Friday, April 20, 2012

Raising Helpers

Last time I posted I talked about the importance of training our children in helping out around the house. In my experience, as soon as they can walk, they can start "helping" in some ways. There are all kinds of lists of age-appropriate chores out there. Here are just a few I ran across BEFORE I even started searching Google and Pinterest!

  • Mothering Matters had a great series on this very subject. Here's the first post in the series. 
  • The Happy Housewife has a pretty good list of age-appropriate chores starting at age 2-3
  • Lots of Kids has an even more comprehensive list that starts as early as 9 months. This is the guideline that we tend to use.
  • BusyKids=HappyMom has a great list of Life Skills for 2-18 year olds (I need to look at this even closer!)
  • MoneySavingMom just did a couple posts about toddler and 4 and 7 year old chores, and she posted a few free printable chore charts.

Speaking of Pinterest, that's where I found this gem that we will definitely be creating for our bedtime routine...probably tomorrow!! It's just that smart!!

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

I've made a variety of charts and lists and routines for my kids over the years. Sometimes they work, sometimes they fail before we even get them established. What has worked for us so far is that I am training them to do certain jobs that they will do when prompted. I think my 5-year-old is mature enough to start tackling her jobs/chores/duties as part of her daily responsibilities, but so far, I still just remind and ask her when it's time. 

For now, it's better than a complicated chart/reward/whatever system. Oh, and usually my 5-year-old daughter gets paid for folding the laundry (it's a huge task that takes a lot of work off my plate), sometimes a penny per item, sometimes just 50 cents a week, but only if she doesn't complain!

So, here's what I'm working on with my kids (This is not an exhaustive list, just what's coming to mind right now.):

5-year-old (5.5 years actually)

  • Unload silverware and plastic dishes from the dishwasher
  • Clear dirty dishes from the table after meals
  • Straighten homeschool and craft stuff
  • Get cereal with milk and occasional snacks for herself and brothers when asked
  • Assist with cooking when asked (cracking eggs, stirring, measuring unimportant ingredients, etc)
Laundry (where she really shines!)
  • Help sort dirty laundry
  • Team up with little brother to transfer clothes from washer to dryer
  • Fold pretty much anything smaller than her - PJs, tank tops, boxers, etc.
  • Put away all kids clothes
  • Take dirty clothes to laundry daily
  • Make bed
  • Pick up daily
  • Prepare to be vacuumed weekly
Bathroom & Personal Care
  • Prepare toothbrushes for herself and brother, brush own teeth with minimal supervision
  • Clean sink and counter of stray toothpaste daily
  • Assist with bathroom cleaning when asked (disinfecting wipes, toilet scrubber, etc)
  • Wash hair (rinse with assistance) and body in bath/shower
  • Help choose clothes and dress herself, help her brother
Almost 3-year-old (mid-May birthday)

  • Get silverware for everyone
  • Learning to unload and sort silverware
  • Help clear dirty dishes
  • Help fill water cups
  • Help sort dirty laundry
  • Help transfer clothes from washer to dryer
  • Fold washcloths and hand towels, pair socks, put away own briefs
Bathroom & Personal Care
  • Brush teeth with supervision and some assistance
  • Wash body with minimal assistance in bath/shower
  • Dress self with some assistance
1-year-old (13.5 months currently)
  • Learning to come when called
  • Learning simple commands ("Take this to Daddy.")
  • Putting toys in a container
Mostly, I'm learning that, in general, kids are much more capable than many parents give them credit for. When I taught Pre-K with 2 teachers over 20 kids, we didn't have the luxury of doing everything for every child, and I was impressed with how well they adjusted and followed directions when they were expected to. Many times we watched this incredible transformation from capable child to whiny baby when mom walked in the classroom. Strange.

So, I'm still working on all this stuff. Do you have a plan to teach your kids these kinds of skills? Do you have a system that works for you? I'm willing to give something new a go, so share with us!

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