The earlier you introduce your child to housework, the easier it will be to get them to help out in the future and the stronger lessons they will learn. In the early developmental stages of life, we have to be realistic and know that the point of chores isn’t that the child is doing the chore, but that they are learning from it. Here are five of the best chores for preschoolers and toddlers.
1. Picking Up Around the House
Picking up around the house is a chore that can help teach organization and tidiness. Everything has a place and everything should go back to its “home” when it’s done being used or played with. Let your child pick up the napkins or a plastic cup that is empty off of the dinner table. Ask them to always put a toy away after it’s done being used. They may take it right back out in about two minutes, but at least the habit will start to form!
2. Taking Care of the Family Pet
Pets are great for teaching children to think of others and their needs. We all know the pet actually depends on us rather than our toddlers, but your child doesn’t know that. So, if they feel like the hero, even better! Let them put a scoop of food in the dog bowl or carrots in the guinea pig’s cage. Tell them that those little animals’ lives depend on us!
3. Maintaining the House
Get your child excited about simple tasks around the house. This teaches them that we can work hard for something and see the results of it. Even if they don’t really understand the concept, you are planting the seeds and habits for their future. Give your child a little cleaning sock for their hands and have them go around to different places in the house to wipe away dust and make it disappear.
4. Cleaning Up Messes
Cleaning up our own messes teaches that we are responsible for our own actions. They should never assume that someone is always going to come by and clean up their messes. Let them know that, if they need help, they can ask for help. For any spills or accidents that your child has, teach them the habit of cleaning it up as soon as the mess is made.
5. Helping with Groceries
Children can help you bring in the groceries. We adults probably have that habit of being the superhero and carrying all the bags in on one trip, but even a superhero can have a sidekick! What this chore teaches is the habit of helping someone out. Give your child a non-perishable, unbreakable item to carry. They can hold a cereal box or a bag of chips in their arms. This teamwork allows them to help you master the grocery dilemma!
Remember, the point isn’t about your child just getting chores done (or even done perfectly), but that they are learning the habit of taking responsibility. The best chores for preschoolers and toddlers are the ones that teach them how to respect themselves, others, and their home.