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“Chore”- it’s not really a word that I grew up with or intend on using in my household. It gets the point across in the title however, as to what I’m writing about. Today I want to talk about the expectations we’ve set with our daughter. The tasks that she is responsible for taking care of. I want to talk about what she’s capable of handling, and how she contributes to household tasks.
I don’t view these items as chores, because I want her to learn that she is expected to help out whenever possible. I don’t want her growing up learning to just check off her list. Being a family is a team effort, and we all have to pitch in to get things done. We have responsibilities as a family, and we all help out the best way we can. As Daniel Tiger says, “Everyone is big enough to do something”.
Caroline is now almost 2.5 years old! I can’t believe it. The time is simply flying by. Here are some things that we expect her to do around the house:
Laundry – Caroline can find all of the underwear and socks and put them into piles. She can match sock pairs and, once I put them together, she can open the drawer, put the items away, and close the drawer. As soon as I dump the laundry out onto the floor to sort and put away, she is right there helping me and knows what to do!
Dishwasher – While Caroline can’t reach most places yet to put things away, she can hand things to me and help with the unloading process (yes this slows me down a lot, but is well worth it). She hands me the silverware, plates, bowls, etc. There are a few items that we keep in the lower cabinets that she can actually put away herself. On occasion, I put her up on a stool and hand her silverware one at a time. She finds the correct slot to put the forks, knives, and spoons in, and even sorts big vs. small. When doing dishes, I sometimes hand her items to place on the lower shelf of the dishwasher. She is horrible at loading (just as my husband thinks I am, and I think he is LOL), but she’s learning, and I just go back through and straighten things out.
Clean up toys – Caroline knows that when she is done with something she is to put everything away. She knows what bin, shelf, drawer, etc. that all of her things go in. I occasionally have to prompt her to clean up, and I also help her a tiny bit on occasion as well, but she is fully capable of doing it all on her own at this point, and she loves doing it.
Clean up messes – If Caroline spills something, I simply ask her what she should do. She knows to clean it up and where the towels are. She can go get the towel all on her own and clean up the mess. I sometimes have to help her to find all of the drops, or get it completely dry, but really she does an amazing job.
Throw things away – Caroline knows just what to do when she finds trash. She can go to the trashcan all by herself and throw things away.
Recycle – While she doesn’t know what items to recycle yet, she does know where to recycle. Caroline takes things out to the blue bin with me and has fun dropping things in from off the porch.
Wipe hands – Caroline is learning to wipe her own hands and face after a meal. She has a cloth napkin to use throughout the meal. I give her a wet wipe after the meal, and she does her best at cleaning herself off. She also cleans the table in front of her. I still have to follow up with a wipe of my own to make sure she is all clean, but she’s getting there.
Help make meals – With the help of her kitchen stool (so glad we made this), Caroline gets up by the counter and helps to make breakfast, lunch and dinner most days! We get some great family time during these moments, and she is really learning to do a lot. She’s learning about healthy choices, getting to be a part of choosing the food she’s eating, and seeing how it all comes together. Again, it can be messy and slow us down, but she’s learning a great deal from it.
Help bring things to the kitchen – When we are finished eating dinner, we are all responsible for bringing something into the kitchen. Sometimes she brings her plate, other times a bowl, or the butter. She can choose what item she brings, but she must bring something.
Do the dishes – Caroline loves cleaning pots! I can put her on a stool at the sink, and give her a rinsed pot to wash. She scrubs and scrubs. It’s messy, but it gets done!
Wipe herself – Caroline is now wiping herself after she goes potty (for pee only).
On our list of goals is learning to get dressed and undressed. Caroline is resisting this one for some reason at the moment, but she is starting to be very capable of this task. I always dress and undress her, and haven’t really been challenging her to do this on her own much, so this is totally my fault that she doesn’t do it already, and something we are working on. If I hand her a shirt rolled perfectly, she can put it over her head and get her arms through most of the time with little assistance. She knows the tag goes in the back, and she attempts to put underwear and pants on at times. She can take her underwear off on her own, but has a harder time getting pants off (leggings are much tighter than underwear). She doesn’t yet pull her own arms out of a shirt, but does pull it over her head, if her arms are out. She can get most shoes off, and some shoes on. She can undo zippers, and she can take a jacket off, if I get one arm out for her. I am trying to do less and empower her to do more.
Obviously, as Caroline gets older, the expectations will be greater. There are probably some things she does that I’m forgetting to add to the list already. I think it’s so important to raise helpers. To raise people that are aware of those around them and aware of what needs to be done. To raise people that look for ways to contribute and that are proactive about doing so. It starts when they are toddlers!
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