Chores for kids
are adaptable to any age!

Instead of wondering about appropriate chores for kids, consider adjusting your expectations for certain daily household chores. In addition to assigning certain jobs, it is also important to remember age appropriate expectations. For example, the question is not whether your three-year-old should be expected to clean the bathroom, but rather what your three-year-old should do when she cleans the bathroom.

Young children shouldn't be expected to clean alone, or to do difficult or dangerous tasks. But kids can “help” you do certain daily household chores, even at a young age, which begins to establish an expectation that they chip in. For example, they can work alongside you, cleaning the mirror while you clean the toilet. And they can gradually grow into doing more of the work, doing more of it themselves, too.

Of course, you shouldn't expect little kids to produce grown-up results. It's important, early on, to value the effort rather than the result. This is what we mean by age-appropriate expectations. Small children love chores because they offer a chance to be responsible and grown-up. If you encourage this “big” feeling, you can develop a healthy responsibility in them.

If, on the other hand, you belittle their efforts because you're not satisfied with the results, you're teaching them that they can't help and shouldn't try. We have a Far Side cartoon stuck to our refrigerator that illustrates this point perfectly: a man is berating his dog for doing a sloppy job mowing the lawn, shouting “You call that mowing the lawn?!? Bad dog! No biscuit!” Don't do this to your kids if you want them to grow into bigger helpers.

So the trick to assigning certain chores for kids is to adapt your expectations to their abilities. And since your ultimate goal is to involve them in daily household chores, remember to honor their efforts and celebrate their accomplishments. Would you rather have your kids involved in and enthusiastic about household cleaning or have the cleaning done perfectly? You usually can't have both, at least not for awhile! Since you're here, I'll assume that we agree that it's better that kids are involved, even if the results are not as good as if you had done the work.

So stay flexible and go ahead and get started modifying your expectations for any and all chores for kids!





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