Is it too soon to start chores for your little one?
I don't think so! As soon as your little one is able to pick up things and put them away...they are ready for chores! I had mine start chores as soon as 18-24 mos. Why? Because chores teaches children that they are part of a unit (your family) and that together, you contribute to the well-being of the family dynamic. It also teaches children the importance of responsibility and pride in their work.
I personally don't pay an allowance for chores. Contributing to the family unit is part of being a family. Just like I don't get paid to cook dinners. :) I'll find other ways to give them "jobs", but each child has their own list of chores to do each day, based on their age. And they do them as part of the family. It's worked great for our family.
I often get asked for a list of chores suggestions, so here's a list to get you started. Think of things that YOU do for your child and consider what they can do for themselves. Give them the power and the confidence to do things, as part of the family.
18 mos – 3 years old
- Putting shoes away
- Putting their laundered clothes in their drawers
- Handing you their meal dishes
- Helping load the dishwasher
- Putting their toys away
- Helping put yard toys away
- Making their bed
- Putting their dirty laundry in the laundry basket
- Bathing and drying (supervised for bath safety)
3 years – 6 years old
- All of the above
- Rinsing meal plates (with the aid of a stool)
- Sorting laundry
- Watering plants
- Picking up family dog poop from yard (use a doggie bag)
6 – 9 years old
- Light bathroom cleaning
- Unloading dishwasher
- Loading dishwasher
- Hand-washing dishes
9-12 years old
- Washing family pets
- Folding laundry
- Racking leaves
- Mowing lawn
- Assisting with garden
- Cooking light meals
Chores are a valuable learning opportunity for children and a great way to teach responsibility and community contribution within the family unit. It's an important step towards Positive Parenting.