Young children’s brains are like a sponge. Have you noticed your toddler mimicking what they see you doing? It’s a blessing and a curse. But, in terms of teaching them about helping out around the house, it can be a blessing.
For Kids 1-4: Let’s say your toddler sees you sweeping the kitchen. They make pick up a stick and pretend to sweep next to you. Let them do this. Encourage it with
positive words. Even though children at that young age likely make more of a mess than help clean anything when they are trying to mimic you, don’t discourage them. Discouraging their acts of helping (even though at times it’s not helpful at all) at such
a young age leaves a negative feeling toward the helping tasks. It’s common for moms to tell their kids to play while they start to clean, but if you want to make an impact on the young child’s future, allow them to watch and be a part of it with you.
Kids 5 & Older: Chores have a negative association for both kids and adults. But, if you can present chores as something positive, it’s likely you can get your
children to do them without the common arguments involved. Instead of saying “If you don’t clean your room you can’t go to your friends” present it to your child as “As soon as your room is clean, we can leave for your friends.” Associate any task with
something positive and the child will have an easier time understanding why and when it needs to be done. Also, let your child know they are helping you and that makes you happy. Tell them “thank you for doing the dishes, that means a lot to me after
a busy day” or “you sweep the floors better than I do! Positive reinforcement can go a long way over time. They begin to understand that their chores are helping the entire household, and because of them helping out, everyone benefits.