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How to Get Preschoolers Excited About Helping Around the House

How to Get Preschoolers Excited About Helping Around the House

Does your little one like to help around the house? Do you let him sweep, unload the dishwasher, or put away folded laundry? If your answer is yes, do you think these little jobs should be formalized as chores? And if your answer is no, how do you jump start a little helper?

At What Age Can Kids Start to Contribute?

Circle of Moms member Nicki H.'s son began doing chores when he was five, starting with taking out the trash and picking up his baby sister's toys, for which he received $10 per month. She is slowly adding to his list of things to do, and finds that the system works well for her family.

Christy B. began asking her kids to do simple chores, like picking up their toys, around age two, but she didn't institute an allowance until age five. Why? She believes that kids should be trained to care for their environment as a given, and that privileges such as computer or TV time aren't possible until chores are done. By the time kids reach five or so, they can earn money as one of those privileges, and they can spend it at the store on whatever they want. This saves Christy from having to spend extra on items at the store that aren't on her list, and the kids are limited to the amount of money they have.


Some parents disagree with this approach. Tammy B. wants her daughter to pick up after herself and keep her room tidy, but she doesn't think a child this young should be given regular duties — or an allowance. She plans to provide what her daughter needs, including regularly putting money in a savings account for her. 


How to Use Allowances and Reward Charts 

Natalie G. takes a hybird approach with her three kids, the youngest of whom is four. Each child gets $5 per week for doing age-appropriate tasks, but she reduces this amount when a child misbehaves. So, for her, chores and allowance are inextricably tied to other expectations, such as not fighting with siblings or using bad language.

My son is nearly two-and-a-half, and we don't yet reward him with money for completing simple chores. But I think by the time he's three or four, peer pressure, if nothing else, will bring the issue to the forefront. Olin has a piggy bank, and he likes putting money into the slot, but I don't think he understands the concept of saving or even what money is for. I don't mind rewarding him for helping with household chores, but I think a few basics should be expected without reward. Keeping his room tidy and picking up his toys are jobs I want him to embrace for the satisfaction they inherently provide. For example, if he is looking for his toy airplane, he will find it easily if he'd earlier put it away in the right place. If he instead left it under the kitchen table, finding it will take longer and he'll feel frustrated.

When I was a kid, I loved earning my allowance, as I felt like the exchange also gave me the freedom to use my money as I saw fit. I often chose to spend all my money on one big, nice toy, whereas my younger sister bought many small things, and was even looking for sales by the time she started school. For better or for worse, these habits have persisted to this day!

Whether or not they offer an allowance, many Circle of Moms members recommend magnet charts or dry-erase boards with pictures of chores for helping your pre-reader (and yourself) remember and track his responsibilities. These methods not only help remind a child of their jobs, nut will help you know when a reward is due. As Elizabeth J. points out, both you and your child will feel great when he can see that he has completed his work.

Image Source: Courtesy of dreilinger via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
LeslieWeimer LeslieWeimer 3 years
My helps on her own. I do not have to encourage her at all. She been doing since she was turning 2 and now she three.
EmmalicePilz EmmalicePilz 6 years
When we realized at age 3 that Jenny knew where the money came from....."Mommy can I buy this, you have money in your purse?" then we knew it was time to explain money matters to her. Every time we walk into a store and she wants some toy, the answer is usually..."Did you bring your money?". If she answers "No" then she knows she cannot buy it and we will not buy it for her. She receives tokens to put in a piggy bank and at the end of each week, the tokens are added up and money is then put into her purse,not mommy's. When the item at the store is more than what she has earned, she also knows that more chores are required to purchase that item. This gives her the independence they deserve and also teaches her the value of a dollar or should I say penny. Not only are you teaching them about money, there is counting, respect, and most important independence. The earlier we can teach them, the better.
Stephanie73816 Stephanie73816 6 years
Both my children have little chores. We have a chore chart made up. Every chore they do, they get a sticker. At the end of the week, they get 5¢ for every sticker. They are 4 and 6. My daughter loves that she can count by 5s and see how much money she'll get. My son doesn't fully understand but he gets excited about the stickers and that he gets money. Their chore list is very simple. Make their beds, pick up their toys in their room, no fighting with each other (this one is good to keep the fighting to a minimum), help mommy around the house (this one happens anyways, but thiers less fighting with me when I ask them to put their toys in their room), and to put the dirty clothes down the laundry shute. My daughter also gets stickers for if she has good behavior at school. We had a problem with her not following rules (no talking). She was always honest, and so I didn't want to punish her for being honest. Her teacher suggested it, and it has worked wonders. It totals less than $5.00 a week and it really works for our family.its never perfect, but as long as they get the gist, and I'm able to Vacuum their room, they get their stickers.
LisaTugulea LisaTugulea 6 years
My eldest is almost 4 and she does bits and pieces around the house for me. It mostly started as fun for her to fill the washing machine and turn it on, brushing the floor. But now I get her to fix her bed in the morning and we tidy up the toys together. I also have her in charge of her own clothes, in the morning she gets her underwear and vest and can choose her own clothes and put the dirty ones in the wash basket. As we go on ill give her more set things to do but ill keep them fun for her too. She wont be getting an allowance for a bit and when we do start giving it to her it will be a euro or 2 to put in a savings book towards something special that she wants to get like a new toy ect.
MicheleMarthaller MicheleMarthaller 6 years
my kids are 2 and 4 they love to help mom and dad. I think the sooner you start the better. they also have to pickup their toys or no tv or outside time until its done. I dont expect very toy or it to be perfect just mostly cleaned up. Im not sure when they can get allowance i still think their to young.
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