Image by theirhistory via FlickrIt is never to early to get your child to help out around the house. I really believe the earlier this habit is instilled the better. Liv is only 15 months old and she helps me unload the dishwasher, put toys away, hands me clothes pins when I am hanging wash on the line and put things in the trash or laundry basket for me. She also "helps" wash dishes by sitting next to me while washing. She also "helps" me cook and bake. She loves mixing.
She really enjoys helping me out and I enjoy teaching her how to maintain our home. It is so wonderful to help her feel capable of doing things for herself and others, make her feel that her help makes a difference, and to connect to her in simple ways.
These are all very important for a child of any age. Too often parents want to do it all for their children, but they are doing themselves and their children a great disservice. When children can they should. If children don't feel they are capable they feel worthless, dependent (in a negative way) and incompetent. Doing everything for you child also makes them feel entitled, makes them lazy, selfish and self-centered. They also can become very unappreciative of the things you are doing for them and things other people do for them.
Now her helping can be additional work for me. It takes time to wait for her to unload each fork at a time, to hand me a clothespin or to wait for her to waddle over with some laundry. But isn't time a patience what being a good parent is about? I am teaching her simple skills, but the fact that I am making her feel valuable, teaching her to be appreciated and appreciate, teaching teamwork and the value of helping each other and doing things for one another makes all the extra time worth it.
And I really do enjoy doing these simple things with her. I look back on my own childhood and I don't remember my mom playing with me on the floor, I remember folding laundry together, or baking cookies.
Another plus of getting child to help out early is hopefully in the future she will take over some chores and help our family run smoother. My house may not look perfect, but it feels like a home and all who in it help make it this way. We are creating many great memories in just the daily rhythm of our day.