I am a Mum to 2 girls, work part time and my husband works full time. I am ALWAYS tidying up (am I alone in this?!) I had to find a solution to stop me going crazy-my solution-get the girls to help!
They have always had to tidy up their toys, but I started to think about small things they can do to help, and how these can evolve and change as they get older.
There is 2 ½ years between my girls so the older one can understand more and do more than the 2 year old, but they can both help around the house-and at this age they enjoy helping! (I know this won't last so I am making the most of it whilst I can!)
Whether you chose to give your children a €˜thank you' for helping out, such as pocket money, or whether they are expected to help to learn responsibility and how to do things is entirely up to each individual family and what works for them.
I have chatted to friends and family with children of various ages and have come up with a bit of a list of age appropriate job or chores. Each family will of course feel some jobs around the house are more important than others, some families will have pets that need to be included in the list, the main thing is helping children to understand and learn life skills.
I am not a mean Mummy who puts a tidy house or chores above fun and play (trust me my house is not spotless by any means) but I do believe you can make it fun, and working together means jobs get done quicker so there is more time for fun and play for EVERYONE!
2-3 year olds
- Put their dirty clothes in the wash basket
- Help to load the washing machine
- Help to lay the table for dinner
- Assist in making their bed
- Feed their pets
- Clear up spills
- Put toys away
- Supervised washing up
- Put rubbish in the bin
4-5 year Olds (As above with added)
- Get dressed with minimal help
- Make their bed
- Carry their bags to/from school and car
- Help prepare meals/snacks
- Put some clothes away
- Clear the dinner table-taking items to the kitchen
- Water plants
- Put recycling in the bin
- Unload dishwasher-utensils and plastics
- Make a bowl of cereal
- Empty indoor bins
6-8 year olds
- Fold washing
- Put all clothes away
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Keep rooms tidy
- Wash up
- Sweep floors
- Clean car
- Prepare meals with supervision
- Walk the dog
- Weeding, raking
- Put away groceries
- Peel vegetables
- Washing windows
- Mow the lawn
- Cleaning bathroom
- Take out rubbish
- Cook simple meals
- Do the laundry
- Cleaning kitchen
- Babysit siblings
Remember to make it fun and quick! Tidy or clean to music-can they finish their task by the end of the song or just dance and sing as you hoover! My girls love cleaning the windows-who am I to stop them!?
Put the family in teams and see who can pair the most socks or sweep the most leaves
Remember all children are different and some may be doing things on lists older than them or not covering everything off the list for their own age. I don't think it matters as long as they are learning, helping and enjoying themselves.
It will take time for you to teach and supervise them but it is still quality time together, reward charts and a list of chores may help you, and just think-once they can make a cuppa and do the washing up you will be able to sit down with your feet up and read a book (sorry, dreaming again!;))
Now I have started encouraging my children to help around the house I am hoping to have more time to be a Mum and not a cleaner! If I am not putting clothes in the wash basket I am taking them out, putting them in the machine, hanging them out to dry, folding them or putting them in wardrobes (I can't remember the last time I saw the bottom of the wash basket!) Picking up toys, washing up, putting things away in the kitchen-then what happens? Someone has something to eat or drink and so there is more washing up! This has got to stop!