Let’s talk about something that often leaves most young parents scratching their heads – age-appropriate chores. We stand strongly by the saying “It takes a village”. Raising a family and running a household is one of the trickiest jobs there is, and all parents can agree that many hands make light work. We believe in raising children with bucketloads of empathy and love, as this creates little humans who are always willing to lend a helping hand and assist those around them.
Now you may be asking, “But, how do I raise a helper?”. We’re here to answer that!
The Early Years
More Than Just Nappy Changes
Before we dive in, let’s address that myth –
You know, the one that suggests that toddlers are a bit like royalty. They get their food served, clothes laundered, and rooms tidied up, all while they sleep soundly, or play, or cause general chaos. Yes, those adorable little cheeks can be deceiving!
But guess what? Young children can (and should) have their own mini-responsibilities. We’re not talking about ‘doing the dishes’ here, but rather small, age-appropriate tasks that can set the groundwork for independence and confidence.
Infancy (0-1): Baby Chores?
You’re probably chuckling to yourself now, thinking, “Surely my little angel, who can barely hold her bottle, can’t do chores?”.
Well, this is what we mean by ‘chores’ for infants:
- Enjoying tummy time: This adorable ‘chore’ will develop their neck and shoulder strength, preparing them for bigger tasks like crawling and walking.
- Reaching out for toys: Make a game of it, encouraging your little one to stretch out their arms to grab their toys or teddies.
- Holding the bottle: We know it might be a bit messy at first, but they’ll get the hang of it.
With these basic skills under their baby belt, they’re all set for the fun (and learning) that toddlerhood brings.
Toddlerhood (1-3): Little Hands, Big Help
At this age, their cute, little fingers become quite proficient and can be put to good use:
- Cleaning up toys: Make it a fun activity with sing-along cleanup songs and dances.
- Feeding themselves: In the beginning, there will be more on the floor than in their mouth, but soon you will see them getting better and better.
- Dressing up: Let them pick out their clothes and even attempt to put them on. They might look like they’ve been styled by a colour-blind octopus, but hey, it’s a start!
Pre-Schoolers (3-4): Budding Responsibility Champions
Now, the little ones are ready to take on slightly more complex tasks.
It’s all about keeping them engaged and making the chores feel like fun.
- Watering plants: Trust us, no watering can is too big for a determined toddler!
- Sorting laundry: They can help with sorting clothes by colour. As a bonus, this can be a brilliant way to introduce them to different colours.
- Setting the table: Let them help with non-breakable items. Yes, the spoons might end up on the wrong side, but with time all things can be taught.
Remember, the goal here isn’t to turn them into mini housekeepers, but to help them build confidence, independence, and a sense of responsibility. As parents, these are life skills we all want our children to have, and there’s no time like the present to start!
Every child is different and it’s okay if your little one is more interested in building a tower out of cereal boxes than tidying up their play area.
Just keep encouraging them, keep it fun, and remember to high-five them for their efforts.🙏