This is a tricky one. What age do you start? What chores are suitable? In my opinion, every child is different - so you need to be the judge and decide what works for you. Here are a couple of tips that I have found handy when introducing my 3 and a half year old to chores.
In the beginning, it's important to choose chores that are achievable'. Image source: www.freedigitalphotos.net "A Dustpan And Brush" by Grant Cochrane
Pick a chore that's fun and they'll enjoy My daughter loves grapes and loves to count and sort, so I have recently involved her in the washing and sorting of grapes for easy, healthy snacks.
I try to time this activity at morning or afternoon tea time, so we kill two birds with one stone.
The first step is to wash the grapes. At the moment, I do this step to avoid unnecessary mess, but soon I know my daughter will be able to do the whole process on her own.
First I wash the grapes, then she'll sort them into individual containers, sneaking a couple for herself along the way.
My daughter then picks the grapes from the stems and sorts them into individual containers. This is a great way to develop their counting skills too.
Once she's finished, we put them in the fridge, ready for a quick, healthy grab and go snack.
When all the grapes have been sorted (or eaten), we then pop the lids on the containers and store them in the fridge for a healthy snack later.
Create a routine My daughter is very focused on 'being a big girl' at the moment and she gets a kick out of being responsible. So we thought this was a good opportunity to introduce her to setting the table. Therefore, every night while I am cooking the dinner, I remind her to set the table. She has her little routine which consists of:
Getting out the place mats and putting them on the table.
Collecting the knives and forks and putting them on each place mat (most of the time in the right spot.)
Putting the cups on the table.
Find their currency Different things will motivate different children. It could be money, a new toy, a new book or special outing (I could carry the list on forever). To reward your child, you must first find their currency.
In the beginning, the satisfaction of just completing the task may be enough, however, to keep them motivated, you might like to introduce pocket money or a reward for finishing their chores.
Consistency I am hoping that by introducing little chores early, this will get her used to responsibility and routine. For example, when my daughter is finished with her cup and plate, I always remind her to take them to the sink. Now she just does it out of habit.
By being consistent with her daily or weekly chores, it should soon become second nature and hopefully we will avoid resistance as she gets older.
Do you have any tips you can share on how you introduced your children to chores? What age did you start them?