Keeping up with household chores is a struggle for almost anyone, but especially for mothers of young children. Just as soon as a room is tidied or a chore is completed, there is someone or something undoing your hard work. You could spend all day walking around picking up after your kids- and sometimes that’s exactly what happens!
Some household work might even be beyond your skills and require a professional, however that is hopefully an infrequent occurrence. What you might not realize, though, is that one of your most helpful resources in the fight against the mess actually has a hand in creating the chaos!
Engaging your children in household chores is a great way to minimize the burden of housework. It may seem like you’re opening a can of worms by entrusting certain duties to your kids, which is why it is essential to choose age-appropriate tasks that are suitable for your child’s abilities.
How to Choose the Chores
Children aged 0-2 will probably help the most if they are keeping watch from a play area or riding piggyback on you to help tone your legs. If you are missing your fitness classes, snug your baby up to your back or bosom and try some vacuuming lunges!
Ages 2-3 are likely ready to begin assisting you with real chores. For these little ones, showing them how and helping them complete a task will get the ball rolling, and you might be surprised how quickly they catch one! Ask them to help you pick up toys and put them in the toy box. They can gather up dirty laundry with you and help carry it to the hamper. If you’re making chocolate chip cookies, hand your kiddo the ball of dough for each cookie and show them where to place it on the cookie sheet.
Around the ages of 4 and 5, kids can start to take on more complex duties. They will likely be able to dress themselves without help, and possibly even pick out their own clothing if you’re feeling adventurous. Children at this stage can help set the table and assist with simple meal preparation duties like pouring measured ingredients into a mixing bowl and washing produce. Have too many grocery bags to carry out of the car? Hand the lighter bags without fragile items to your youngsters and let them carry those inside for you. Folding laundered towels and washcloths is a good task at this time as well.
After 5 years of age, it’s a pretty safe bet that kids will be ready for the responsibility of making their beds and brushing their teeth and hair each morning. This is also a great age to take charge of feeding and watering pets. Asking them to peel carrots and potatoes or grade cheese are helpful time-savers for you in the kitchen, too.
Try to make each task fun and enjoyable for your children so these chores aren’t viewed as punishment. With so many fun and easy ways to involve your child in home duties, you’d be silly not to start! They will benefit from the skills they learn from you for their whole lives.