Big Jobs at Home
Preschoolers love to help out, but many times we don’t let them. Why? Because we think it’s easier—and faster— to do everyday jobs ourselves. Your child might take 15 minutes to finish a job you can do in one. But in 15 minutes your child can learn a lot! Have you heard your child talking about the Big Jobs we do in school? You can do Big Jobs with your child at home too. Big Jobs carry big rewards—for your child and your entire family.
What are Big Jobs?
They are jobs your child does with you (or others) that help the whole family. They may be indoor or outdoor jobs. Setting the table, planting flowers, and tidying up when visitors are coming are all Big Jobs.
How are Big Jobs different from chores?
You assign chores. Children volunteer to do Big Jobs because they want to help out. Also, Big Jobs are done together with other family members. Teamwork is an important part of doing Big Jobs.
What do children learn from doing Big Jobs?
They learn to:
work with other people
contribute to their family
What are some Big Jobs preschoolers can do?
Cooking and baking—washing and peeling vegetables, stirring muffin batter, tearing lettuce leaves to make salad
Gardening—digging holes, planting seeds, raking leaves, weeding, watering plants indoors and outdoors
Doing laundry—carrying the laundry basket, sorting, folding, delivering clean clothes to each family member’s room
Caring for pets—feeding, brushing, walking, cleaning the cage or aquarium
Cleaning—rinsing dishes, dusting, emptying wastebaskets.
Tips for doing Big Jobs at home
Keep your child safe. Show your child how to safely use equipment like a rake or a vegetable peeler. Stay close by when it is his turn.
Try to find child-size tools. They make jobs easier and safer.
Have fun. Remember, your child chose to help out. Keep it enjoyable and she will want to do Big Jobs all the time.
Talk while you work together. Chat about what you are doing and whatever else your child wants to discuss.
Show your appreciation for the work family members have done. Say, “Thanks for setting the table, everyone. We are ready for dinner now, and the table looks beautiful.”
This article is part of the Teaching Young Children (link to tyc.naeyc.org) magazine from NAEYC
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. © 2008 NAEYC
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