Oh snap. You read that title right. I make my 3 year old do chores.
And it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as a parent.
1. Doing chores teaches responsibility
In my little 3 year old’s short life, she is already learning what it means to take ownership of and pride in things that are hers or our family’s. Over time, she has become proud of making her bed look pretty at the beginning of the day and put her dresses away in their proper place. She is slowly learning that if she doesn’t help do certain tasks, that things get lost more easily or don’t work the way they should. It’s been a fun process to watch her take pride in her chores!
2. Doing chores gives our day structure
Nora knows that when she wakes up in the morning, before she can put any dress up clothes on that she and I need to make her bed. After that, all fun and play is fair game. She knows that when she is done with her breakfast, that she can go play after she puts her dishes in the sink and we wash our hands. And so on and so forth as the day goes on. This gives our day start and stop points, or a moment to pause, which I have found for her is a great way to alleviate outbursts.
3. Doing chores helps this mama out
Having another little one to chase after all day, it is so helpful to have a second pair of hands to do little tasks with. Picking up toys after we have played with them, putting away laundry, emptying trash cans…these are all things that require little help, but her actions go a long way!
4. Doing chores makes for a grateful heart
I have found that the number of heart-felt thank you’s are so much greater since we started doing regular chores. I think that knowing the effort that goes into doing something causes one to me more grateful when they are done for you, and for Nora, I truly think that when I do certain things around the house she recognizes it more and in turn verbalizes her gratitude. It’s really amazing that she can comprehend that kind of thing at her age. Kids are so awesome.
5. Doing chores allows us to spend time together
Do you notice one common theme through this post (hint-it’s all in italics): TOGETHER. Doing chores with my sweet little toddler is not about giving her a list of things to-do, expecting them to get done perfectly and sending her on her way. It’s about doing these things with her and helping her learn how to do these important tasks. It’s about teaching her how to follow simple steps and learn the value of working with her hands and heart. It’s talking about her favorite Palace Pet while we scrub the floors together or debating the best type of cookie while we dry dishes together. Yes, doing chores is a GREAT way to spend time with my girl, get things done (albeit much slower!) AND teach her so many valuable lessons.
No, these chores are not always done perfectly. But who needs perfection? Because a crooked comforter, a few little crumbs left on the floor, clothes that are only half folded, leftover finger prints on the windows and a little wet rag left on the floor are reminders of some of the greatest blessings in my life, and those are my children.
Stuck on what chores to give your toddler? Here are some really simple tasks that the two of you can do together!
emptying small trash cans
making their bed
sweeping the floors
wiping down cabinets
changing toilet paper rolls
changing out laundry/putting laundry away
setting the table for lunch or dinner
picking up toys