Sunday, August 10, 2008
Want to ensure that your 30-something child isn't still living at home and expecting to be waited on hand and foot?
Get them started early with household chores.
Toddlers and preschoolers especially love to help. It is a great time to get them involved in helping out around the house, keep them from getting bored, and teach them new skills. It may take longer to do some things, but I'm convinced that it is worthwhile in the end (another example of long-term parenting). So far we've been doing this on an ad hoc basis, but am thinking of formalizing it more soon by giving our son some regular chores to take care of each day.
Some of the things that our 3 year old has enthusiastically helped out with are:
- Putting away the cutlery when unloading the dishwasher (take out any sharp knives first)
- Feeding the cat
- Setting the table (again, do the sharp knives yourself)
- Making pairs out of clean socks
- Helping with baking and cooking (generally dumping things into bowls, stirring, putting the little paper cups into the muffin tin)
- Putting the clothes into the dryer (we have a front loading dryer)
- Handing me clothes pegs when we're line drying things
- Helping out with renovation jobs by passing nails, screws or tools to Daddy
- Shovelling snow
- Vacuuming (see the picture...he literally grabbed the vacuum away from Daddy and insisted on finishing the job for him)
The one thing that we consistently have trouble getting him to do is cleaning up his own toys. He gets distracted playing with them while cleaning them up, so the process takes a long time and requires a lot of reminders. But everything else he is happy to help out with.
As our kids get older, I expect to have a list of chores that each of them is responsible for and plan to rotate them so that they both learn how to do all aspects of the household. There won't be any gender bias in the way that chores are handed out because I think it is important to teach girls to do physical jobs, outdoor jobs, and renovation projects and it is important to teach boys to help out around the house, clean, do laundry, and so on.