But what chores can a three or four-year-old do? Little kids might be low in the skills needed to manage chores but very high in motivation. Your child wants nothing more than to be like you – a grownup, and in most cases will be extremely willing to pitch in.
Before you begin assigning chores, keep in mind
- That they must be chores your child can complete successfully.
- That you should choose chores that are not terribly important to you, so that you are not frustrated if it is done poorly.
- That you will need to select a time when your child and you are both fairly rested and patient. For example, do not choose chores that need to be done just before heading to school because it is usually a hurried time.
- That while assigning the chores your child should also have a say in the matter. If your child does not like to get dirty, then gardening chores are not for them.
Here are some chores that most three to four-year-olds can do successfully and enjoy:
- Watering plants. Most little children love anything to do with water. Instead of a hose, give them a small watering can or a bucket and mug. That way they can save water and better control the amount of water each plant gets.
- Helping you unpack grocery shopping. If you find unpacking your weekly grocery bag a pain, your child will be more than happy to help. Have them sort vegetables into different bags, soaps and detergents to be carried to the appropriate storage area, etc.
- Dusting. If your child is not allergic to dust, then arm your child with a duster and have them wipe your furniture clean. They might not be the best, but they will feel pretty important.
- Putting away their toys. Make up a song about putting their toys away and have them sing it as they clear up after themselves. Clearing up is a very important lesson and you must be consistent in enforcing this chore because many children find it terribly boring and would prefer to leave their toys on the floor.
- Telling their siblings a story. Why not assign a bedtime story night to each of your children? Perhaps on Saturdays, your child can tell their brother or sister a story and then their sibling can return the favour on another night.
- Setting the table/helping to clear the table. Your child can help to set and clear away the dirty dishes, starting with their own.
You can try these and many more ideas and develop a small list of chores that your child is responsible for. Write it out in bright and cheerful colours and stick the list up on your child’s wall as a reminder. Watch as your child learns the virtues of helpfulness and responsibility and gain in confidence.