“Today’s youth is lacking in work ethic.” This is the chief complaint from employers of young workers today. As a parent the best thing you can do is to instill a sense of ‘pride of work’ in your children. Assigning simple chores for kids, while young, is a great way to start. Kids as young as two (sometimes younger) can benefit from simple chores. Obviously chores for the kindergartner can be more complex and regimented than the very simple chores for kids age two or three.
Simple chores for kids are best started early. With toddlers, around two years old, start with the basics – put the toys in the box, put the pull-up in the garbage, put the cup in the sink, etc… Keep it very basic. By including your very young child in simple chores, they learn responsibility. By doing everything for your youngster, you are actually doing your child disservice, and encouraging lackadaisical habits. When you are dusting, let your toddler help. Give him/her a rag or duster too; they generally have great fun too. (A word of caution – don’t let the toddler dust fragile items)
As they get a little older, simple chores for the preschooler, ages 3 or 4, can be more involved. This is a great age to start a reward system. Stickers work well to keep track of chores for the preschooler. Keep in mind that while done with great effort chores for the preschooler will rarely be done very effectively. Praise the effort, and encourage your preschooler. Some simple chores for kids that are appropriate for preschoolers are: get dressed, AM and PM, put dirty laundry in hamper, pick up toys, feed the cat/dog/fish (make sure the pet isn’t overfed or starved), try to make bed, etc… Make a chart of the simple chores, including pictures, and have your preschooler put the stickers on when a chore is done. Don’t make their reward over-proportioned; else you might go broke when they are 10 or 12, desperately seeking chores in exchange for spending money. Let them pick out a movie, dessert or small toy every once in a while (pre-determine how often, and discuss it with the preschooler).Chores for the preschooler help set the expectation that every member of the house helps out. Mom does some chores, Dad does some chores, brother/sister does some chores, and we all work together.
Another year goes by and your youngster is 5 or 6. Chores for the kindergartner can be much more regulated, with higher expectations. By now, simple chores for kids in the family is considered normal and expected. Some simple chores for kids in kindergarten could be: Make your bed (no faking here, an honest effort at neatly making the bed), clean the bedroom, put away clean clothes (their own), reading time, take out garbage (small cans only), take out recycling (no glass or sharp metal), clean door knobs with disinfecting wipes (a favorite by kindergartners), brush the cat/dog, help out with younger brother/sister, etc… Simple chores for kids in kindergarten can easily be put on a wall chart, and progress marked with stickers. The kindergartner will generally remember to add the stickers when the chore is done, and they will be sure to hold you to the reward promised.
By starting with simple chores for kids, while they are young, and continuing as they get older, your child will develop a great work ethic. This will take them far in life, giving them pride, a sense of responsibility, family, community, a clean house, and more. A chore for the kindergartner is a great place to start if your youngster isn’t accustomed to helping out. Let them take pride in the chore they do. Be sure to praise the effort put into these simple chores, and be proud of them for trying!