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Training Young Children in Chores

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My biggest tip for chore training is to start early. We start small, such as our 2-year-old is learning to pick up his toys.  From learning toy clean up, he now delights in picking up a piece of trash to put into the trash can or bringing a kitchen towel to clean up a spill.

Our older children have certain areas of our home in which they are responsible. The younger children naturally see everyone in our family with daily responsibilities, which reinforces working together as a family–everyone is important and everyone participates.

Having responsibilities helps instill initiative into our children,

a highly sought after character trait {that momma is learning too}.

Here’s the growing list of tasks that our {almost} 5-year-old is able to complete:

  • Empty small trash cans – We have 3 small trash cans in our house.  Naomi empties those as needed.
  • Put in small can liners – A grocery bag goes a long way—she replaces the old bag with a fresh grocery bag, in each small trash can.
  • Fold wash cloths, kitchen towels, baby bibs, and baby blankets –

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I have her fold items that I would not necessarily fold otherwise.  For instance, I don’t think baby bibs or cleaning rags need folded—both could just go into their appropriate storage bags.  However, I’m always looking for tasks that she can do that will give her the skills to complete larger task as she grows older.

  • Sweep Kitchen – Just like any responsibility that a child is training in, I give out boatloads of grace and encouragement.

With her personality she loves to “race the timer.” I set the timer on the stove and it encourages her to race the clock. I’m all about whatever works!jamerrill's phone 016

  • Keep shoes organized in our entry way – For this job I’ve taught her to make “shoe families” by matching the shoes and keeping them lined up on the shoe shelves.
  • Table Chores – She sets the table with a napkin/fork and wipes the table after meals.
  • Babysitting – She calls “babysitting,” when she entertains her baby brother with toys, acts out stories, reads him books or dances for him {what she calls “putting on a show for the baby”}.
  • Cook with mommy – I open cans and she is my official “can dumper.”  She also loves to measure, pour, and stir.

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  • Dust – The dusting in our house is very simple.  She takes a damp rag, and wipes off shelves and window sills.
  • Make Tea – Helping make tea is her newest job, and has instantly climbed to the top of her favorite list.  As soon as she sees her daddy’s empty tea pitcher, she is ready to make more!

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That’s how chore training works in our home.  How does it work in your world? 

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