One of the biggest challenges in parenting a preschool-aged kid is teaching responsibility — without constantly nagging. Now that Phoebe’s almost four, we’ve decided that she’s ready to take on a few simple chores to learn the importance of pitching in and contributing to the family — plus, it’ll help me out since sometimes I feel like half my life is spent cleaning up after littles (anyone else?) Today we’re teaming up with Seventh Generation as part of our Living Green series to talk about kids’ chore charts. I’m a big fan of their nontoxic plant-based ingredients that also really get the job done, especially when it comes to cleaning with my kids and I’m more sensitive to what their little bodies are ingesting. Click through the slides to see what tasks are on Phoebe’s beginner’s agenda — and download the cutest kids chore chart that we created for you to print out and hang on the fridge!
*images by Buff Strickland
I’ve found that when I’m introducing a new chore, it helps if I let Phoebe know that she gets to try it out because she’s a big kid. Now that she’s almost four, she’s ready to tackle a new task and I believe in her abilities to get the job done.
Engaging a preschooler in any cleaning task brings with it a new awareness of the safety of ingredients in what you’re using. I love that I can feel confident that Seventh Generation’s products will effectively remove dirt without creating any harsh fumes that could be harmful for my family.
When Phoebe resists helping me with a task, it usually helps if I suggest we do it together. For example, when we clean windows, I spray and Phoebe wipes — new tasks don’t seem as daunting when they’re presented as a shared family activity.
Several of my friends have had a lot of success using chore charts — they can give kids a sense of accomplishment and add an element of excitement to helping out. I’m keeping ours simple and manageable with just 4 chores to start, and I’ll encourage Phoebe to check off the chores she completed at the end of each day. I searched online to try and find a cute one with no luck, so we decided to make one to share with you guys!
Download and print the kids chore chart here.
We left the specific chores blank since they’ll vary and change based on your child’s age and ability level. After you print out the chart, fill in the blanks with age-appropriate chores, hang on the wall or the fridge in a spot where your child can reach, then place stickers close by.
Phoebe has always loved helping with the dishes — especially when I let her put in the stopper and fill it up with bubbles! This plant-based dish liquid makes quick work of washing, fighting grease without any dyes or synthetic fragrances.
Another tip I’ve learned: make it fun! As adults, we tend to approach household cleaning with such a serious attitude, but when we lighten up and find ways to incorporate fun into the task at hand (ie. filling up the sink with too many bubbles or turning on music and dancing while we vacuum) it improves everyone’s attitude. My mom has always been great at this: she’ll challenge Phoebe to a “race” to see who can put all their toys away or jump in bed for nap time first.
*shown: black currant & rosewater hand soap
There are a lot of different opinions on the most appropriate way to incentive kids to do chores. On one hand, you want to give them goals to work towards; on the other, you want them to understand that helping out is also just part of being in a family, regardless of a tangible reward. I’ve decided to present Phoebe with shared fun activities (like a trip to the park or library) to work towards instead of an allowance or a prize. And for some kids, that sticker on the chart is all the incentive they need to get excited.
For lots more tips on living clean & green, check out some of the other posts in our series!