According to the Montessori philosophy, children learn from doing – not just listening – and they are motivated by an innate need to feel needed and helpful; a part of the familial team. This school of thought (which is backed by research), by the way, goes beyond education and logically translates to the necessity of doling out chores, too.
Obviously, this is not a case for reinstating chimney-sweeping; but there are age-appropriate tasks that will allow even the littlest family member to experience a sense of mastery and usefulness in the household, whilst learning important life-skills.
And anyway, why wouldn’t you want the extra help (even if it ends up being done in the most counterproductive – read: exasperating – way ever).
Check out the Montessori-approved chore list for ideas on how to put your brood to work, or at least the pretence thereof:
Some of the jobs are admittedly pretty weird – a two-year old carrying firewood?? – whilst others I wouldn’t entrust my own husband with – “shop for groceries”; however, what’s implicit in the chart is the fact that a degree of trust is actually integral, and that our young ones are probably far more capable of helping out (albeit not necessarily to our own standards) than we might be giving them credit for.