Toddlers and Chores

I’m a big believer in kids doing chores.  It actually amazes me how many moms I know that don’t assign chores to their kids.  I once heard a celebrity in an interview on TV say that her son’s only chore was to be the family photographer.  She said she didn’t feel right about asking him to pick up his clothes or make his bed since they had a housekeeper for those things.  I say get rid of the housekeeper and teach your kids how to work.  It’s not just Hollywood moms though; there are a lot of moms these days that just don’t expect their kids to really work.  Sad, in my humble opinion.

I give my kids chores because:

  1. I want them to be hard workers and know the value of doing a job well.
  2. I need the help around the house.  I’m vastly outnumbered and even with their help I’m pretty frequently behind on things.
  3. I think there’s something to be said for a family that works together.  Relationships are formed, trust is built, and we learn we can count on each other and work well together.

I start my kids doing chores when they are toddlers.  They are my little shadows at first; Mommy’s helper.  They help me take out the garbage, make beds, set the table, fix dinner, dust the living room, and wipe down surfaces.  I also help them pick up their toys, stack books, and put their clothes in their dressers.  The chores aren’t done perfectly.  Sometimes they aren’t even done that well.  The lovely table setting you see above was the recent work of my independent 2 year old son.  I’m perfectly okay with having a few extra utensils if the trade-off is a solid work ethic in the long run.  Doing work well takes years of training.  But bit by bit they improve by watching me and mimicking my actions.  By the time they are 4 or so they are off mostly on their own cleaning their rooms, feeding pets, and even doing dishes.

It can seem fruitless having toddlers do chores.  After all, it would definitely be faster and easier to just do it all yourself.  The jobs would certainly be done much more perfectly as well.  I promise you though, some patience and perseverance will pay off big later.  A friend of mine came over the other day and remarked at how amazingly independent my kids were.  They were getting their schoolwork done on their own, and when they finished, launched right into their chores, all while I was teaching piano lessons.  That didn’t happen on it’s own; it took years of patient training to teach them how to work and how to complete each chore well.  Stick with it; the pay-off is well worth the time investment!

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