Some people are surprised that my toddlers do chores.
My children recently turned three so maybe they’re not truly toddlers anymore, but basically I’ve had them doing age appropriate chores since they started walking. Actually, I’m going to change my wording. Let’s not use the word chores, but say my children do their part in our household. Chores just sounds like a negative word, don’t you think?
Truthfully, I believe it’s the parent’s role to ensure their children grow up to contribute positively to society. I believe one of the best ways to do this is to encourage a sense of responsibility within our children at as young an age as possible.
Most parents love the idea of giving their kids responsibilities.
Parenting experts even suggest that having responsibilities is an integral part to feeling needed and as though one is a contributor to the family, no matter what the age. But knowing where to start and understanding what your children are capable of can be challenging. The truth is toddlers are capable of much more than adults often give them credit for. And my experience has been that given the opportunity, kids enjoy helping!
So where to begin?
Start with basic expectations.
If your toddler is capable of picking up and putting down a toy, they are able to pick up and put down a piece of laundry. Have your toddler place their pj’s in a laundry bin each morning. Create the expectation that this is simply what people do, which is true! Will they always remember on their own? Next to never. Will it be done perfectly? Absolutely not. But will they learn by doing these chores and be helpful? You bet! As my children moved closer to two, I started to ask my children to carry their cups and plates to the kitchen for me. As they got closer to three (and were taller), I began to notice that often they would walk by me and put the cup or plate into the sink by themselves. In short, don’t delay! Kids learn by doing.
Encourage participation not perfection.
Believe it or not, it’s not unrealistic to ask toddlers to pick up after themselves! But it is totally unrealistic to expect them to remember on their own and put everything away perfectly. So praise the willingness and participation! Even if your child waits till halfway through the cleanup to join in, praise and thank them for their help! Overtime this builds momentum. The key here is to be creating positive habits.
End nagging with consistency.
If you’re consistent with the expectation that your children are responsible for picking up after themselves than the nagging will end on its own. Or rather, if you start when your kids are toddlers, the nagging will be minimal from the start.
Giving responsibility creates trust.
By giving your children basic chores and responsibilities, it gives them the opportunity to show they can be trusted to follow through on tasks. This in turns helps them to develop a sense of self-confidence and pride. Again, I only have three-year-olds but I imagine only good things can come from building trust within my children at this young age.
Chore charts and allowances?
Personally, chore charts and allowances aren’t for us. Chore charts and allowances can suggest a need for incentives in exchange for doing one’s part. And for us, that is not a part of our values. I want to raise children who are responsible regardless of reward or consequence.
Some may argue that allowance in and of itself teaches responsibility, but personally I would rather deal in terms of ‘pocket money‘ and teach my children money management. But I’ll write more on this subject at a later time!
So has your child had their first birthday? Time for basic
chores responsibilities! Share your thoughts in the comments 🙂