You probably already know that there’s a lot children can learn from doing chores. Aside from growing up into adults who know how to run a home, children can also learn lifelong values from doing chores.
Chores at a young age helps children build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance, according to research by Marty Rossman, a professor at the University of Minnesota. Through her study, she found that young adults who began chores at 3 and 4 years old were more likely to have good relationships, achieve early career success and be self-sufficient compared to those who didn’t have chores. Another study from Harvard University found that chores can teach children how to empathetic and responsive to other’s needs.
And, the earlier your child starts doing chores, the better, says Elizabeth Anne King-Santos, professor in Early Childhood Education in Kalayaan College and Roosevelt College. Doing chores at a young age is crucial to forming habits that would significantly affect a child’s present and future development, she said in an article on Smartparenting.com.ph. Plus, children who are encouraged to help out around the house at a young age carry with them a positive towards chores as they grow up.
She shares that as early as age 1, her son Inigo already knew to help clear the table by bringing his plastic plate or bowl to the kitchen after meals. By 4 years old, it was already his job to fix his bed in the morning, help his mom set the table and water the plants. “At times, he helps in cooking, baking, and washing the dishes,” says King-Santos.
If you’re looking for ways your preschooler can help around the house like Inigo, here’s a list of chores to consider:
Ages 4 to 5:
Make their bed
Use a hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
Wash plastic dishes at sink
Fix bowl of cereal
Fill a pet's water and food bowls
Clean floors with a dry mop
Help carry in lighter groceries
Sort clean silverware
Ages 6 to 7:
Any of the above
Set and clear table
Help make and pack lunch
Weed and rake leaves
Keep bedroom tidy
King-Santos reminds parents that children do not perfectly carry out chores sometimes, and that’s fine. When your child volunteers to sweep or mop, let him. Sure, you would have to do it again but the important part is letting your child take part in the task, she says. Slowly but surely, as your child grows older, he'll get better at it and you'll be happy you let him try it out in the first place.