MARTY Rossmann of the University of Mississippi used data collected over 25 years, starting in 1967, to discern whether asking children to help with household chores starting at age three or four was instrumental in predicting the children's success in their mid-20s. Chores, she determined, instilled in children the importance of contributing to their families and gave them a sense of empathy as adults. Those who had done chores as young children were more likely to be well-adjusted, have better relationships with friends and family and be more successful in their careers.
Assigning chores to your child can start as early as they start to walk, and while they may not be able to understand the value of the work they're doing, it teaches them life skills from early.
Here are some chores you can have your little one do:
Pick up toys
Ask them to pick up toys — this is as simple as you demonstrating what to do and applauding their efforts. Start with a song — Barney's Clean Up Song is good — and do the motions of picking up the toys from the floor and depositing them in the toy box. Pretty soon your toddler will be super good at helping out.
Clean high chair tray
If your toddler shows interest in mimicking you when you're wiping surfaces, then make it worth your while. Hand them a dishrag and let them clean the tray on their high chair. This is a small enough area for them to get clean, and for you to monitor.
Pick up garbage
Living with a toddler will mean that there will be food and juicebox wrappers all around your home, and you want to teach them early how to properly dispose of garbage. In the same way you teach them to pick up toys, teach them how to throw garbage in the trash. Mind you though, strict monitoring is needed, because once the toddler learns this, they may get so excited that many things that don't belong in the garbage will end up there too.
All that's needed for this is a bucket of soapy water and two willing toddler hands. Immerse the rubber toys in the water, and show the baby how to scrub. This will be two doses of fun for them — one, they get to help, and two, they get to play in water.
Wash days can be overwhelming — but not so much so when you have two more hands to help. Toddlers love to sort things, and if they know their colours, you can have them help you sort the bundles before washing. Even if they don't know their colours just yet, they can still help on laundry day with picking up clothes pins and handing them to you.
This one is pretty easy for your little one, whether you're using a hose or a watering can. Just put the adjustable nozzle on the hose and show them the spot you want watered. Same goes for the watering can — they'll be stoked to help.
Put away groceries
Whether it's helping take the grocery items from the bags and handing them to you to put up, or you handing them items like vegetables, cereal or their juice boxes to organise, putting away groceries is a chore your toddler will love.
You may have to dish out the dog or cat food yourself initially, but have your toddler place the kibbles into the bowl, and guide their hands to help while you're pouring the water. Pretty soon they will be pros at feeding the pets, and you can add this to their full-time list of chores to do when they're older.