Children can learn to do household chores at a young age. Even toddlers can be taught to pick up their clothes and toys and put them away.
Preschool-aged children should be doing a wider variety of household chores. In our home, I keep my preschoolers' chore list short and simple, but they have come a long way in learning to clean up after themselves.
Not too long ago, I was still helping my four-year-olds get dressed in the morning. That was one of the first tasks to be put on their chore chart! I thought if I made it a "chore", and that if doing chores would earn them a special reward, then they would be more motivated to get themselves dressed in the morning, and I was right.
Another chore I have my preschoolers do is put their dishes in the sink after they eat, including scraping their plates into the garbage can first. The first couple of times I had to remind them to do it after they ate, but very quickly it became a new habit for them and they started doing it without even thinking about it.
Young children have a way of making your home look like a tornado tore through it. Picking up all their toys day after day gets really tiring, and some days I just want to give up. I don't make my boys pick up every single toy laying around the house, but every afternoon I have them do a general cleanup to get most of their toys put away where they belong. If you label containers for them, this exercise is also a great way for teaching them simple words as they look for the correct container to put away their toys.
At night time my boys put on their own pajamas and brush their own teeth. There are many rinses available that make brushing teeth fun for kids...who wouldn't want their teeth to turn blue!? My boys look forward to brushing their teeth every night.
Every night before bed my boys get to choose a small toy from a "treasure" box I put together to reward them for doing their chores. This box is full of small plastic lizards, frogs, stickers, temporary tattoos, and other small toys. You would think a child wouldn't go to all that trouble just for a small temporary tattoo, but you would be surprised. The novelty still hasn't worn off for my kids, even after several months. They really look forward to picking out their treasure every night.
My main goal in choosing these simple chores for my children was to have them start doing the things for themselves that I do for them day after day. It frees up more of my time for other household chores, and they are learning to take more responsibility for taking care of themselves.
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