Ideas for Quality Time

Healthy Families

Disney Family Deals

The Right Chore for the Right Age

Jobs that interest and challenge young children of all ages

12-month-olds: "Great imitators."
Characteristic: Newfound mobility
Skill: Grasp and release
Good jobs:

  • Picking up toys to drop in a bin
  • Smoothing bed covers, sweeping — by imitating
  • 18-month-olds: "Can't do everything they think they can."
    Characteristics: Problem solving; new attention span
    Skills: Strength and coordination
    Good jobs:

  • Serving from a tray
  • Watering a garden, washing produce
  • Helping to feed or groom a pet
  • Using a mechanical carpet sweeper
  • 2-year-olds: "Routine and ritual are very important."
    Characteristics: Increased hand-eye coordination and concentration
    Skills: Following directions, sorting
    Good jobs:

  • Spreading peanut butter or cheese
  • Dusting, sweeping, wiping a counter, washing windows
  • Sorting laundry, silverware, toys
  • Washing, stirring, mashing food
  • 3-year-olds: "Work is still play."
    Characteristic: More awareness of significance of help
    Skills: Sorting and arranging
    Good jobs:

  • Setting the table
  • Using kitchen gadgets, with supervision: sifter, rolling pin, cheese grater, mortar and pestle
  • Planting, weeding, raking, digging, arranging garden flowers
  • Pouring tasks
  • 4-year-olds: "Love anything new and relish their independence."
    Characteristics: Increased precision; increased sense of responsibility
    Skills: Making things; taking things apart and putting them back together
    Good jobs:

  • Using still more gadgets: peeler, pitter, slicer, food mill, juicer, whisk, even — with close supervision — a true paring knife
  • Hanging wash on a line, neatly folding dry clothes
  • Simple, supervised woodworking
  • 5-year-olds:"Like to please."
    Characteristics: Sense of confidence; expanded curiosity about how things in the house work
    Skills: Understanding what a job is; tackling even uninteresting jobs
    Good jobs:

  • Big supervised jobs, such as vacuuming or taking out trash
  • Behind-the-scenes jobs, such as removing the vacuum bag or coming along to the dump
  • 6-year-olds: "Full of energy and enthusiasm."
    Characteristic: Independence
    Skills: Beginning reading and math
    Good jobs:

  • Measuring — for recipes, pet food, laundry soap
  • Reading to a younger sibling
  • Noticing what needs to be done, and helping out
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    CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

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