Our children are currently at the age where chores (or jobs, tasks, help….whatever you choose to call it) are still a bit of a novelty to them, and they find it fun to help mummy and daddy tidy up the living room, sort the washing into darks and lights, vacuum, dry dishes, make the beds, etc. As I’m writing this, I’m also remembering that when it comes to tidying up THEIR toys, it is a whole different ball game.
So, why is introducing small jobs or chores important for kids? Well, I’ll tell you what we think….it teaches them valuable life skills and responsibility! Nobody wants their kids to get to 16 and not know how to tidy up after themselves or make their own beds, do they? There is also lots of research out there (you can Google it) which suggests that children who have grown up with chores, actually fared better later on in their lives.
Kids who complete their chores feel a sense of achievement and it helps them to feel part of a team, everyone pitching in together to reach an end goal….a tidy house!
Now, we're not suggesting your 3-year-old needs to start washing dishes or mopping the floors. Of course, there are age appropriate jobs which children can start with to suit their ability and also what they find fun. We introduced washing the fruit and vegetables when the food shop arrived and taking our bamboo plates to the sink to be washed up.
My kids also love a sticker chart! Seeing the ‘happy face stickers’ accumulate through the week so that they can get a reward for helping at the weekend is a great motivator to get kids to want to help out. This is where the sense of responsibility comes into play, if they don’t help out then they don’t get their sticker, the choice is theirs.
You know your child better than anyone else, so it’s up to you to decide which jobs you think they will find kind of fun or which they are able to do. For example, I would trust my three-year-old to dry dishes more than I would trust my butter fingered 4-year-old. However, my 4-year-old is brilliant at making the bed, tidying the playroom and really grasps the concept of working towards a treat.
I feel like I must add here that they have always had the job of tidying their own
toys up after they have finished playing with them, yet this is still a constant uphill struggle. They would rather help me with my chores than tidy their own toys up, but they can’t get out of it, the toy room is to be tidied by those that made the mess (the kids, obviously) or the toys disappear for good (well, for a significant amount of time above my wardrobe until I remember to bring them down and they feel like its their birthday all over again)! But always, once they are finished with their chores, they feel a massive sense of achievement and this in turn makes them feel capable of doing other new things.
Some good chores to start with for little ones are helping to put toys away or putting shoes in a tidy place. As they get older you can introduce jobs such as helping to make beds, tidying the dinner table, washing or drying dishes (if you trust them not to drop them!) and even every month they can help Mum and Dad re-oil the eco rascals bamboo bowls and plates with some fresh coconut oil, easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Another great way of getting the kids involved and helping out is by including them in food preparation. Allowing them to watch Mum and Dad handle fresh ingredients, follow weaning recipes will give them a great skill in life. It can also aid fussy eaters by making them feel less out of control when it comes to eating their food.
Take a look at our banana bread recipe which gives you ideas on how your children can help you when you bake - it won't feel like a chore but a fun activity - and the kids will have a healthy snack ready - win!
Picture supplied by @thekiddiekitchen from Instagram and includes our bestselling car plate.