Daily chores instil responsibility in youngsters, rather than simply doing something because they want to. This is a terrific lesson for a four (or five, or six) year kid, and it will benefit everyone if these chores become habits and a seamless part of everyday life.
Chores provide youngsters valuable life skills. What could possibly be more crucial? It is surely our parental obligation to ensure that our children understand and are equipped to care for themselves and their environment in an age-appropriate manner.
Chores take everyday activities to the next level. Early practical life labour can (and will) teach children the abilities they need to accomplish their responsibilities. A child who learns to fold laundry properly with Montessori folding cloths can later use what they’ve learned at home. And the kid can apply the Montessori sense of order to their home surroundings, such as keeping their room clean, putting their clothing away, and sweeping up messes.
Why Teach Your 4 Year Old How To Do Chores
Around the age of four, they can begin doing real chores and relieve you of some of the cleaning duties. That is, if you properly educate them.
I’m a big believer in having kids help out around the house with chores. It makes it easy to keep your house tidy, for starters. Not only because you have an extra pair of hands, but also because tidy kids produce less messes in the first place.
Completing chores provides a sense of accomplishment and worth to everyone, especially children. You’re teaching children skills that they’ll be able to utilise for the rest of their life.
Expectations Of A 4 Year Old
Expect your youngster to understand something if he or she is not shown how to accomplish it. Take the time to clarify your expectations as well as to demonstrate what you want done.
Patience is required. They’ll make mistakes while learning, and they’ll probably need to be reminded of how to execute their jobs properly as they go. It helps me to remember that our son is only five years old, and I can’t expect him to do things like an adult!
Don’t be afraid to lavish praise on your youngster. Encourage them even if the job wasn’t done perfectly but you could tell they tried their hardest. I’ve noticed that the more I applaud our son for performing a good job, the better he appears to do. It’s strange how it works!
Chores your 4 Year Old Can Do
In our house, everyday duties are largely about self-care for a four-year-old. They are aimed at teaching the youngster to take care of himself and to accept responsibility for his or her actions. These chores are mandatory in our house and must be completed on a daily basis.
- Make bed (really just pulling up the sheet/blanket)
- Getting dressed (including putting shoes on)
- Putting pyjamas away or in the dirty clothes basket
- Putting away breakfast dishes, placemat and napkin
- Brush teeth, wash face, brush hair
- Prepare bag, hat, sunscreen, water bottle for school
- Put any rubbish in bin/waste in compost
- Tidy up any activities (may involve wiping down art table, cleaning up paper scraps)
- Hang up towels (from bath/shower)
- Put away shoes and dirty clothes
- Hang up hats, bags at home
- Tidy bedroom and work spaces
- Clean up any spills or breakages
Chores also teach respect to children. They have respect for themselves, others, and their surroundings. We appreciate our environment and the necessity for others to use it, so we maintain it clean. Out of respect, we build attractive places. While the following chores are unavoidable, now is the time to get the child involved in as many other responsibilities as possible.
In our house, the four-year-old is not required to do any extra chores, but he or she will be invited or encouraged to do them on a regular basis, if not daily. My four-year-old is still at the point where he enjoys many of these activities, so we take use of it and utilise his enthusiasm and expertise to teach him how to do them (do them well, with skill, with some accuracy). All of these activities are voluntary, enjoyable, and frequently done with a parent or sibling.
- Wash or dry dishes/empty dishwasher
- Sort cutlery
- Feed pets
- Fold laundry
- Take dirty clothes to laundry
- Hang up washing
- Empty garbage
- Sweep, mop, rake, possibly vacuum
- Set table (placemats, cutlery, napkins, pitcher, glasses on table)
- Dust/wipe down surfaces
- Dust/wipe down indoor plants
- Clean mirrors
- Prepare snacks/mealtime preparation (wash/cut/peel vegetables, make salad)
- Put away groceries/help with making list and grocery/market shopping
- Water plants
- Harvest fruit and vegetables from garden, weed/mulch garden
- Sort and tidy books, toys
- Change sheets/take sheets off bed/make bed
I also believe that this is the time to begin preparing youngsters for increased responsibilities. So, while the four-year-old isn’t accountable for a pet at the moment, he does take care of a few plants (for the most part) (planters on our deck). It will be years before he is fully responsible for a pet, but he can be taught how to fill the water bowl, determine how much food the pets require, and what they eat.
Many of these excellent habits are instilled in children as early as toddlerhood, and it is then a natural progression for them to perform these activities. Chores may get more challenging and/or in number as the child grows older. Daily duties are a part of our lives at home.
