Busy parents all know that sometimes household chores can seem endlessly piled up. However, as your children get older, luckily they can start to help around the house. Even toddlers aren’t too young to help out with simpler tasks, and soon you’ll see how chores can teach your kids some real-world skills for pre-school and kindergarten. Some parents also choose to reward children for doing household tasks, though it might be better when they are older as a way of earning money towards doing fun things with friends and buying clothing, toys, etc. Any way you choose to divvy up tasks to your kids, know that it is not just helping you get things done, but it is helping them as well! And always remember that things may not get done perfectly at first!
Here are some household chores can benefit kids and prepare them for school.
While folding itself may be difficult for younger kids, they can help sort clothes by color and help find things like matching socks. For smaller kids and toddlers, finding matching socks helps with pattern recognition and helps them notice and observe small details and differences. These are useful skills to hone for activities in school. For really young kids, simply color sorting clothes and socks will help them learn as you speak the colors out loud and fold and match together. Practice reading the settings on the laundry machine, and see if younger kids can follow directions to help out. The ability to take and follow directions is one of the most basic skills needed for school.
When older toys and clothes begin to build up, make a point to gather and organize these things for a yard or garage sale. Many different age groups can get involved with this activity. Kids can work together to think of prices that would be appropriate for the things they are selling, and practice writing money symbols and numbers on labels. Making signs for the neighborhood and for tables are also good ways to practice writing and spelling, and artistic kids can draw and decorate. During the sale, they can try counting money and giving change if they are old enough to do the mental math. Once the sale ends, it will be fun to count all the money that was made, and to learn the different coin and dollar values. For added learning and fun, you can take the money to the store to start reading price labels, and comparing values. Some things to talk about: Are the items less or more than what you earned? Do you think your prices were too high or too low?
Once kids are able to read and have some knowledge of fractions, the kitchen is a wonderful place to help out and practice reading, math, and science skills. Cooking is definitely a science, and learning about temperatures, cooking times, and what goes wrong when ingredients aren’t mixed correctly can be a memorable way to learn. Start by making a written list together of the ingredients from the recipe and then let them help find items in the store. Once back at home, kids can help measure, mix, read directions and –hopefully– help clean up. Recipes are an excellent way to apply and learn fractions, and once students get to about 4th grade and above, they can help do the math to split recipes in half servings if you require less for your family.
The next stop after cooking is to load and unload the dishwasher. Young kids can help sort and organize the dishwasher and match like items to go together. Then, once everything is clean, they can match the silverware and plates. This is great practice for young toddlers to start recognizing patterns and matching shapes.
If you’ve been wanting to go green for a while or save money making your own cleaning solutions, now is the time! Do it yourself cleaning is better for you and the environment, but also helps your kids practice measuring and mixing, which are useful skills for a science or chemistry class. For daily cleaning, 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle will do the trick, or to disinfect, try mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap, and 20-30 drops of tea tree oil. Have the kids do the measuring and mixing, and also the cleaning! It can be fun to experiment with scents and making and labeling your own sprays might even encourage creative business skills!
Have kids organize their books on the bookshelf in alphabetical order to practice their ABC’s. This will also help with reading practice, as they should read the whole title of the book as they put them away. This chore can also remind them of all the cool books they have in their room, and may inspire them to go back and read old favorites.
Labeling helps everyone keep organized and know where things belong. Let your kids help you label kitchen items, toys, and storage containers by using an affordable label maker. Kids will enjoy typing in the label maker and making stickers, at the same time practicing their spelling skills. Don’t just spell the words out for them, make a list of things that need labeled and let them try to sound out the words. Then, once all the words are spelled correctly, they can type them into the label maker.
These are a few ways to turn everyday tasks and chores into learning and bonding experiences, while still getting things done! And chores will help kids develop a sense of responsibility too, which will translate into better, more organized, and more helpful students in the classroom. Chores can also help kids with time management when they need to have chores done before seeing their friends or watching TV. Lastly, chores done together help with teamwork and the ability to work with others to finish a project – a very useful skill in school.
Do you use any chores at home to teach your kids? If you have anything to add to the discussion let us know!
Elisa Travalio, Editor, Teacher, Administrator and Blog Writer at A Grade Ahead