Little kids generally love helping mommy so call them, “Mommys Little Helper” and change the word chore to job. Job sounds far more important, helping mommy with her jobs gives off a much better vibe than helping mommy with her chores (groan!)
Not Too Young!
The other thing I want to mention is that toddlers are not too young to start helping out around the house, in fact it is a PERFECT time to introduce housework to them! In a Montessori classroom there is a whole section of the curriculum called Practical Life and it is usually the first work that a Montessori child is introduced to. And there are lots of things a young child can be helping you with. I have seen a lot of lists of chores for specific ages, I say what utter rubbish. Don’t be assigning a job because of their age, assign a job that is suitable for their abilities
You are the parent, you know your child the best. You know what they can and can’t do, what frustrates them and what they find easy. Some jobs progress naturally, maybe they start by folding table napkins and towels and progress onto T-shirts or helping in the kitchen by washing veg and eventually they can chop the veg too.
By asking them to help on a regular basis (or expecting them to) you can observe how they are doing and you will know when they are ready to tackle something a bit more challenging. Age appropriate lists are not going to help your child, YOU are the one that can help your child, it just takes the patience to watch as the work. Something you can do as you tackle your jobs. A few other tips…
Should I Use A
Chore Job Chart?
Again, I believe this depends on the child, some kids love them, some don’t give a flying hoot! What does YOUR child like? A daily list of jobs is a great way to get the new routine going or to act as a reminder – we are all busy so it is easy to forget. Laura, one of my My Organized Chaos clients, has 2 small boys and she has job magnets for them, the job is in picture form on the magnet. When they have done 25 jobs, they get to choose a new book from the special basket. The genius bit behind this is, the boys would have been getting the books anyway! But by using this system she is getting them used to helping around the home from an early age.
What About Rewards or Pocket Money?
Everyone has different takes on this, this is what I think… I don’t get paid to keep the house in order so I don’t think anyone else in the family should either. We all pitch in and help because as a family we are a team. That said, if I ask Ebi-kun to do a job which is outside his usual weekly jobs I will offer to pay him and at a rate that we both think is fair for the job in hand. This way he gets to learn about earning money and valuing it too.
My Kids Are Older, Is It Too Late?
I wouldn’t say it is too late but it is hard to re-train older kids. First I recommend sitting down and talking to them, explain that everyone needs to pitch in and ask them which jobs they would like to do (more chance of it getting done if they pick). I wouldn’t resort to bribery, just state it as it is, each person has X amount of jobs to do – make it into a chart and stick it on the wall. If this is a whole new experience for the family, offer a FAMILY treat at the end of the week or month if they stick to it. Often it is just a case of bringing in a new habit or routine and that is the hard part!
Over to you, do your kids help around the home? What kind of jobs do they do?
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