Around the House – Chores For Preschoolers

Since we’re doing an Around the House theme this week for Noah’s homeschool preschool, I thought this would be a great time to focus on chores that preschoolers can and should be doing around the house.

Often in the public school system, children with Down syndrome have a great academic experience from grades K-8 or so, and then the academics are dropped and an emphasis on life skills begins.  I think life skills are important, so important that I think we should start focusing on life skills before we start focusing on academics.  Learning and functioning is about so much more than we can measure on a worksheet.  How can our children function in a group setting, what skills can they perform for themselves, how can they be of service to those around them, can they participate in a give and take environment or are they confined to the sidelines?  True inclusion is about more than just whether a person with special needs is tolerated or not.  True inclusion allows a person not only to receive but also to give as much as the next person without exception. 

I think as parents we often focus on inclusion being something that institutions and our society should provide to our children simply by virtue that our child is a living, breathing, human being.  Certainly, a society that welcomes all members and gives accommodation whenever needed would be a step in the right direction, but there’s another dimension to this that begs the question:

Are we equipping our children with special needs to function to their highest ability when they ARE included?

Have you ever watched a person with Down syndrome, or any other disability for that matter, when they are out in public?  When do they look the happiest?

They look the happiest, they are the happiest, not when they are being “included” or “accommodated”, but when they are contributing to what is going on around them, whether it’s the cooking, the cleaning, or even the conversation.  No inclusion policy or requirement is ever going to equip a person with special needs to contribute; it will only give them an environment in which they can use their equipping. 

So how do we equip our children to become children and then adults who can make the most out of every situation that provides inclusion?  We teach them how to work alongside others, play alongside others, talk appropriately, listen appropriately. 

Don’t wait for kindergarten, start now. 

When there is work to be done, do you include your child with special needs, or do you excuse him because letting him go off and play requires less work on your part than providing the supervision helping would require?  Inclusion, like so many other things, starts in the home.

In the coming days I’ll be sharing some ideas we’re using this week to make sure we are a full-inclusion home.  These chores are things any preschooler can learn to do, often starting at age 2 or 3.  Our children with special needs may need longer to learn them, but most will be fully capable of doing these things by the time they enter kindergarten.  I feel like I’ll just be scratching the surface, so I’d love to hear what works in  your house or classroom when it comes to little ones and chores.  

And remember, these chores aren’t just about what gets accomplished by the end of the day, they’re about what is being accomplished in the life of a child.


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