Giving children chores might help them later in life.
We have some evidence that shows that when children are given simple chores at an early age, it teaches them independent living skills that will help them adapt to adulthood, says Dr. Adiaha Franklin, assistant professor of pediatrics-developmental at Baylor College of Medicine and a physician in the Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics at Texas Childrens Hospital. Having these skills is incredibly important for young adults who are expected to live on their own.
Here are some simple chores for kids:
Picking up. By the time a child is 18 months to 2 years old they can start helping to clean up their own mess, Franklin says. For example, put toys away in their right place after they play.
Sorting laundry. Children as young as 2 can help sort laundry; just ask them to separate items by color. As they get older, they can take on more responsibility with the laundry.
A third-grader should be able to help gather the laundry and even help fold with some guidance, she says.
Getting dressed. At preschool age, children should be learning how to dress themselves, Franklin says.
In preschool, it is probably easier to just give children choices rather than letting them pick out their clothes. For older children, picking out their own clothes is OK, as long as the clothes are weather appropriate, she says.