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Looking for some chore ideas for my 4 year old, as well as suggestions to make them simple to do.

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I have a fantastic little 4 year old (4 and a half now) There isn't a person I'd rather spend time with :) I think its about time I give her a bit of responsibility around the house, as I've caught a few instances of her having a bit of "princess" attitude. I'd like to convey to her that I am her momma, and helper, not her servant. And that she's an important member of the family, my helper in turn, and not royalty lol.

She's currently a fantastic helper with anything I'm do, always offering her assistance with any project I'm working on. Her troubles lie in taking care of her own things (which I know, is normal) We both need to get in the habbit of having a pick up time at least once a day.

I plan on putting her in charge of picking up her dirty laundry (I'll be adding a hamper in her room), putting her wet towels on a hook after bath time (I'll add a low hook to the bathroom door). I'd love to hear other suggestions for chore ideas and ways I can help her make them an easy habbit. I'm also aware that I need to re-do her room in a way that will simplify putting her things away herself.

We keep having a revolving argument with daddy that  goes like so:

"Marli, put your toys away."- Dad

"Ummm...ok...will you help me?"- Marli

"No, you got them out, you put them away."- Dad

She takes them to her room and sets them down

"Thats not putting them all the way away." - Dad

"Well, she doesn't really have a place where everything belongs, you can't blame her. At least they are in her room"- Me

"She can put them back where they originally came from"- Dad

"...Thats where they were"- Marli

haha see the problem ^.^

I'll work on my parts (suggestions also welcome there)

I'm not one to give chores just to give them, I also don't want to give her many, just a little handful. Childhood is waaaaaay to short to spend too much time on  work, the rest of life gets ruined with that :)

I plan on using a chart for her like this:

Thanks in advanced! :)

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Replies (11-20):
by Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I know, its true, its a bit difficult though as he never wants to talk about it any other time, and he was raised very differently than I was, so our general parenting styles are different. But it is something we have to try and work on.

I don't really believe in "punishment" in the typical sense, I believe in discipline, as in teaching. I spend quite a lot of time teaching DD the why's behind our rules, so that she can internalise them and want to behave, rather than behaving out of fear (and sneaking just because she would think "If they don't find out..."etc) This method worked wonders for my sister an myself, and I keep catching DD reinforcing the rules all by her self due to it :)

But, S/O was one child in a group of 9, almost all boys, with 8 other children who also came and went in the home. His parents were big farm family kids themselves, and seem to only know the idea of being intimidating and using physical punishments and fear to control all the kids. Though, with the last two youngest kids there, they have backed away from those methods, S/O seems to instinctively resort to wanting to use those ideas (which is totally understandable as a re-action for him, I just need to try and encourage him to respond rather than react) I've gotta remind him of the control issues he grew up having (and still has, seriously, you cannot suggest something simple to this man like: "Maybe you should lay this side ways this time" (or whatever) with out him snapping back with "Don't tell me what to do! I'm an adult now" (issues...)

But your definately right, I've got to be careful infront of DD, I'm sure S/O will apprechiate it too :)

Quoting elzmnsf:

I think you have some good ideas. Making her more responsible for herself . I would caution you, however, that undercutting her dad in front of her is never a good idea. If he is trying to get her to put the stuff away, let him! Don't say, especially in front of her, that dad is wrong... When she starts not listening to him in other areas that will be your fault directly. That's one big change I would make!

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 7:51 PM
1 mom liked this

One thing you can do to make cleanup easier for her is to get plastic storage boxes and then label each one with pictures of the items that go there. Like put a picture of barbies for the box her dolls go in. Dresser drawers can be labeled with what clothing items go where. You can print out the words for the labels too, and then in addition to helping her cleanup, it will help her start to recognize sight words!

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:07 PM
1 mom liked this

Get some bins so that she knows where her toys go, or be happy with her putting them in her room. Do you have a pet? She could help feed and water the pet. How about helping to put silverwear away? Can't break those.... Or even helping to load the dishwasher (assuming you have one). Wiping down counters (you may need to go over it after her). Sweeping. Helping to fold her own laundry. Vacuum 

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 8:51 PM
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 I love that chart. wish they had something like that when my now 16 yr old was only 3.

i'm a happy Humanist.
question everything, except your mother.
i dont like to use capital letters.
by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 9:00 PM
1 mom liked this

I have a 3 and a half year old daughter. She LOVES to help with anything. Heres some things I have her do:

-Pair socks together.

-Fold dish towels and wash cloths.

-I take the wet clothes out of the washer and put them in a basket and he loads them into the dryer.

-Have her make her bed every morning.

-Help me dry the dishes.

-Water the plants.


-Hand me hangers to put clothes away.

-Help me put all her folded clothes into her dresser.

-Sweep with a little broom.

She's really helpful. When we clean we usually put some music on. She njoys doing these things and they are easy for her but still helpful to us, and shows little kids that they have duties and responsibilities too.

You might even want to make chores a game, with a chore chart and small rewards like dollar store items and stickers, or a trip to te video store.


Hope this helps!

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 11:35 PM
1 mom liked this

Setting the table. At four I started having my son set out the place mats, then napkins, and silverware. 

Feeding the dogs, I'd fill up a cup with just enough food, and let him pour it in the bowls, same with water. 

Wiping the table after dinner.

Spot cleaning with the handheld vacuum. My little one loved that, especially. 

Picking up toys, of course. Definitely invest in some bins or baskets that will help you organize and keep toys off the floor. Something that worked for me was taking the doors off of the closet and replasing them with cute sail cloth curtains. Then I put shelves with bins in the closet and on the floor of the closet. This gave us lots of storage room , and were still able to keep the clothes hung up at the top of the closet. 

Making her bed. Yes, you will probably want to go in and "neaten" it, but it's a good habit, and the sooner you start, the better. 

Putting dirty clothes in the clothes hamper, putting shoes away, hanging backpack up, etc. My kids learn that NOTHING goes on the floor. Everything has a place, when you are done with it, put it there. 

by on Oct. 15, 2012 at 6:36 AM
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My son helps vacuum the living room, he knows how to fold towels, carry up laundry baskets (I make sure his isn't filled up to the brim too much though so he's able to walk with it. ha), somewhat sweep (our broom is a little tall for him, thinking of getting a broom that is just the right height for him so it isn't so difficult), clean the bottom wood kitchen cabinets, clean the door handles. My son is 5 and we've just recently introduced him to the world of allowances. lol. So he's been enthusastic of getting money for his work. It doesn't take all day long out of his life to do it. He still has plenty of time in his little life to play to his hearts content. 

by Member on Oct. 15, 2012 at 8:48 AM
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My four yo dustbusts
by on Oct. 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM
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Check out Step Ahead's website...they have this very cool chore tracker that you can hang in her room and there is even one where she can do chores to earn something special in a set amount of time, or however many times she repeats the task correctly. I think providing a visual of what's she's accomplishing will be encouraging to her. By the way, I would take her to a Toys R' Us or a store and let her pick out the special toy box she will be using to stow away her goodies. That way, she feels even more responsibility for her belongings, and maybe she'll even get a little excited about putting her things away.

by on Oct. 15, 2012 at 10:22 AM
1 mom liked this

This is being proactive and will help in the future.  My son had to do the usual, pick up his room, put his clothes in the hamper, and generally pick up after himself.  Feeding animals is good if you have some.  After that, I let him pick one additional chore for the week.  He usually chose folding washclothes and towels because he thought it was fun to make shapes.  As long as he is getting the idea that he is helping and being productive, remember not to worry about how good the job is done.  That can wait until later years.

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