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Housework milestones for your kids

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What age should your child start helping out around the house? Read our guide to find out...

When you have young children, everyday chores suddenly seem like an insurmountable and never-ending nightmare.

A minute after you clear up, it's messy again, the laundry pile rivals Mount Everest, and you end up eating off the kids' plastic plates because you haven't had a chance to load the dishwasher.

However, as your child grows, they can start to help out around the house in small ways. Of course we're not recommending you give them a broom, some polish and let them clean the house from top to bottom while you put your feet up with a cup of tea (although that would be nice), but giving them small tasks can make a big difference to you.

Not only that, but it helps instil a sense of responsibility and pride in your child, making them feel like part of the family and household - rather than everything happening around them - plus it helps teach them new skills.

Here's a guide to what ages your children should be able to start helping out with small daily tasks. Good luck!


Putting toys away

Even very young children can learn how to tidy away their toys after playtime. Teach two-year-olds that part of playtime is getting the toys out, and putting them away again.

Make it easy for them by keeping their toys in a big basket. You can carry it out and put it away, but they will be able to put their toys into it once playtime is over. They will be unlikely to do it every time, so you can help them, but they should learn from a young age that tidying away is their responsibility.

As they grow older, try setting a tidy-up timer to make it into a game. If you're still having trouble when they're four or five, explain that anything they don't tidy away after being asked to once will go in a "special box" so they can't play with it for a week, and no new toys are allowed out until they tidy away the last one.


Making the bed

From around the age of four, your child should be capable of pulling their bed cover up, straightening the pillows and arranging their toys.

Do it together at first, and then ask them to do it while you talk to them about the day ahead, or pick out their clothes. Eventually it will become a habit, so they should start to do it themselves without you even asking.

Be sure not to neaten it up afterwards as this will make them believe that what they did isn't good enough. So what if it's a little wrinkled? This is more about teaching them a sense of responsibility, routine and pride, than simply having a nice-looking bed.


Helping with the washing-up

Start by teaching your six-year-old to scrape off their plate and give it a rinse under the tap. When they're seven or eight, they can help with drying and putting dishes away. Be sure to show them how to dry table knives safely - anything sharper than that should be left to the grown-ups.

By age nine, children are ready to help load the dishwasher or learn how to wash dishes and cutlery safely. And with one squirt of Fairy creating millions of bubbles, they're even likely to enjoy the experience.


Making their own packed lunches

Teaching children about good nutrition is important, so rather than just loading their plates and lunch boxes with fruit and veg and expecting them to eat it, it's more productive to actually get them involved with making lunch.

As soon as they start school, you can involve them when you make packed lunch. For example, give them a selection of fruits and healthy snacks to choose from so they are part of the decision-making process.

Around age six, they can start to pack their choices into their lunch box, and put the chopped fruit into containers, while you make the sandwich or wrap.

Once they hit nine or 10, you can let them take full responsibility for their packed lunches. Yes they may make a few unusual concoctions, but it's all part of the fun - and you never know, you may discover you have the next Heston Blumenthal on your hands!


Helping with the laundry

Laundry can feel like a never-ending task, but you can get a little help from your little one - even from the age of around four.

Ask your child to help sort the laundry into two piles, one for colours and one for whites. Also, once they're clean, you can ask them to make piles for Mummy's clothes, Daddy's clothes, their clothes and so on. Five-year-olds can help to put clothes away too, and learn how to fold them.

Combine this with the ease of throwing a Bold 3in1 Pod into your washing machine, which cleans, freshens and softens in one go, and doing the laundry will feel like a doddle.

Bold Pods are now available in a family pack with a special child-lock system, but make sure you keep liquid laundry capsules away from children at all times, storing them out of sight and out of reach.

What age did you start getting your children involved with the housework? Let us know in the comments section below.

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