Children can learn so much from participating in all household jobs. Why didn’t I call them chores? Because chores are seen as negative and they are often said as a punishment. As a child, helping to care for the household with your family members is empowering and connecting.Participating with home jobs helps children learn about what they need to do to care of themselves and for their future lives (helping to make them self-sufficient). When children contribute to family life, it allows them to feel part of the big picture and fills them with confidence for their future. Housekeeping indoors and outdoors teaches children communication, time management and has the possibility of enhancing all areas of development.For example, builds receptive language by following directions and strengthens fine motor skills by using their hands. When you all work together it fills a child with a strong sense of belonging. This feeling will help to build confidence and decision making in their future.

It’s best to start by choosing activities that match with their age and abilities. Even young children can assist around the house. You want to set up a nonjudgmental environment so that the child feels successful. If we complain or pick at the job they will feel incompetent and hesitant to keep helping.

Below are ideas for household activities by age:

Toddlers (2-3 years)

  • Pick up toys with a parent
  • Carry out recycling
  • Set placemats on the dinner table
  • Throw out napkin at end of meal and put plate in sink
  • Use a spray bottle of water to wipe down table and chairs
  • Pull up the blanket on their bed
  • Place dirty clothes in hamper

Preschoolers (4-5 years)

  • Set up and clear the table for meals
  • Help with preparing meals, with parents help
  • Put clean clothes away and sort socks
  • Wash dishes and place items in dishwasher
  • Wash counter and table
  • Help with grocery shopping and putting away items

School-age children (6-11 years)

  • Clean out their backpack
  • Water plants inside and outside
  • Help with clothes, folding and washing
  • Take out trash and recycling
  • Help with choosing meals and preparations
  • Assist in cleaning out the car
  • Vacuum or sweep floors
  • Clean the bathroom sink and cabinets
  • Yard work with parents

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