Deciding on when to introduce chores to your kids can be a challenge. You don’t want to start too young, and you don’t want to wait until it’s too late. Wanting to have a teenager who has good cleaning skills and willingness to help out around the house would be ideal for most parents. But knowing when to start is the real question.
What age is best to start implementing chores?
Generally speaking, beginning when your child is around two is a good rule of thumb. There are a few reasons why this age is perfect for implementing these skills, the first being your baby has more of an understanding of what you’re asking of them. They are also bustling around with energy and are often very happy to help you around.
However, introducing chores closer to five years old, or when they start primary school is also perfectly acceptable. This age is when children want to ‘show off’ what they can do and love having some independence. They want your attention, helping around the house is a perfect example of praising them for being good which will give them more incentive.
Remember that every child is different, and some will take to it more naturally than others and at different times. You may try and start planting the seed at two, but they don’t respond and start to act until closer to five.
How to get started
Obviously what age you decide to start will come into play here. But start by thinking about what they can do around the house to help you. Making a game out of cleaning is an excellent way to start, get out your inner Mary Poppins, sing them a song and praise them every step of the way. Cleaning up after playing with toys is the perfect opportunity to do this; creating a game where they have to pick up every toy they’ve played with or every book they’ve pulled out can create a fun atmosphere to tidying up.
Should I offer pocket money or rewards?
You might feel inclined to introduce an allowance, but at such a young age, it’s unnecessary and could lead to bribing rather than rewarding. Instead, opt for giving them a treat after dinner or watching a movie on the weekend for setting up the table each night of the week. Verbal praise will be the best incentive for your young toddler as your approval and happiness are what they crave the most.
What types of chores are best?
Picking simple tasks that are easy for them to do, some examples:
- making their bed
- picking up their toys and books
- setting or clearing the dinner table
- helping you pull out clothes from the dryer
Remember to give them tasks that are age-appropriate and not too difficult for them to manage without feeling frustrated, which can lead to a crying, screaming toddler.
Initially doing chores together can also be fun for both you and child, and can create a stronger bond. Involving them in tasks you usually do on your own can make them feel a part of your day and can cause them to associate positively with chores which is critical for them they’re older. In time they will move to doing these chores independently.
Creating a positive attitude with helping out from a young age will help your child grow into a teenager who will do tasks as a part of their regular routine. We hope these little tips will help you and your growing baby; don’t forget to give yourself a break, parenting isn’t easy, but you’re doing a great job!