Most parents agree that children should participate in doing some
household chores. Chores are not only important because housework gets
done – but because they can improve a child’s confidence, independence,
sense of responsibility and belonging to the family. Young children can
also gain important fine-motor skills from performing chores around the
house. This helps them when they begin school and learn to write and
do other activities that require fine-motor control.
how do parents decide what chores to ask their children to do? Some
parents underestimate their children and won’t let them perform some
chores because they are “too hard” or they dismiss their child as being
“too little” to help. In both of these cases, the child may become
spoiled or feel under-valued as a member of the family. Other parents
overestimate their children and expect them to be able to complete tasks
that are too difficult for their developmental stage, or overwork their
children. Chores should be an enjoyable responsibility with reasonable
expectations and patient guidance from the parents. New chores should
be presented to the child by the parent, showing by example how to
complete the chore. The child should then be allowed to practice the
chore – and some mistakes should be expected and forgiven.
several guidelines of age-appropriate chores have been going around the
internet. A Montessori-inspired version is a particularly good one.
Montessori was famous for studying childhood development in a new way – a
way that allowed her to discover the enormous potential in children.
She observed children and tried to provide activities and learning
opportunities based on what she saw their interests were. The results
were three and four-year-olds writing and performing math operations and
older elementary-aged children carrying out complex research projects
and helping in their communities. She noticed that young children from
3-6 years old enjoyed using real objects and performing real-life
activities – what we might consider chores (and preferred this over
playing with toys!). Throughout a child’s Montessori education, children
take care of the classroom and school – performing activities from
scrubbing tables, to sweeping, to preparing snack and lunch, to
So, if you are a parent looking for inspiration in
what might be appropriate and interesting chores for your child, take a
look at the list below, and happy house-keeping!
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