How To Get Kids To Start Chores
Before a parent ever considers teaching their children to clean, they should examine themselves and their own cleaning practises.
Parents should model excellent cleaning habits, such as putting items away in a timely manner, keeping work surfaces tidy, and maintaining a positive attitude about the cleaning process.
Make careful to lead by example, both with your words and your deeds. After cleaning, be in a pleasant attitude and give yourself a pat on the back (aloud) when you finish a difficult chore.
It’s also crucial to gently remark (rather than lecturing) the importance of cleaning.
How To Encourage Kids To Put Away Toys
Let’s face it, modelling excellent housekeeping habits and gradually introducing cleaning responsibilities isn’t sufficient. You must keep the kids interested in cleaning. This is when my espionage techniques come into play.
Here are some of my tried-and-true methods for making cleaning and housework for kids more easy and enjoyable:
Do not simply tell your children to “clean up.” Make sure you’re clear on the task at hand. If you want children to put their toys away, tell them to clean up the blocks first, then the cars, and then the stuffed animals. Make sure the instructions are straightforward to follow and appropriate for the child’s age.
Add New Chores Slowly
Remember to add new chores one at a time. Allow time for your youngster to become accustomed to one new chore and to master it before adding another.
This means you deliver him this list of 12 things the day after his fourth birthday (since assigning tasks on someone’s birthday is cruel), and expect him to master them.
Some of the duties on this list are repeats from the toddler and three-year-old lists. Start the first month of year four by going over the toddler list to make sure he’s covered everything.
Perhaps in the second month, you go over the three-year list and double-check that it’s still valid.
Then, in the third month, you work on teaching him to brush his teeth on his own, with the objective of him being able to do it by the end of the month. Move on to making the bed the next month (or whatever you think is best from the list above).
Always keep in mind that you must teach the skill before your child may practise it. Then, before he can be good at anything, your youngster will require a lot of practise time.
If you’re worried about letting your youngster clean his or her teeth, come up with a compromise. When my children first started working, I would have them clean their own teeth for one session every day, and I would do the rest.
We set deadlines for specific tasks using Google Home. Unless they’re aware that they’re on the clock, children will put things off as long as possible. If your children aren’t motivated to finish the chore the first time you ask, use this as a warning.
We gently remind our children of the necessity of keeping a tidy play space when they can’t find a lost puzzle piece or get hurt stumbling over a toy. This explains why we clean in a way that they can comprehend.
My kids seem to disregard me the more I remind them to pick stuff up. So I make them sing it over and over till they’ve finished the task. Every time, the melody is different because I make up a jingle on the spot – “place the blocks on the shelf, on the shelf, on the shelf…”
Chore Cards and Chore Chart
Sometimes a chore chart or chore card pack can be super helpful with chores. This is the one we use.
As we’ve covered, persuading youngsters to take on new cleaning tasks and tidy their rooms isn’t difficult at first. It’s a different story when it comes to making these habits a habit.
It’s all about achieving the right balance of consistency and inconsistency, in my opinion. Part of it should absolutely become a regular pattern, but you also need to shake it up (using all of the strategies I listed above!).
The one-item-at-a-time rule is followed by many mums. Personally, I am incapable of doing so. Nope. It stifles innovation, in my opinion (and also means I have to constantly watch them).
I don’t see anything wrong with action figures and firefighters playing together — let them all have fun! I find it useful to pop in every now and then to keep an eye on the toy situation. Instruct them to put away whatever they aren’t playing with right now if the play area starts to appear entirely out of control.
It’s sometimes too late, the room is a wreck, but it’s bedtime, which means it’s time to get those kids cleaning. In those situations, I find it really beneficial to decrease the amount of clean-up they have to do, which means I do a little pre-cleaning for 10 minutes or so before it’s time to put things away. As a result, it appears to be less visually overwhelming.
Keep in mind that your organising and storage method should be child-friendly. Personally, I have closed shelves behind cabinet doors. Preschoolers aren’t always the neatest when it comes to putting things away on shelves, but this way I can lock the doors and everything is in order. For anything that doesn’t fit on the shelves, we have a large “catch-all” bucket.
Having said that, it’s equally critical to moderate your expectations and be realistic. You must assess the environment and the scenario at hand.
My kids perform at least one duty a day, although they don’t always put their toys away, if I’m being honest. They do on most days, but not every day.
It’s all about achieving the right balance of consistency and habit. That’s how you convince your four-year-old to help you clean (and keep it clean!)