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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Age appropriate chores - 4's and 5's

Let's think about 4 and 5 year olds today.  Those little ones that are still learning about the world, maybe they are in preschool, or maybe they are learning the things that are needed at home.  They are older now, and therefore, some of these things they could do on their own, independently.  But they will still need to be checked and inspected.

I think that if you are inspecting their chores and letting them do some of them alone, find a way to reward them on a regular basis for a job well-done.  We have to remember their age still, so we must think of what a job well-done for a four or five year old is.

There should still be a chore or two that they are still learning and that they get to learn with their parent.  The independent chores are still important, but they still love being with you and learning from you.  Use this opportunity to be with them and enjoy spending time together.
  • Dishes - They can bring their plates and things from the table.  They can also wipe the table off with a bit of help.  They can dry a few things as well.   But I would pick between clearing and drying and not have them do both at each meal, unless they absolutely want to.  Now is the time to teach them what "dry" looks like, or you'll have them rushing and have dripping plates and cups. In our house, children dry a certain number of dishes according to their ages - sometimes we say "Your age times 3" or "times 2" depending on the number of dishes.
  • Baking cookies - stirring, taste-testing, etc.  And then cleaning up, see Dishes.
  • Laundry - They can learn to sort laundry.  But will need much supervision.
  • Making beds - they can help put the stuffed animals neatly on the bed after you have helped them pull up the cover - and at some point during this time depending on the height of their bed they will be able to handle the sheet and blanket on their own, even if it means switching sides of the bed.  
  • Dirty laundry - when they take off their clothes, they can learn to put their clothes into the basket. These things should already be a habit, but now they can learn to carry their basket to the laundry area.
  • Pick up toys - they even are quick to pick up how they are sorted.  A friend has her toys in bins and when I was over there the two and three year olds were showing me which bins which toys go in. Now they should be learning that they can get out new things, if they put away the others.
  • Dusting - they won't get all the corners, but they can hold a dustrag while you are dusting. 
Keep your child involved and remember training is a big part of your day when you have a toddler.  It's easier to put them in front of the TV, but it's not training them a lot.  They aren't learning how to interact, or how to handle frustrating situations.  These things are good for them.  As moms, we want to take the frustration out of their day, but it's not healthy for them.

Summer is a great time to learn something new.  Take each child and spend just five to ten minutes each day with them teaching them one new chore.  Don't change the chores around, just let them learn that one new chore until they can do it all by themselves.  With a preschooler, you would have to pick a chore that they would be capable of alone.  I'm not thinking of laundry or washing dishes.  But making the bed and picking up toys should be getting easier for them.

Keep pressing on,

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