Here’s a list of simple chores for little ones…
1. Bring dishes to the sink
2. Put shoes in their place
3. Feed the dog/cat/lizard
4. Do homework (without whining!)
5. Pick up toys
6. Rinse toothpaste spit down the sink and put the lid back on the toothpaste
7. Make bed (bunk beds can be tricky)
8. Tie their own shoes and put on their own coat
9. Put dirty clothes in the hamper
10. Wipe off the toilet and the floor around it as needed (mostly pertinent to boys)
I think it’s very important to give children simple chores even at an early age. They quickly learn what is expected of them, and it teaches them responsibility. This obviously becomes very important later in life. However, you need to be very specific about what you want them to do. Don’t just say, “You should help out more.” I can’t tell you the number of times I heard that growing up. It was very confusing to me, because I really didn’t know how to help.
Instead, make sure your child knows his/her routine tasks that they must do as part of the family. It will be easier to get their help in the future if they already know about contributing to the household. This may require dedicated follow through on your part. For example, there have been times when I’ve put my son to bed on the top bunk only to find his dirty clothes splayed across the bathroom floor. Tired or otherwise, I make him climb down and take care of the mess.
Likewise, if the boys are upstairs playing Nintendo and I trip over a rogue pair of shoes, the culprit has to stop what he’s doing and put his shoes away. I’m hoping these reminders will become fewer and farther in between as their chores become ingrained as part of their daily routine. Proper diligence may be extra work now, but in the end it will truly benefit my life and empower my four boys to become responsible (young) men.