All cooped up at home? Now is the perfect time to disinfect your home and teach your kids healthy habits to keep things clean. And, if you’re of the spring-cleaning-persuasion, tidy things up! But whether you’re scrubbing the floorboards and shaking out rugs or just doing your weekly clean up, you don’t have to do it alone! Kids as young as two can help with simple chores and, bonus, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and belonging! Plus, you’re priming them to pitch in as they get older. Read on for some age-appropriate chores and motivation.
Yes, they require a bit of supervision, but with your encouragement and guidance, two-, three-, and four-year olds can definitely help you:
- Pick up toys and put them in a basket – Add a layer of learning (and make it more fun!) by asking them to pick up anything that’s red first, then blue, then green. Or anything that’s soft, then hard.
- Take their dirty clothes to the laundry basket – Count the pieces together as they go in, eg: one shirt, two shirts… Or shoot a quick game of hoops with your balled-up socks!
- Help feed and care for the family pets – You may not trust your little one to fill the water bowl just yet, but they can hold the hamster while you clean the cage and fill a scoop of dry food.
*Bonus idea! Pretend play sets, like New Sprouts® Clean It!, are perfect for imaginary play and also give little kids a way to participate in the cleaning fun!
Again, you’ll need to be on hand to help, but four- and five-year olds can be really hand helpers when it comes to chores like:
- Keep craft supplies tidy – A place for everything and everything in its place! Putting away pencils, markers, glue, and scissors is easy with the Create-a-Space™ Mini-Center, a portable craft station that’s easy to store! If you need a larger organizer, try the Create-a-Space™ Storage-Center.
- Setting the table – You set out the glasses and plates, then show your kiddo where to put the silverware and napkins.
- Sorting the laundry – Little kids are great at sorting the laundry! Show them what counts as a white, medium, and dark, and leave the rest to them.
Big Kids Can…
Many six- and seven-year olds are old enough to handle simple chores without supervision. A chore chart can be motivating at this age, to manage tasks like:
- Making their bed – Don’t expect miracles here – after all, practice makes perfect! Pulling the sheet, blanket, and comforter up and placing pillows at the top is an excellent start.
- Emptying trash cans – Show your kids how to start with the biggest can and carry it to the smaller ones around the house, dumping as they go.
- Putting their laundry away – You fold, they stash or hang!
Bigger Kids Can…
Older elementary-school aged kids can do so many things! Aside from managing their schoolwork, brushing their teeth, and getting dressed for school, these kids can:
- Wash dishes – Yup! The day has come! Fourth and fifth graders can rinse and load the dishwasher as well as scrub dishes and silverware (skip the knives and delicate dishware).
- Vacuum and rake – Whether indoor or out, your older kids can easily run the vacuum and rake. Plus, if they’re doing it, they can’t complain about the noise it’s making when you’re doing it!
- Run the washer and dryer – You may not want them folding quite yet, but big kids can toss a load in the washer, add detergent, and turn the machine on.
Although it may be easier to do things yourself, the sooner you make chipping in with chores an expected part of your kids’ routine, the easier yours will be in the long run. A good rule of thumb is that kids can follow as many instructions as years they are old. For example, a three-year old may be able to pick up their shoes, put them in the closet, and close the door. A timer is also a great motivator, as is a clean up song. Choose something you love, play it loud, and work as long as it plays. When the music’s over, so is the clean up!