If you know me IRL, you might read this and think “What does she know about chores? Her mom made her lunch until she was 18.” So this is a true statement. As an 18-year-old senior in high school with the ability to enlist in the military and fight a war, vote, and do other adulty things, my sweet, angelic mother was still brown bagging my lunch EVERY DAY, in addition to doing everything else. And this is actually the exact reason I feel like I have the ability to write this post about having chores for preschoolers.
Maybe I am blocking out my wonder years, but growing up I don’t remember having a whole lot of household responsibility. We also had no help around the house, not to mention my dad wouldn’t know where to begin with a chore and yet 3 able-bodied preschoolers-high schoolers did minimal household chores to help our mom. BTW sorry about that mom, and I totally got you when the other two want to send you to an old persons home.
So the cycle stops here. While I am not saying us moms should get lazy and start making the kids do everything. I do think we are hurting our children by not giving them the responsibilities that they are capable of doing. With summer coming up and kids home full time or home a lot more than they used to be we NEED to have chores for preschoolers, because:
A.)Keeps them entertained.
B.)We need help.
C.) They actually want the responsibility because it makes them feel proud.
So instead of doing what I do and giving them responsibilities that are too big for their abilities, (spoiler alert, ends in a horrible mess), I have compiled a list of chores I let my girls handle. With two years between them, I feel like they are similar abilities so naturally, they have similar chores. Clearly, this is something you should consider individually before handing out the same task to a two-year-old as a six-year-old.
Daily Chores for Preschoolers
- Making the bed. And if you are one of those no top sheet families, your kids are getting off easy.
- Pick up toys. We do a daily sweep to keep this under control.
- Clear table after meals. Our kids put leftover food in the trash and dishes on the counter next to the sink.
- Feed the dog. This takes reminding and also reminding its already been done but we keep an appropriately sized scoop in the bin next to the bowl and voila.
- Empty trash cans. To make this a little easier and cleaner. I make sure to always have grocery sacks as liners in the bathroom trashcans. Grab the bag and carry to kitchen trash can.
- Sweep. A Swiffer and a Preschool age kid can make a huge dent in the dust balls and food debris left on the floor after the dog gets done cleaning up.
- Help with laundry. I typically do the folding and organizing into piles. With the girls in such close sizes, this is even hard for me to do. But they put away the folded clothes in the right drawer. And also help me with hanging. I can usually get 20 hung as my youngest hangs one but next week it might be two.
- Make their food. This is one that they actually enjoy doing and as someone who doesn’t enjoy cooking it works out for both of us.
- Clean up spills. If you are into reducing paper goods don’t recommend this. Kidding, throw a towel their way.
Things in to Keep in Mind
- No one likes to be micromanaged. So it might not be the way you do it, but if it gets done properly, who cares. Teach them your way, but let them adapt.
- They need guidance. There’s a lot of teaching at first but once they get the hang of it and learn each chore, then its autopilot.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s a lot of pressure and most likely they are trying really hard.
- Praise goes a long way. Just like you like to be told you are doing a good job, so do they. Postive affirmation will yield high results.
- Don’t rush. Of course, we can do it quicker. But that’s missing the point. It’s going to take longer so give them the necessary time they need to complete.
- Be consistent. Kids love routines. Have it be part of their daily routine.
- There are jobs and there are chores. These are actually not the same thing in my mind. Chores are the daily things we do to keep our household running. Everyone who lives here partakes in them. Jobs are different. These are things we do to earn a living for the things we want and need. These we get paid for. Until I get paid for cleaning the toilets, my preschoolers aren’t getting paid for it either. But this is something you need to decide at the beginning. Because if you start with paying, breaking that habit will be hard.
Have fun with it. Then sit back and put your feet up. Kidding as you know there will always be something else to do. But just know that by doing this you are helping to raise a self-sufficient and contributing member of society. Something I didnt learn until I was in my 30s.