Chores for Children by Age Group *Free Printables*
Chores are a really important and spoke to frequently in the Montessori Method. Maria Montessori essentially based her model on the premise that children enjoy doing more than being told about an activity and that they want to feel needed and helpful.
Some think chores are a bit "harsh" especially starting as young as 2 years old, and for some reason they have a negative connotation associated with them from television classics that hinted chores were a form of control or punishment within the home. Let me reassure you, they are not, and should not be associated with any form of punishment... the idea of goal setting and mastering tasks helps not only teach important real life skills they will keep with them for life, but also has an effect on raising self esteem. They tend to instill a sense of mastery, self reliance, responsibility, empathy and respect for others — and the sooner you start, the better.
To give you an idea of what you might see in a Montessori school, here is a "day in the life of" schedule from my 4 year old daughter's school:
Daily Schedule (Flexibility is important!)
6:45-8:30 Before School Care (Boxwood)
8:30-9:00 Greetings – Housekeeping chores: dusting, emptying trashcans, sweeping, recycling, trash out, compost – General tidying up to start the day.
9:00-9:30 “Nine on the Line” – plan for the day, chit chat
9:30-11:30 Work Period** and Individual Snack
11:45-12 Hand washing for lunch
12:30 Pick up for half day students
12:30-1:15 Clean up, free time (reading books/magazines), games, outside activities, art projects
1:15-1:30 Prepare for rest
1:30-2:30 Rest with a story
2:30-3:00 Summing up the day
3:00 End of day pick up, farewells and information share
3:15-5:30 After School Care (Boxwood or Mrs. Sarah’s)
**Art, Cultural, Diaries, Geography, Language Arts,
Math, Music, Practical Life, and Sensorial
Tuesday/Friday Trash Days – take trash to the curb
Wednesday – Recycling Day – take to curb (magazines/newspaper tie up, card board stack, bag will hold plastic #1 #2, glass, aluminum/metal cans)
Compost take out as needed
So you can see they start their day with housekeeping, I would have never in a million years thought that I would see a 4 year old excited to arrive first at school so she could get to the vinegar spray bottle first so she could clean tables and door knobs. Before I studied Montessori, I would have assumed this was a borderline child labor issue lol.
Okay so how do you start? I found this a really good starting point written by Developmental Psychologist, Richard Rende:
I found it especially interesting he makes the point to leave money out of it, I remember doing chores for money when I was younger, but after reading the crib notes mentioned above, it makes a lot of sense!
* When choosing chores, they need to be age appropriate and something that they can excel in. If they are clumsy, giving them the task to put dishes away may not be a good choice. Surely they need to master their motor skills, but chores should be set in place for them to achieve goals, and not be discouraged. The lesson here is about responsibility and self management.