Doing chores helps children to incur a sense of purpose at a young age.
Parents know all too well the struggle that is sometimes required to “do what’s best” for their children, especially when met with a stream of protests. Getting children to do chores is no exception. Yet, they are naturally inclined to enjoy a sense of purpose and even at a very young age, seek to assert their independence. Doing chores helps them do just that.
Decades of studies show the value of chores – academically, emotionally, and professionally. A study by Marty Rossmann shows that involving children in household tasks at an early age can have a positive impact in areas such as completion of education, getting started on a career path, IQ, and relationships with family and friends. Other benefits include:
- Enhanced focus and confidence
- A sense of accomplishment, self-reliance and purpose
- An increase in empathy by learning to be responsive to others’ needs
- Instills a work ethic
- Improved sense of belonging
In a 2014 survey of 1,001 U.S. adults by Braun Research, 82% reported having regular chores growing up, but only 28% said that they require their own children to do them. Independence and responsibility can start early at home with chores.
Not only is this beneficial to your little ones, it benefits you and the rest of your family as well. The sooner you start introducing these tasks to your family’s schedule, the more they will become accustomed to them, and the less resistance you will encounter. If you are wondering how to assign the appropriate chore for a specific age, read on. Of course, these are only suggestions. Each child develops at his or her own pace.
Toddler Chores (2-3)
At this stage, you want to keep the chores as simple and straightforward as possible. Most 2-3 year olds can excel at cleaning up spills, placing dirty clothes into the laundry hamper, carrying their dishes to the sink once they are done eating, and putting their toys back in the toy chest. Once you show them how to get from Point A to Point B, they can mimic your moves and follow suit.
Preschool Chores (4-5)
Once your children are between 4-5 years old, they can take on some more chores that require hand-eye coordination, greater tactile abilities, and stronger attention spans. Along with the chores they were doing as toddlers, they can now water plants and feed their pets, which will give them a greater sense of responsibility and satisfaction. They can also help make the bed, put clothes in the washer and dryer, and do some light dusting too.
Early childhood (6-8)
With even greater concentration skills, flexibility, and comprehension, children between the ages of 6-8 can wash dishes, sweep up the floors, rake leaves, help retrieve the mail, and set the table, all while still maintaining their toddler and preschool-age responsibilities. If you find that they are able to take on more tasks, you can ask them to help wash the car, pick up trash or clutter around the house, or even try their hand at vacuuming.
Older elementary (9-11)
When your children are between 9-11 years old, they can start pitching in during mealtime, helping mix the salads, and add ingredients to other dishes as well. They can also do some light shoveling and mowing, along with walking the dogs, cleaning the bathroom, and making sure that their pets’ cages are tidy and frequently cleaned.
Apple Montessori Schools reinforce these principles with our students every day with “Practical Life” lessons. Toddlers begin with the basics such as pouring, folding, and carrying. In time, children learn care of the environment (dusting a table or outdoor sweeping). It’s wonderful to see our little ones beaming with pride and having a greater sense of self-confidence and personal responsibility. To learn more, view our programs or contact a school near you.