How to Introduce Young Kids to Chores

If you are like me, you spend your days doing chores, picking up the same crap over and over again, every. single. day. This gets so old, so fast, and while it is part of the job description, I don’t believe in being a slave to my family’s messes.

About a year ago, when Piper came along, Addie really took an interest in helping me. Unfortunately, a lot of the things she wanted to do she couldn’t because she was too small. This led me to come up with a few daily chores that not only she could do on her own, but also that were helpful to me throughout the day.

When choosing chores for your little ones I have a few tips.

1) Keep their abilities in mind.

Try not to give them a task that is too daunting and will frustrate them. Chores are already lacking in the fun department and adding frustration to the task will only make them less inclined to do theirs with a good attitude.

2) What makes them tick. 

Addie is a born nurturer so doing things that help others makes her feel good (i.e., feeding the dog).

3A) Don’t expect perfection.

Remember that in the beginning, you are laying the groundwork. You are teaching your kids that they have a responsibility to your family to do their part. Whatever it is, in the beginning, it won’t be pretty. If they are sweeping, they probably won’t get all of the crap off the floor, and if they are making their bed, it will be wrinkled.

3B) Don’t fix their work.

As tempting as it is, they will notice if you are behind them with the Shark getting the stuff they missed on the floor. They will see that their bed isn’t made the way they did it. Unless they ask for help, I find it’s best to let what they do be good enough because it hurts their feelings if we micromanage. Be OK with imperfection!

4) Mix it up.

Let’s be real, chores suck. I usually listen to music while I do dishes etc. It just makes it more enjoyable. Make cleaning up a game. Set a timer and try to pick up toys before the time is up. Make picking up dirty clothes an “I spy” game.

and lastly,

5) Start young.

Piper is one now, and a few months ago Addie and I started showing her how to put her toys away in her basket. This not only lays a little foundation for when she gets older, but it also builds motor skills. If cleaning up after we play is just something we do, it becomes a habit and sticks most of the time. I occasionally have to remind Addie to pick up her craft stuff or Barbies on lazy days, but it is pretty much second nature with her.

As with everything else in life, you have to read your kid and go at their speed. These are just things that work for our family.

What are some chores you give your little ones?

Ashley McCardia
Ashley McCardia is a homeschooling mom of 2 little girls who blogs at A Party of Four, offering tips on raising kids, being married and all the nitty gritty things jammed in between. For more on what's happening with Ashley's Party of Four, you can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

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