In the blink of an eye, your baby is four years old and about to start school. You realise you’re still dressing them, doing their teeth and clearing away their dinner plates.
What chores can you realistically expect of a preschooler? And how do you nurture a helpful, thoughtful child?
Chores are important for young children:
- They nurture a natural desire to help
- They empower young children, develop their independence and give them new skills
- They provide structure and self-discipline – and keep them busy!
- They help prepare kids for school – self-care, sorting, practising, tidying up after accidents are all skills learnt from doing regular chores.
- Regular jobs and sometimes jobs
There are some chores you can expect young children to do regularly (eg make their bed, brush their teeth) and others you could call ‘sometimes jobs’ – the ones where you encourage them to help occasionally.
As they get older and more responsible, the ‘sometimes jobs’ slowly become incorporated into their ‘regular’ jobs.
- Clean up own spills and messes
- Self-care – brush teeth, get dressed
- Set and clear the table
- Carry own bag. (You will be thankful for this one if it becomes a habit before starting school)
- Make bed
- Put dirty clothes in laundry basket
- Sometimes jobs
- Emptying small bins into outside one
- Spring cleaning cupboards
- Helping in garden – weeding, sweeping, raking
- Sorting tasks – socks, Lego, toys, laundry into whites and coloureds
- Help with meal preparation (supervised!)
- Looking after pets
Setting and supervising chores for young children can be a lot of work. Most of the time you will be secretly thinking, ‘This would be so much quicker and easier if I did it myself’. But, it is an investment that is well worthwhile.
This is a summary of a blog from King’s Christian College. For the full article and other blogs about parenting and tips for starting school, go to https://blog.kingscollege.qld.edu.au/chores-your-preschooler-should-be-doing-now