As a mom of young children, I’m still very much in the stage of teaching my children how to do housework versus being able to lean on them to carry a fair share. For example, Bronwyn still needs me next to her as she puts the silverware away to make sure she’s getting everything where it actually belongs. However, I’m already learning that as I take time to teach my children to work, it isn’t long before they are completely independent of me in various tasks. It’s amazing how much young ones are capable of when we take the time to train them!
Of course, it’s important to pick jobs that our children can do; we don’t want to frustrate them. But we shouldn’t underestimate the abilities of our children either, and we must be careful that we’re not so nit-picky about things being “just so” that we can’t share with them the invaluable opportunity of learning to work around the house.
Here are some ideas of things your preschoolers can be learning to do:
Now, you may look at this list and think there is no way your 3- or 4-year-old can accomplish most of these things. Begin by teaching the simple things first: care for themselves and their belongings– brushing teeth, putting pajamas away, tidying toys, making beds– is a great place to start. Once they get accustomed to that, additional chores and tasks comes more naturally.
And remember that though at first it might be easier to do the job yourself, as you are faithful to teach and train, you are not only working yourself out of certain tasks, you are setting the foundation for an understanding and application of hard work and diligence.