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Easy Ways to Involve Young Kids in Household Chores

I was out and about last week and a friend and I were talking about the tasks my soon-to-be 3 year-old helps with around the house.  A sweet little lady overheard and proudly stated, “That is WAY too young to be giving her chores, my dear.

So I did a little survey of my Mama friends and was surprised to learn that several of us are not asking for help from our kiddos very often. As a Mama who fully embraces giving kids responsibility at a young age, I encourage you to transfer some of the shining stars on your very full chore chart over to your kids!

Many Hands Make Light Work

the easiest cookies to bake EVER!

I don’t know about you, but I am beyond thankful to have an extra set of hands.  Most days, I wish I had more hours in the day to tackle my ‘to-do’ list, so a helper is much appreciated.

I love having my daughter beside me in those big and little tasks, but more importantly, I feel it is important for her to have responsibilities even at her young age. I believe it fosters significance and helps her create an understanding of her role in our family.

My desire is that having these responsibilities early on will set her up for creating lifelong habits and discipline in all areas of life. I want her to learn how important it is to be responsible and serve others. I want her to take initiative and jump in when things need taken care of. So…we tackle our household tasks together.

Where to Start

My philosophy is simple: I think pretty much anything that is age appropriate (and safe) for your kids is fair game!

Before you develop your ‘chore’ list, it is important to take each child’s personalities and capabilities into consideration – their age and stage.  My daughter has a little vacuum and loves to pretend. Her play broom and dustpan come out of the closet frequently. She loves packing bags, organizing and sorting, so I take full advantage of the stage she’s in.

There are easy ways to include your kids in just about every chore on your list. Start by breaking down some of your regular tasks into kid-friendly pieces that work for both of you. Try it out, then adjust as necessary.

Love the kid carts at Trader Joes!

Grocery Shopping

  • Menu planning: Talk about menus and make a list of what everyone wants to eat.
  • List making: Younger kids can talk about colors and shapes, or food groups. Older kids help by writing out the list.
  • At the store, help identify items with younger kids; for older kids, use a pen and cross items off the list.
  • Carry bags in and help put away items upon return home.

Laundry

  • Help identify and sort laundry: Make a warm pile and a cold pile. Take turns and place in correct baskets or piles. (For wee ones, even finding the tag on each piece is helpful; for older kids, read labels and identify warm or cold.)
  • Put clothing in machine. Press buttons. Measure detergent. Take laundry out.
  • Fold laundry & put away. We often have races with the folded laundry and take turns putting things away in the right places.

Dishes

  • Set the table: Identify utensils and proper place settings.
  • Clear plates and items from table. Put back in fridge or cupboard. Put dirty dishes on counter or in the sink.
  • Load/unload the dishwasher. Put items back in place. Older kids can hand-wash dishes & dry, then put away.

Red velvet cupcakes for Aunt Steph!

Meal Preparation & Baking

  • Identify needed ingredients in the cupboard or fridge. Talk about colors, shapes, food groups, and practice counting.
  • Food preparation: Mom can chop/cut fruits & veggies and the kids can put them in the prep bowl.
  • Identify utensils. Measure and stir ingredients. Pour into muffin tins or larger pans.
  • Spoon food into serving bowls. Deliver to table.

Granted, some of those tasks might take longer with your child’s help, but those together times and teachable moments are memories we won’t ever regret.

What ways do you involve your kids in those numerous household chores? Leave a comment below!

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5 Responses to Easy Ways to Involve Young Kids in Household Chores

  1. Claresmama
    Claresmama January 30, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    From Anita A:  I recently went to a conference and heard author and “reading guru”, Richard Allington.  These ideas that Sarah has shared were also echoed by Mr. Allington as ways to increase your child’s literacy/academic experience.  Naming objects, knowing colors, increasing vocabulary, understanding concepts of money (my children have heard many times ‘we can’t buy that brand cause it costs too much money’!), learning letters, etc. are all experiences that children will need to be successful.  As a teacher, I can also echo the importance of responsibilities/chores.  As students move into the school years, they will be expected to complete tasks without the teacher’s help – 1 teacher, 26 students. .. . bring on the independence!

  2. JodiZeaPeterson January 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    We have started to get my boys helping more too.  Taking their plate over after a meal.  Putting away the silverware.  Even using my norwex cloths and “cleaning” the windows.  We have also started doing an allowance which is earned based on them doing their “chores” Oh and putting their clothes away in their drawers.  
    And doesn’t it take your breath away to say your almost 3 year old?  At least it does for me and mine isn’t far behind.

  3. CarlyLedbetterSchultz January 30, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    Great post!  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have your children start doing chores at a young age.   I started having my oldest do chores around the age of 2.  I know that seems young to most but they were always age appropriate and helped her understand she was an important helper in our home.   Now my girls are 6 and 3 ½ and have a list of chore they do daily.  They have the opportunity to earn an allowance and even do extra chores around the house to earn special rewards (date with Mom or Dad, ice cream outing, etc).    Simple chores such as making their beds, cleaning their rooms, cleaning the play room and putting away laundry not only help lighten my load as a mom but it also helps teach them personal responsibility.   At the end of each week we sit down as a family and have an allowance meeting.  It gives us the chance to talk to the girls about saving, tithing, and spending.  They divide their money up and set goals.  It has been so awesome to see them decide to forgo candy bars and small impulse buys in order to save for something bigger.  The benefits of having your children do chores are endless and it is never too late to start! 🙂

    • Claresmama
      Claresmama January 31, 2013 at 12:14 am #

      @CarlyLedbetterSchultz  Those are GREAT ideas! I love the weekly meeting thing! Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment!

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