The mess is mounting. You’re feeling overwhelmed. Meanwhile, they are watching tv, playing with their toys and leaving little prizes for you to pick-up along the way. Well, as my step-mom always says: Lies & Garbage! It’s time to get them involved. Just because they are little doesn’t mean they are incapable of doing chores. I must stress with every post that chores are not punishment. They give your children a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. After all, your home isn’t just yours. It belongs to your family. When your old and grey you don’t just want your children to inherent your home, you want them to know how to take care of the home. Homes don’t take care of themselves, someone has to clean, fix things and do general upkeep. So, let’s get them started young. Here are 4 age-appropriate chores every kid ages 4-6 can do.
1. Empty the small garbage cans
Dumping the small rubbish cans in your bathrooms, study and bedrooms into the kitchen garbage can is an easy chore every preschooler can handle. Teach them how to put a small grocery bag in the cans so all they have to do is empty the bag into the bigger can and put the bag back in the smaller wastebasket when their done.
2. Clean-up their rooms and toys
This should be an expectation from the time your little one is a toddler. Kids need to learn early that they are responsible for their own mess. If you have more than one kid, you can color code their toy bins. That way they know exactly where each of their toys go.
3. Put away the dishes
As long as you place the cups, plates and silverware (excluding knives) on a surface they can reach, your kiddies can use a stool to put the dishes away. My boys use a chair. Hey, they’re doing it anyway. When your not looking they are going in the cabinets getting cookies, snacks, cereal and anything else they want. So, take advantage of their desire to reach new heights. Assist them the first few times, and make sure they know where everything goes.
4. Pulling the weeds
This a chore your little kid will absolutely love doing. In addition to teaching your children the names of the indigenous plants in your area, your kid will get a real kick out of playing in the grass and dirt. Make sure they have on old clothes and put them to work pulling dandelions, sticky bushes and other invasive plants. To find out which invasive species live in your neighborhood click here.
5. Putting away their laundry
This chore should also be a given in your home. They wear the clothes, they put them away. Get your kiddies their own laundry baskets. Place them at the bottom of the steps, and when your done washing, drying and folding they do their thang. Just make sure you check their work. Preschoolers left to put clothes away on their own usually end up putting the underwear with the shirts and the pants with the shoes.
6. Clear the table after dinner
Have your little kids stack the dishes and rinse them after dinner. Get out that trusty stool and teach them to rinse. Afterwards they can stack the plates and gather the silverware on the side of the sink for you.
At first, it will be more work for you. But, the sooner you get them in a routine of doing chores it will come naturally. And, remember don’t allow them to complain while their doing it. You have to complain silently when you pay the gas bill, light bill and fork over a third of your paycheck to pay the mortgage. And so should they. Period.
If all else fails, get them amped up with this new song from Kindred the Family Soul.