A bizarre, but true, story: Toddlers and preschoolers will often find great joy in small assigned tasks or chores. Who knew carrying a light bag of groceries, using a broom or washing a pot could be so much fun? Chores such as these make a young child feel included and important as she mimics your own grown-up behavior. Take advantage of this naive, but endearing, enthusiasm for responsibility and achievement by setting up a chore jar.
1 Choose a selection of age-appropriate chores that are within your child's capabilities. If you're an overachiever, paint tongue depressors each a different color and allow them to dry overnight. Using an indelible marker, label each stick with a single word or phrase that describes each chore such as "brush teeth" or "pick up toys."
2 Apply a sticker or glue a magazine cutout next to the word or phrase that illustrates the chore. For instance, choose a picture of a sink or a toothbrush for "brush teeth." If gluing the image, allow it to dry overnight.
3 Arrange the collection of chore choices in a plastic jar. Display the jar on a shelf or counter in a high-traffic area of your home. When your child is in a listening mood, tell him about the chore jar, showing him the chores and their corresponding pictures on every stick. Assist your child throughout the day in completing his chores.
4 At the end of the day, count with your child the number of sticks whose chores have been completed. If desired, reward your child consistently for completing an agreed-on number of chores. For instance, three chores completed in a day might earn a sticker or other small treat.