Chores for children can create a learning experience
Encouraging children to do household jobs can be a chore within itself but it has many benefits – for both children and parents.
Research from Macquarie University shows doing household chores, such as setting the table, stacking the dishwasher and cooking could help improve children’s literary and numeracy skills.
Macquarie University’s Institute of Early Childhood Yeshe Colliver said his work with four-year-olds found they were interested in what adults were doing and parents could incorporate that into learning.
He said children learnt how the world worked by watching and copying people around them. Encouraging children to take part in everyday activities could improve their learning outcomes.
The Raising Children’s Network agrees, saying encouraging children to do chores could also help make them feel competent and responsible, and could help build family relationships.
The key is in choosing the right type of chores for the different age groups.
Two to three years old will be able to pick up toys and books, put clothes in their rooms and set placemats on the dinner table.
At four and five years old, you can expect children to be able to help make their own beds, set the dinner table, and help put clean clothes away.
By the age of six to eight years old, children should be able to look after food and water for their pets, hose the garden, taken out the rubbish and make simple meals.
In her book, Children Are People Too
, Dr Louise Porter writes parents need to adjust their expectations when it comes to asking children to do chores. “You are likely to want higher levels of tidiness and cleanliness than your children will think is necessary,” she writes.
Ages 2 to 3 years old
Ages 4 to 5 years old
- Pick up toys and put them away
- Put dirty clothes in the washing basket
- Put placemats on the dinner table
- Brush their teeth and wash and dry their face
Ages 6 to 8
- Water indoor plants
- Help with feeding the pet
- Make their own bed
- Help bring in the groceries
- Keep their bedroom tidy
- Wipe down the kitchen and bathroom sinks
- Put away groceries
- Pack and unpack their own school bag
- Help set and clear the table