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Oh, Behave: What age should a child be assigned small household chores?


At what age should a child be assigned small household
chores? I think my two-year-old can learn to pick up her toys and put
them in the toy box. My mother thinks I’m asking too much. Can you give a
practical and fair timetable of what tasks and what age is appropriate
to begin helping out?


I like to think that if
they can help you pack on the way home from the hospital, it isn’t too
early to get them involved! Children who participate in chores from an
early age come to see this as part of family life rather than some
burden their parents have put upon them when they reach a certain age.
If you can make chores an integral part of learning or fun, it never
hurts. For example, at age two children can help with laundry by sorting
‘colours’ and ‘whites’ (fun and learning), help with getting meals
ready and setting the table (How many plates do we need? Where do they
go? Let’s make pictures; what is a good picture to give to everyone?). I
like to think of this as ‘doing with children’ vs ‘doing for children’
and another way we can work towards minimizing the feeling that we are
always on call and that parenting is only about doing for others.

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