The Importance of Chores
When supporting the development of our children’s life-skills and independence, the biggest barrier we face as parents is that it’s often faster and easier to just to do it ourselves.
The holidays are a great time to introduce / reinforce the concept of chores and allow children to do more for themselves without the time pressure of normal, crazy daily routines.
Having responsibilities and completing chores, is an important part of giving our children the skills they need as they get older.
Daily and weekly chores help to teach our children discipline and the importance of routines. They lay the foundation for many life lessons – from practical skills to responsibility and contributing to the family / class / group unit.
Chores allow children to learn responsibility, to follow multiple-step instructions and help them to develop a good work ethic that will help them later on. Completing chores also allows children to feel competent, capable and needed. It allows them to feel like they have a valuable role to play in the home – all of this can boost their self-esteem.
Many research studies have proven that children who engage in chores from a young age tend to be happier and more successful later in life, as they learn to work for what they want and not expect to just get what they want.
A fun way to add chores to the home routine is to have chore cards (chores written onto cards/ picture of chores on cards) – children then chose appropriate chores at random out of a box and complete these daily. They can earn rewards for completing their chores, i.e. some screen time, a sweet treat, an extra story at bedtime, a special game to play with mom or dad etc…this way they are rewarded for their hard work and can earn their ‘spoils’.
List of Age Appropriate Chores and responsibilities 3 – 4 / 4-5 years
- Put pyjamas / dirty clothes in the wash.
- Help make bed / make the bed – This may require some guidance – puff pillows, pull duvet straight etc…
- Prepare all they need for their bath.
- Bring out cup /water bottle from the bedroom.
- Get dressed – For a younger child, perhaps they can simply retrieve items of clothing. Also, you can lay out the clothes the night before and use a visual schedule to prompt
- Help to set the table / Set the table.
- Carry their bowls / plates to the sink.
- Wipe down the table (for taller kids) or the chairs (for smaller kids) with wet washcloths.
- Stack dishwasher / unpack dishwasher.
- Use a small dustpan and broom to sweep under the table.
- Sweep the patio/ kitchen.
- Rake or pick up leaves.
- Wipe windows or doors from the outside.
- Collect toys from the garden and pack away.
- Tidy toys away after playing.
- Keep bedroom / playroom tidy.
- Weed flowerbeds or gardens.
- Help to wash cars or outdoor toys.
- Care for pets – fill water bowls with a jug, brush them, scoop dry food into bowls.
- Carry own bags.
- Carry groceries in from the car.
- Unpack groceries.
- Dust furniture.
- Wipe down kitchen cabinets and refrigerator door.
- Hang up small washing items, cloths, underwear, shorts, etc..
- Fold laundry. Practice folding washcloths, hand towels, small shirts, match socks etc…
- Hang shirts/dresses on hangers