Helpful Holiday Tasks That Kids Can Do
ANY GROWN-UP WHO HAS WATCHED AN EPISODE OF PBS’ CURIOUS GEORGE can recognize that much of George’s mischief stems from misguided helpfulness. After all, he’s a curious little monkey who just wants to lend a hand, but when he tries, things start to go a bit haywire! Sound familiar?
These are concepts both parents and kids can relate to. Although it can be tempting to stay in control and do everything ourselves, teaching kids how to do things themselves has major benefits for the whole family. Sharing responsibilities with your kids gives them a step toward independence, a sense of pride and accomplishment, and—with the right jobs—can take some things off your plate!
This holiday season, PBS Kids suggests parents try giving some of the tasks below to the children in your family, or brainstorm ways you can break down bigger jobs into smaller, achievable chores for them.
Holiday Chores for Ages 2 to 3
For toddlers and early preschoolers, helping is more about joining in the family culture of working together than anything else. Littles ones see grown-ups and older siblings pitching in, and they want to have jobs they can do, too!
• Put cozy throw blankets in a basket
• Pick out a holiday book to read together
• Help with baking holiday treats by putting ingredients into a bowl
• Collect recycling and trash after unwrapping gifts
Holiday Chores for Ages 3 to 4
Preschoolers are growing their independence and can take on age-appropriate jobs without as much supervision as toddlers. That said, ages three- and four-year-old children are still learning how to be careful, so choose the objects they’re working with thoughtfully. Stick to accessible tasks that are at their level and a match for their motor skills.
• Assemble a basket, tray, or shelf of holiday books
• Make and hang winter and holiday unbreakable decorations, such as cotton swab snowflakes or thumbprint holiday lights
• Hang ornaments or decorations on a tree, mantel, or other easy to reach spots using ribbons
• Sweep up before or after cooking
• Help with baking holiday treats by decorating cookies
• Recycle holiday catalogs
• Stick bows on presents
Holiday Chores for Ages 4 to 6
Attending school helps kids hone their fine motor skills and ability to follow multi-step directions. If your child already does some chores at home, it’s easy to translate them into holiday versions!
• Hang up holiday dish towels and hand towels
• Make a paper garland
• Throw away trims from wrapping
• Sort unused toys to donate
• Open and display holiday cards
• Put (unlit) candles in the holder
• Hang Christmas stockings (on existing hooks or stocking holders)
• Select items for food or toy drives
• Collect pinecones or other natural items for decorating
• Wrap gifts with gift bags, tissue paper, and bows
• Set the holiday table
• Clear the table after a meal
Holiday Chores for Ages 6 to 9
As empathy continues to develop for this age group, they’re able to better reflect on others’ wants and needs. Try giving them jobs they can fully “own” and complete in one block of time. Or cultivate their big kid status by assigning them recurring tasks for which they’re responsible.
• Untangle garlands or shorter strings of holiday lights
• Place the Christmas tree topper
• Make or help to make a signature family dish for the holiday meal
• Stuff, seal, and stamp holiday cards
• Pack up cookies for friends and neighbors and drop them off
• Make handmade gifts for teachers or family that make great keepsakes
• Think about ways to give back to the community at large
• Fill out gift tags
• Create place cards for the holiday table that add love and charm
Do you think your kids are ready to take on some of these responsibilities? I’m sure there are a few of your own holiday tasks you might like to add to this list. #