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How much can my young child really help out around the house?
I love reader questions, and this is one I get asked a lot. I think it is because I have a small baseball team of my own 🙂
My answer to this question is always the same: probably a lot more than you think.
I can say that because when my older kids were younger I had them do a lot less than I do my younger kids now. This is primarily because I didn’t think they were capable, which was then combined with knowing that what they did wouldn’t be done nearly as well as it would have if I had done it myself.
As the years have gone by and our family has grown to include what is now eight children, I have come to realize how invaluable it is for both young kids and the family unit to have these younger kids carry a share of the family workload.
I’m sure I will hear comments about being a slavedriver and abusing my kids since I make them work, but as a mom of a bunch of teens who are now extremely hard workers as I have demanded more of them, I know of the incredible value that hardworking kids experience in their own lives. My kids make nice money working hard!
I will share the value of hard work as my older kids now experience it at a later time, but for now I will share some of the things that my youngest kids do to help out. My young ones are currently newly four and newly six, but my kids as young as two start doing many of these things.
This is how my young child help out around the house:
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- They help load the dishwasher
- They help clear the table after meals
- They help prepare meals in simple ways
- By the time they are four they can unload most of the dishwasher (minus the glass dishes)
- Make their own beds
- Take care of their own dirty laundry
- Put away their clean laundry
- Pick up their toys
- Wash floors
- Mop floors
- Vacuum up crumbs after the meal
- Vacuum carpet with a light vacuum
- Help with younger siblings
- Pack things to go in the car
- Help clean the inside of the car
- Help wash the outside of the car
- Tidy rooms
- Load and unload the washer and dryer
- Help hang laundry outside
- Sweep the garage
- Sweep the front porch
- Pull weeds in flowers or garden
- Take out trash
- Take out recycle
- Dust low furniture and trim
- Clean the sink (this is my 6 year old’s favorite thing to do these days)
- Help unload groceries from car
- Help put groceries away
- Put hand washed dishes away
- Help with pet care
- Help make grocery list and do pantry inventory
I’m guessing this list is more extensive than what you would have thought it to be. I find that young kids love to help out, especially when they understand that they are helping the entire family by doing their part. You can also make it fun for them, offer incentives, and praise, praise, praise them for all that they do.
Many of the time management and productivity tips that I share speak of the importance of delegating things to other family members. I can’t tell you of the numerous times that I hear moms of young ones say that their kids are too young to delegate things to.
I can say that our family could not function without delegating some of the workload to our younger kids, and you will be so amazed at how passing some of these things on to your kids benefits everyone – them included!
As I mentioned in the beginning, your standards will need to be adjusted when young ones are doing the work, but I am often amazed at how well my young kids can do…it is almost always way better than I anticipated they could do!
The next time you think that your kids are too young to help out, pull out this list and start delegating. You and they will be so glad you did!
For more on cleaning, try reading