The word ‘chores’, in my mind, conjures up the image of workhouse orphans singing it’s hard knock life but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

We do chores but with the approach that they are learning skills for life and incorporate it into our everyday, rather than a checklist with a reward or punishment consequence. 

The first key to success is organisation, which is easier than it sounds. We implemented a simple toy storage solution. 2×4 cube storage from Ikea, trays and baskets to organise items into categories (as pictured). There is an unimposed rule that a tray/basket is taken to the rug to be played with and then put back before selecting the next. 

Here is a list of ‘chores’ I feel are age appropriate for a 2 and nearly 4 year old:

  • Tidy toys away: -we always put them away before meals, leaving home or going to bed.
  • Put dirty clothes in the laundry basket: -this is easy to do as the laundry basket is the bathroom and this is now a part of their bath time routine.
  • Help set the table: -they enjoy this responsibility, I have all their cups, plates and cutlery in a basket on a low shelf in the kitchen for ease of access
  • Tidy up after their meal: -with help (if needed) they can clear any remaining food into the bin and put dirty dishes/cups on the side
  • Tidy shoes and clothes away as needed

‘Chores’ they have chosen to help with:

  • Hanging up washing
  • Switching washing machine on
  • Sweeping (or at least attempt to sweep with their own broom set)
  • Polishing shoes (actually a great motor skills activity and keeps them busy!)

I have recently introduced the idea of making their own breakfast and washing up afterwards. Oftentimes children learn when they’re making a mess, a few scattered cornflakes and spilt milk are all part of the experience. W enjoys pouring milk into the cereal for himself and his brother, as well as pouring the water into their cups. B enjoys choosing which fruit they’ll both have with their cereal and putting out the spoons for the yoghurt pots, W can access from inside the fridge door. When finished, I leave a washing up bowl of warm soapy water on the table for them to wash their bowls and cups in, water gets everywhere but the main thing is that they are learning to take responsibility for themselves whilst also having fun. 

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