I recently saw a funny video called “Why Moms Get Nothing Done.” As the mom dutifully folded and put away her toddler’s clothes, the child threw them out. As the mom put clothes into the dryer, the toddler threw them out. As the mom put toys back into the box… well, you get the idea.
As a parent, it can feel like most of the day is spent cleaning up. No matter how often you sweep, there’s still another pile waiting for you. No matter how often you wipe down the table, there’s still a streak of yogurt. At some point, we all feel like we need help!
Enter: Your kids. Okay, okay. Stop laughing. Kids as young as two can begin to help with simple chores around the house, like clearing their own plate from the table or putting their shoes away when they come home. In addition to taking a bit of the load off of you, it also fosters independence and important life skills.
Briana Weber, Program Coordinator at Tumbleweed Infant House in Portland, explained that young children are fascinated by what the adults around them are doing. “When they are given the tools and permission to care for the world around them, they take away a pride in their work and a heightened sense of awareness of what their own skills are.”
She also noted that doing chores can help form the building blocks of more complex knowledge. For instance, washing dishes can form the basis for logical sequencing. Folding laundry involves visual discrimination, sorting and coordination.
Of course, they won’t be perfect at their jobs right away—but even that can be a good thing! As Briana explained, “Working through the process of mastering a skill includes failing a few times. This encourages perseverance, following a logical sequence of events and sometimes learning something new along the way.”
Looking for ideas of what chores would work best for your children? Check out these age-appropriate recommendations below, or click here for a printable PDF.