As a mom with young children, there are times that I really weary of housework. It just doesn't go away. EVER. My girls are not at the age that they can significantly contribute to easing the workload, but I am training them now so that someday I can sit and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Literally. I'm gonna sit. :) Maybe not all the time, but more than I do now.
Her first "job" has been picking up her toys and books. As any mother knows, they can destroy a pristine home in milliseconds, given the opportunity. As somewhat of a perfectionist, this drives me batty. So, instead of a continuous battle, I have decided that my house needs to picked up and straightened just twice a day. We pick up the toys and books before naptime, which closely corresponds to the time daddy gets home from work. And I want the house all tidied up before I go to bed. A messy house is a sleep robber for me.
When Grace was 18 months, her first household chore (other than picking up her toys) was carrying our dirty dinner napkins to the laundry basket after supper. We trained her to do "her job", and she was so proud of her work. After she did it, sometimes we would admire her muscles and compliment her on her helpfulness. Just like us as adults, children are encouraged in a good thing when they are appreciated.
Now that Grace is a little over 2 years old, we have begun training her to set the table. This is still a work in progress, but she is so excited when she gets it all done, and daddy comes to admire her masterpiece. Our dining room is carpeted, so I don't have a huge fear of broken dishes, but if she does, they can be replaced. A sense of responsibility and a good work ethic are invaluable assets, so I'm not too concerned about the risk.
Her first time setting the table by herself. I'm not obsessing about perfection right now, but I will continue to train her in the finer arts of table-setting as she becomes more skilled. :)
I am trying to train her to help me sort the laundry, but honestly, she isn't getting it. She loves to toss everything out of the basket, but she isn't getting the darks, lights, and whites thing. I imagine as she gets better with her colors, she'll understand. So for now, my goal is to slow her down long enough to direct where each piece belongs.
I'm curious what other age-appropriate chores you have your children do. I know that as an inexperienced mom there are other things I could be having her do, but I just haven't thought of it. I would love your comments and suggestions on this!