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Have You Done Your Chores?

By the age of four, your child should be making at least a small contribution to the family as a whole. Assigning—or better yet, letting your child choose—a job to do around the house reinforces the value of cooperation: of working together to achieve common goals. Chores also help your child move beyond self-centeredness. Through doing chores or at least helping with them, your preschooler learns that personal responsibility means contributing to the "greater good," the welfare of the entire family. Finally, doing chores also adds to your child's sense of competence and self-confidence.

Preschoolers can do a lot to help around the house. Your child can now handle such jobs as:

  • Setting or clearing the table
  • Putting dishes in the sink or dishwasher
  • Making her own bed
  • Emptying wastebaskets
  • Putting her dirty clothes in the laundry hamper or basket
  • Sorting laundry into whites and colors
  • Matching socks
  • Bringing in the newspaper or the mail from the mailbox

Besides her assigned or chosen chore, let your preschooler do as much to help as she seems interested or willing to do. Encourage her to help. You will probably get more willing cooperation if you try to make the jobs as fun as you can. (Think of Tom Sawyer whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence.)

More on: Preschool

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Preschooler and Toddler, Too © 1997 by Keith M. Boyd, M.D., and Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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