful in. You want this to be a positive experience! So, here are some chore ideas for you to teach your children. Remember, every child is different, so tailor each child’s responsibilities to what you believe is appropriate.
Chores for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Unload the dishwasher--I recommend starting with the utensils.
**Let's get some math practice in with SORTING!
Match socks--as they get older, have them actually fold the socks.
Fold rags and towels--This will not get done perfectly, so keep the big picture in mind.
Put laundry away
Clear place at table
Wipe table off
Help Sweep--I have Emma hold the dust pan.
Pick up toys
Pick up dirty clothes
Wipe down bathtub
Wipe off bathroom counter
Help vacuum--Emma likes to hold the cord for us while we vacuum. She also has a play vacuum that she uses to *help* vacuum.
Clean up messes--I think it is really important to not stress when children make a mess. We don't want to teach them to get upset if they make a mess. Instead, let's teach them to stay calm and clean up a mess they have made.
I hope these ideas inspire you to come up with different ways to have your young children contribute to your household. I know that it can be frustrating sometimes to not have things done exactly as you like, so try to keep the big picture in mind!