Missing Nanny 3: Children and Chores

Teaching your child how to do chores not only gives them a sense of responsibility. It also lays the groundwork for good habits and it makes them feel like their contributing something important to the family.

Since I’ll be spending more time with my daughter and I won’t be able to get a lot of work done on the afternoons, I figured this would be a good time to put her in the habit of doing chores.

The way I see, getting her in the habit of doing chores is a long term investment for me. I figured the more things she can do for herself, the fewer chores I have to do. And maybe this would keep my daughter busy enough and give me time to work.

My dishwasher in training. Next I'll have her do the laundry.
My dishwasher in training. Next I’ll have her do the laundry.

I’ve been trying to teach my daughter how to do simple household chores since she turned 2.  I know it’s possible to teach toddlers how to do chores, as seen in his video here. It’s not easy and it’s not something that they can do consistently. Chores, for a toddler, is still part of play and once that game starts to get boring, they’ll leave that and want to try something else.

Now that my daughter is 3 years old, I really want to get her into the habit of doing chores. In order to do that, I had talked with my husband and my nanny to develop a plan that we all can agree to and implement.

First, we agreed the best way to do this was to give her easy, age-appropriate chores. We all agreed that she has to get into the habit of doing these chores before we can teach her new ones. The chores we selected were

  • putting away her toys and books after use
  • putting her shoes and slippers back on the shoe rack after use
  • putting her dirty clothes in the hamper after bathing or after changing her clothes

To make sure she does these chores, we all agreed not to do any of these chores for her. We also agreed not to allow her to do anything (like have a snack or play) until she finishes her chores.

I, on the other hand, had to promise not to nitpick and clean up after her. What’s more important is that she gets it done, not how she gets it done.

It’s been 4 days now since we started implementing this and I can say the results are promising. I still need to remind her to do her chores but at least she does it right away and without complaint.

My intentions are good and my plan is solid. The only thing I can do now is wait a few more months and see if these lessons would stick. I will update you guys to let you know if this works. Wish us luck!

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