Assigning children regular chores helps teach them responsibility, and is also a great way to build confidence and self-esteem in your child.
Remember when you were a child? Odds are, your parents gave you weekly chores, from washing the dishes to feeding the pets. For some reason, the delegation of chores has skipped a generation, with many households not giving young children responsibilities that are actually beneficial to their development.
Delegating chores to preschool children is a great way to build confidence, self-esteem, responsibility, and a sense of belonging in your child. Children get the feeling that you trust their abilities when you give them tasks, and the sense of accomplishment is huge when they complete a task successfully.
Children who start doing chores early in their lives learn how to take care of themselves and that tasks are shared between family members. If you don’t assign them some chores in the early years, it will be much harder to expect your teenage son to clean up his room or make himself a quick meal.
At what age can children start helping around the house?
There are lots of chores you can assign to four- and five-year-olds. Their understanding of language is developed enough to clearly understand what you are trying to communicate, and their mental and physical skills are sufficient for them to do certain tasks.
What are good chores for children?
Here are a few things you can assign to your pre-schooler:
- Laundry duty: Your little one can put the laundry into the washing basket and help you to sort the different colours.
- Kitchen tasks: Let your child carry certain items to the kitchen sink, especially their own plates, cutlery, and cups. You can also ask them to take some things out of the fridge to pass to you while you’re cooking. If you trust your child with the plates, ask her to set the table. She can also help you make breakfast. Ask her to whisk the eggs for French toast.
- Making beds and tidying rooms: At this age, your child won’t be able to make a bed perfectly, but just asking her to pull the duvet neat at the corners is already a big help. Teach her to pack her books and toys away as well.
- Helping in the garden: Gardening is a fun family activity. Get your child her own set of gardening equipment to help you put seeds in the ground and for shovelling, etc. She can also rake up leaves and water the plants.
Ground rules for chores
- Look at your child’s capabilities first before assigning chores. If she is a little clumsy, for example, don’t let her carry plates or glasses.
- Remember that you can’t just assign a chore to your child without her ever having done it before. Take the time to show her how to do it first.
- Encourage and praise your child. If at first she doesn’t succeed at a task, show her again how to do it and let her know that you are confident that she can accomplish the task successfully.
- You can give your child a special treat every now and again for helping out, or some parents give pocket money – it’s completely up to you.
- Make the chores fun and part of everyday life.