As I was standing outside in the cold, trying to convince my dog to stop sniffing and just do her business already, I had this thought: I cannot wait until my daughter can do this instead of me. Right now, she’s just too little to be trusted with a leash and a dog that outweighs her. And dog poop. She cannot be trusted with dog poop. That got me thinking though, what ARE appropriate chores for a preschooler?
I recently had this conversation with a dear friend of mine. I feel I must preface this by saying this friend of mine is extraordinary and a rockstar mother. She also has the best outlook on things. She doesn’t hover over her children and I do, so I feel like I always learn so much from her. Ying and yang, you know?
As she rattled off a plethora of tasks her daughters can carry out, I realized that I could really be doing so much more on the topic of appropriate chores for a preschooler.
I still do a lot of things for my child that she could be doing for herself. I put socks on for her and I take her empty plate to the sink even though I KNOW she is capable of doing those things herself and does them at daycare. I also know I just do these things because it is easier and I can control the mess and the amount of time dedicated to each task. I need to let go of the reigns though, both for myself and for her growth and development.
Get this: I asked my daughter to go to the bathroom herself one day when I had my hands full and suddenly there was a bathroom emergency. Her response? I can’t! (See? I hover.)
I talked her through it and peeked in not two-minutes later to a kid on the toilet with a big smile on her face. She did it and she even washed her hands! And I am not ashamed to say we were both pretty proud in that moment. She goes potty all the time at daycare by herself, why did I feel I needed to still help her?
Moms, I have turned the corner! I have seen the light!
Of course, then my wheels were turning and I came up with a short list of chores for a preschooler that she can do, either by herself or with some assistance:
- Take cup and plate to the sink after a meal
- Wipe down the table
- Help put away groceries
- Help move clean clothes from washer to the dryer
- Make own bed
- Put on own coat, socks, and shoes in the morning
- Take off shoes and coat and put in the appropriate places
- Pick up toys before bed
- Feed the dog
- Pair up clean socks and help fold towels
- Water plants (using a pre-measured amount of water, of course)
- Put dirty clothes in the laundry basket
- Help change the bed sheets
- Help shovel
Sure, it will take her a lot longer to do these things herself than if I just did them. I also know I will probably have mismatched socks and the dog will probably get more food than she really needs. The important thing is, by giving her responsibility, I am teaching her more than “Mom will do it” and in return, making my life a wee bit easier.
Your list of chores for a preschooler may look different than mine, so I am curious, what is on your list?
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