Thursday, January 29, 2009

Age Appropriate Tasks for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Awhile ago a friend was kind enough to pass on a book that contained a list of "practical living skills" that were arranged by age of mastery that the author wanted her children to know how to do before leaving the home. This got me to thinking about what I need to intentionally teach my children to do in order for them to well rounded responsible adults and so that they could take ownership of their place in our home. I would love to take credit for teaching our children certain household tasks but was so impressed to see Tim teaching them many tasks when I was getting healed and rested from having the new baby. I guess he was getting tired of doing it all and he put our 3 1/2 year old and 18 month old to work as his helpers. One thing I have learned is that prior to expecting my child to do these things I need to give a thorough tutorial on how the task should be done, even something as simple as how to wash your hands. Model it and then let them do it with some assistance. I have also learned not to do anything for my child that he/she can do themselves, it may seem simpler to just do it myself or it may be done the "right" way, but it doesn't do them any favors and in the long run it won't help me either. Here are just a few areas we are currently working on.

Tasks appropriate for a 2 year old (18 mon old in our case):
-Throw away trash and diapers.
- Put cups (sippy) in the sink or on the counter.
- Hang coat on a peg.
- Put shoes in designated spot.
- Retrieve objects (like shoes, coat).
- Pick up toys.
- Learn to get out only one toy at a time.
- Put dirty clothes in hamper.
- Take plate to kitchen.
- Clean up spills.
- Use a fork or spoon instead of hand.
- Use a big cup at table.
- Undress.
- Wash hands and face.

Tasks appropriate for a 3 or 4 year old:
- Brush teeth with assistance.
- Dress self in the morning (we pick out clothes before bed and leave them out).
- Clean room.
- Dust furniture (we use one of those fluffy swiffer things).
- Put clean clothes in dresser.
- Fold clean diapers.
- Fold clean wash cloths and underwear.
- Transfer wet clothes out of washer into dryer and dry clothes out of dryer into basket.
- Use a napkin.
- Use table manners.
- Set table.
- Unload dishwasher silverware.
- Put away can goods.
- Crack an egg in a bowl.
- Pour liquids.
- Make cereal.
- Use a dust pan.
- Use a dustbuster.
- Wipe off door knobs with spray.
- Water plants indoors and out.
- Pick up yard.
- Pull weeds.
- Empty smaller trash cans into a bigger one.
- Feed a pet.

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