Chores are an important part of any household. Involving your children in chore routines helps them develop higher self-esteem, learn responsibility, and handle frustration and delayed gratification. Age-appropriate chores can help children learn essential life skills. The earlier your child starts with chores, the better. There are even chores for toddlers to do, which help instill a routine that evolves as they grow.
We've compiled a list of Montessori age-appropriate chores to help you get started.
How Chores Help Children
Children learn a lot from doing chores. Starting early with chores for toddlers helps instill these values from a young age. Chores are a great way to set a foundation for your toddler to function independently and look after themselves later in life.
Chores show children the time and effort that goes into looking after and running a household. They learn about responsibility and what it means to be held accountable for their actions. Plus, they can feel accomplished once they have completed the tasks set out for them.
Involving your child in household work teaches them relationship skills like communication and cooperation. When the family works together to run the house, they learn to work well as a team in other areas. Sharing the workload also positively impacts the family dynamic and relieves stress on the parents. When the family works together to get chores done, it frees up more time to have fun.
Montessori Chore List by Age
Knowing what chores are appropriate for a child's age keeps them safe and motivated. Children can often do more than parents think, but it's still best to ease them into their chores. One or two simple jobs are appropriate for toddlers, while older children can handle more responsibilities.
Here's a breakdown of chores by age for your children.
Ages 1 to 3
At this age, your child develops cognitive skills that help them learn and interact with the world around them. They begin to think for themselves and understand commands. Giving your toddler simple chores is an excellent way to help them exercise these skills. You can ask your toddler to:
- Put away their toys after playtime.
- Help fill the pet's food and water bowls.
- Put their clothes in the laundry hamper.
- Help put clothes into the washing machine.
- Wipe up after they spill.
- Pile or shelve books and magazines.
Ages 4 to 5
Many children at this age reach new language development milestones. They can speak more clearly and tend to enjoy songs and rhymes. You can make chores fun for them by playing their favorite song. Children can do any of the tasks above, as well as the following:
- Making their bed
- Helping set and clear the table before and after meals
- Collecting the mail
- Helping do the grocery shopping
- Unloading utensils from the dishwasher
- Putting clean clothes that are ready to be folded into piles for each family member
Ages 6 to 7
As your child reaches age 6, they are still learning to regulate emotions and process frustration. If your child becomes fussy about doing chores, be patient and help guide them to manage their feelings. From this age, your child can start:
- Sweeping the floors.
- Helping make and pack their lunch for school.
- Helping pull weeds and rake leaves in the garden.
- Keeping their bedroom tidy.
- Helping with sorting and folding clean laundry.
Ages 8 to 9
At this age, it's important for your child to gain confidence in all areas of their life at home, school and socially. Trusting them with more complex tasks can help them gain independence and confidence. You can start adding the following chores to your child's routine:
- Vacuuming the house
- Helping make meals
- Putting away their laundry
- Helping peel vegetables
- Making simple meals
- Helping take pets for a walk
- Wiping down the table after meals
Ages 10 to 12
Your child is in the preteen stage of their life, trying to figure out who they are and develop their identity, which may manifest in noticeable mental and emotional behavioral changes in your child. Although children show more independence at this age, they still need support and guidance from their parents. As your child gets older, they can:
- Help unload the dishwasher.
- Help clean the bathroom.
- Change their bed sheets.
- Help wash the car.
- Assist with cleaning the kitchen.
- Cook simple meals with parental supervision.
- Help fold the laundry.
Challenges With Engaging Children in Chores
Getting your child to complete a household duty can come with challenges. Some parents wish their children helped out more, and some parents find it hard to let go of the reigns and let their children learn.
Here are some of the challenges associated with engaging children in chores:
- Kids find chores boring: Many adults find housework tedious, so it's reasonable that your child might not enjoy it either. A positive solution is to do it with them and make it fun. Remember to praise them for mastering something new, no matter how small.
- Parents find it easier to do it themselves: When children are very young, they love to help, but some parents feel like their children are getting in the way. Parents have to accept that, in the beginning, involving their child in chores won't save time. They'll need supervision and direction.
- Parents feel the need to help: As a parent, you are there to care for and nurture your child, but you should also let your child handle tasks independently. If your child asks for help, you can jump in, but for the most part, you are around to supervise and offer encouragement.
- Kids forget or complain about chores: It will take time for housework to come naturally to your child. Stay persistent but avoid nagging so your child has a positive association with chores.
- Parents expect kids to do the tasks as well as them: It's important to remember that your child is still learning and won't be as thorough as you. Minimize your control once you've taught your child how to do a chore. Focusing on the positive will motivate your child to want to get better.
Tips to Get Started With Chores
Using these tips, you can motivate your child to do their part and help make chores fun.
- Prepare: First, create a chores chart with columns showing the chores, whose responsibility they are and the deadline. Include a space to check chores off, too. Put your chart in a place where everyone can see it. Set up cleaning stations throughout your home or have a designated cleaning cupboard where your child can find supplies.
- Be specific: Give your child clear instructions so they know what you need them to do. Have clear and reasonable expectations for their age.
- Participate: Do the chore with your child until they can do it independently. By showing them what to do in the beginning, you will help ease them into their task.
- Be consistent: If you keep changing your expectations and rules, you'll confuse your child.
- Make it fun: Children starting with chores may find them tedious. Make it fun by creating a "chore rhyme," playing their favorite song or turning it into a game.
- Be a role model: Your child will learn from your behavior. Maintaining your chores will reinforce their importance.
- Give praise and feedback: Acknowledge what a good job your child has done. Give them specific feedback on why they did the job well so they can repeat it.
Help Your Child Continue Learning Life Skills With Sapientia Montessori
Age-appropriate household chores have significant benefits for children that encourage positive development. At Sapientia Montessori, we enable your child to reach their full potential. More than achieving academic excellence, we want every child to be self-motivated and confident and to harness their ability to master skills and talents. We provide tailored and advanced education that will benefit your child.
With the highest level of Montessori accreditation worldwide, we are the premier choice for preschool and private elementary education in Greater North Austin. To learn more about how we can help your child learn and blossom, you can contact us today.