/**/ The Purposeful Wife: 25 Ways My Four Year Old Helps Around the House

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

25 Ways My Four Year Old Helps Around the House

Not too long ago I shared 20 Ways My Two Year Old Helps Around the House. Ever since I've been meaning to post a corresponding one for my four year old!

I believe it is so important to train 'em while they're young. Having small children do chores around the house teaches them work ethic, gives them a sense of responsibility and belonging within the family, and helps develop basic hand-eye-coordination and life skills.

Far from sucking the joy out of childhood, expecting kids to "work" gives them happiness enabling structure and sense of worth and duty. Here are 25 simple ways my daughter, now 4 years old, helps around the house. She doesn't do all of these things every day or even every week, and many of them require my assistance and supervision, but I am trying to intentionally include her in my own housework as much as possible.

1. Makes her bed. Not perfectly, but she can fluff the pillow and pull the blanket up straight. To keep things simple, we cover our kids only in warm fleece blankets at night {no tricky top sheet or multiple layers of bedding!}.

2. Gets dressed, puts dirty clothes in hamper. S still needs help getting dressed each day- mostly because she insists on wearing dresses every day, and it is a little tricky for her to button or zip the back of a dress. But I encourage her to do all of the parts that she can, and she knows that she is always responsible for putting dirty clothes in her bedroom laundry basket.

3. Puts away clean utensils. My mom says this is the first real chore she assigned to all four of her kiddos. It is a good lesson in matching and sorting! I'm also teaching her to handle sharp knives with care {basic kitchen safety}.

4. Picks up toys. Probably a no brainer, but as a general rule parents should not be picking up after kids!

5. Puts books back on the shelf. I've ROYGBIV'd the books on her book shelves, so she knows to match the color of the spine to other books on the shelf, and how to place them gently and neatly in their proper place.

6. Takes dirty dishes to the sink. After every meal.

7. Helps set the table. I let her carry and set all of the non-breakables.

8. Puts away clean clothes. After I fold the laundry, I can hand her a stack and have her put it away in the proper drawer.

9. Switches the laundry. Both of my kids enjoy tossing dirty clothes in the washer, and then throwing clean items that I hand them into the drier.

10. Wipes the bathroom sink. Not perfectly- sigh. I always follow after her and catch the spots she's missed. But we are learning people!

11. Waters plants. A fun chore for any small child!

12. Wipes light switches, door handles, baseboards. By no means something that happens often in our house, but if I am already cleaning I hand her a soapy wash cloth, sponge, or wet wipe and have her make the rounds with it.

13. Pushes the vacuum. Our vacuum is still too heavy for her to push on her own, but I guide her and show how to methodically pick up the crumbs.

14. Washes a few basic dishes. The plastic ones ;).

15. Fetches things I need. Diapers, wipes, a tissue, brother's shoes, etc. Very very handy.

16. Throws away garbage. Super simple.

17. Empties smaller garbage cans into the big one. She can take the smaller cans from various corners of the house and collect all of the garbage in the biggest one before we take it out.

18. Holds the mixer while we are baking. And switches on and off the buttons. Fun!

19. Adds ingredients. Again, both my kids love helping out in the kitchen.

20. Stirs pots and pans. Carefully, with me standing right over her shoulder, just in case.

21. Spreads jam and peanut butter. True story. Sure, it can get messy... but how else is a child supposed to learn?

22. Dusts. Lower surfaces within her easy reach, with a microfiber cloth.

23. Washes fruits and veggies. Water play is pretty much every kid's favorite thing, so why not put that love of splashing to good use?

24. Folds simple laundry items. Wash cloths. Socks,

25. Holds the dust pan for me.  At this age her hand is fairly steady, and its nice to have the help. 

I'd love to know what you have your four year olds do! I'm always looking for new ideas.

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