When is it developmentally appropriate to have young children start doing chores and what should they do?

Young children can be given chores as soon as they are physically capable of navigating around their house safely. These should be simple and fun so that the momentum of helping out continues.

Example:         Putting rolled up socks away in their drawer

                        Sorting utensils

                        Matching plastic bowls with lids and stacking them in a cabinet

                        Putting toys in a bin

                        Washing the dog

Why is it important for young children to have “chores”?

Children benefit from having responsibilities by growing their cognition of community and citizenship. As a member of a citizenry, we learn how to communicate, compromise, collaborate and produce. As a member of a neighborhood, you learn how to talk to your neighbors, generate a culture of comradery and develop a wonderful place to live. As a member of a classroom, children work with their teachers and peers to create a cohesive and positive climate to learn in. As a member of a family, children learn how to care for their home, their belongings and connect with their loved ones.

Encouraging young children to be part of that citizenry sends the message that they are valuable members, capable of offering something that is integral to the community’s success and happiness. It’s a powerful message generated out of respect and love.

When children grow with having responsibilities as a “way of life,” they are far more prepared to be functioning citizens in the various communities they are a part of. They come to expect that a good life is not just handed over, free of any efforts but, rather, a collaborative effort. When battling entitlement and raising “spoiled kids,” this can be your first line of defense. Trust they can handle it and reward hard work, no matter how small.

Dr. Masek
VP of Education