Often when parents visit their child’s classroom, they’re amazed by how independent the kids are and how many tasks they can do themselves. Parents often ask how they can encourage their kids to participate at home since the kids enjoy taking ownership of their environment. There are ways that everyone can help around the house, and when you work together, you’ll see that the kids enjoy feeling big enough to do something too.
Kitchen Chores for Kids
The kitchen is a great place to get the kids involved. Toddlers and preschoolers often enjoy helping prepare meals. They can help chop vegetables, stir mixes, break eggs, add ingredients into a mixing bowl, set the table, help clear the dishes, load the dishwasher and so much more. The key is to create an environment where they can reach to do these things on their own.
Help with Baking
For example, if you’re baking and you want to include your young children in the process, get a step ladder or a toddler learning tower and have the kids stand on that by your side. For the young ones (under 2) give them a small bowl and whisk and let them stir flour or sugar while you add items into your mixing bowl. If they’re a little older, maybe 3+ they can crack the eggs on the side of the bowl, add measured ingredients into the bowl, and mix or stir. They might not get it mixed all the way through, but you can quickly finish it off.
Help Wash Dishes
Young children can help with the dishes. If you have your kitchen set up so that they can reach some of their dishes, it’s easy for them to put them away. Have your child help you load or unload the dishwasher. When unloading, have them be responsible for specific items, such as their plates or cups, or anything that is stored at their level.
Set the Table
They can help set the table. The really little guys can take silverware to the table. The older kids can help set it at the right place, carry dishes or cups to the table, and even help set food on the table for serving. Either age group can help clear the table by taking their plates to the counter. If you get your step stool or learning tower out and set it by the sink, they can help rinse the dishes and place them in the dishwasher too.
Help with Grocery Shopping
You can also have your kids help with the grocery shopping, though this is easier once they’re a little bit older. Have your grocery list handy and ask your child to help find specific items. Some enjoy adding things to the cart or taking them from the cart to the conveyor belt for check-out. Involving your kids in the grocery shopping process might even get them to try a few new foods if they help pick them out. You never know. It works sometimes.
Help with the Laundry
Another chore young kids can help with is the laundry. Have your child help carry their clothes to the laundry room and let them put them into the washer or move them from the washer to the dryer. Get a small basket and use that as their laundry basket rather than something adult sized. Having a small basket allows them to carry it to the laundry room themselves. You can walk with them and bring the larger basket with the rest of the laundry and have them help put it all into the machine. Most young kids love to push buttons so teach them which buttons to push to turn on the washer or dryer. Older kids can help fold or put away laundry too.
Take Care of the Pets
If your family has pets, houseplants, or a garden, have your kids help with their care too. Young ones can refill the pet’s water dish by filling a small measuring cup or plastic watering can with water and using that to fill the bowl. They can help refill the food too. Have them water the houseplants or garden with you.
Have the Right Tools
The key to including your kids in the household chores is to find ways that they can help. Make the environment one that they fit in. Buy a few small tools that are their size, so they have their items when it comes time to work. You can often find child-sized household tools in IKEA, World Market, or other home goods or discount stores. Let your child choose an apron, buy a step stool or a toddler learning tower and see how happy they are to be big enough to help take care of the house too.