Dominic is 2 1/2, and we have already begun implementing his role of helping out around the house as a part of who he is as a part of our family. I don't think any child is too young to begin.
Just think how much their future roommate/spouse will love you. Also, as your child gets older and can successfully take responsibility for chores that you're presently completing, you'll get a bit of a break. Here are a few things I've found helpful with teaching household chores to young children.
Expect it to take more time. I love efficient cleaning. Cleaning the house is definitely not on my top loves in life. I find I work best when I set timers and get as much done in that timeframe as possible. I still do this, but when I am having Dom help alongside, I expect it to take longer. I have to expect this because it almost always does. He's little, and he takes longer to complete tasks- not to mention the many times we sometimes have to redo a chore. Instead of the 2 seconds it takes me to grab dirty laundry and toss it into a basket, Dom takes him a good minute or so.
Don't expect perfection. We only perfect something by learning. Eventually all the contents from the dustpan will make it into the garbage can, but for now he's trying. I let Dom put away the clothes that are probably not going to unfold (socks) or the things I don't care if they come unfolded (diaper covers + PJs). It's helped me as well, learning how to let certain things go a little more imperfect than I would like.
Work with who you have. Think age appropriate. The first "chore" introduced in our house by Dom's first birthday was picking up his toys. We obviously helped him, and this was made easy by most of the toys just having to be placed inside a basket. Don't expect too much of your child - if he/she's not able to fulfill a task, it will just prove to be a frustrating experience all around. Also know yourself. I am not a super scheduled cleaner, so I know I have to have reminders as I teach my kids that certain chores are daily, some weekly, and others monthly. I know it's easier for me to get the laundry done earlier in the day and to only have to do at max, 3 loads in one day. There are many things you'll learn about yourself (or perhaps you already have) as you teach these chores to another.
Make it fun. For us, this includes some dance music to make our toy pick-up go faster or to keep our vacuuming from getting too scary (my boys are still pretty young; hopefully they'll outgrow this). I never received an allowance growing up, and we don't plan on that being a part of our household. However, I am presently on the lookout for a baking pan to upcycle into some sort of chore chart. When I actually do this, I shall share. I want my children to see that when their responsibilities are complete, there is time to enjoy privileges.
More ideas + info:
An awesome Age Appropriate Chores Printable from The Happy Housewife
My Pinterest board: A More Perfect Mess for organizing ideas + cleaning schedules
Another of my Pin. boards: Green Home + Human Care for natural cleaner recipes that are safe for kids to use
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