During college, there are two types of students: Those who do their own laundry, and those that bring it home, in big sweaty duffels, for Mom to handle. Taking care of your children doesn’t mean cleaning up all their messes. It means fostering a sense of independence, so they are confident in their ability to take care of themselves. Get them started early, so they don’t experience a shocking transition when they leave the nest.
These 5 chores aren’t difficult or dangerous. They build character and foster a sense of self-reliance.
1. Putting the silverware away
Step 1 – Remove the knives! Then, get your little one up on a stool so they can reach the silverware drawer. Hand them the basket of cutlery, fresh out of the dishwasher, and demonstrate how you match the little spoons with the little spoons, the big spoons with the other big spoons, and so on. This is a great task for children working on their shape-recognition.
2. Setting the table
This classic childhood chore gets young children to participate in meal-preparation, great for children too young to trust with the hazards posed by cutting boards and stovetops. You may, of course, lose a few plates in the process. It’s a noble cause, and well-worth the sacrifice. It can also help prepare your children for times when girls formal dresses and boys dress suits are required wear.
3. Dusting and sweeping
These are great chores for sneakily turning into games. Turn on some music and start doing the sweepy dance! Dusting is great for even the youngest children. Make it a scavenger hunt – who can find where all the dust bunnies are hiding?
4. A few easy recipes
Get your kids interested in making their own meals, even before they can do any sophisticated chopping or sautéing. Young children can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or toast, or arrange some baby carrots in a lunch box. As soon as they make a few meals for themselves, have them help you with dinner prep. They can stir, shake, assemble, dip, and taste-test their way to lunchtime proficiency.
5. Putting toys away
This is the most basic of requests, and it makes such a big difference! Asking kids to take care of their toys introduces the concept of taking responsibility early in life. If you have more than one child, turn it into a game. Who can put all their toys away the fastest? On your mark, get set, go!