Too Young to Work? 6 Reasons My Toddler Does Chores

June, 2, helps with chores like pulling a chicken tractorJune, 2, helps with chores like pulling a chicken tractorSo what if my daughter isn't yet two? It's never too early to introduce a child to the concept of chores, glorious chores, a toddler's introduction to a life of hardship and pain.

Here is June, who turns two in July (yes, we named our daughter June even though she was born in July), helping her dad pull one of the three chicken tractors around our property.

Okay, so she wasn't really helping and she wasn't really pulling but she sure thought she was. With all the effort she put into this task, you'd think she was training for Missy Muscles 2012. Look at that proud stance! Witness that satisfied aura! She loved it! Which is a good thing because this will be her job for the next 18 years.

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Here are the top 6 reasons why our toddler does chores:

This will be her job for the next 18 years.This will be her job for the next 18 years.1. We raise and slaughter chickens for meat
Do I need to explain this one further? Let's just say that I look forward to the day when I can retire inside, sip a margarita and read W while my children do the dirty work.

Working hard and building characterWorking hard and building character2. My house is too small for an avalanche of toys
June doesn't even look at 80 percent of her toys anyway. Her favorite toy these days is a paper sack full of old sippy cups. We deprive this child of nothing! I'd rather she be outside in the fresh air detailing the car (I mean... building character).

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June loves feeding our dog Solha.June loves feeding our dog Solha.3. She gets a lot of satisfaction doing things herself
Her latest chore is feeding our dog Solha. Every night, she fine tunes her scooping technique by dishing food into Solha's bowl, then carries the bowl all by her big-girl self over to Solha's eating area. June is practically hysterical with excitement once Solha starts eating food so expertly served.

June learns which tools to use when.June learns which tools to use when.4. "Work is dignity"
I believe it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said that to his aimless and often depressed wife Zelda. Why was she aimless and depressed? 'Cause she probably never clipped the grass, not once.

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Working hard together makes our family closerWorking hard together makes our family closer5. We don't do anything else

Some families go hiking and biking together on Saturdays. Not us! We dig holes for fun. And mulch. And pull weeds. We so need to get out more.

Life is hardLife is hard6. Life is hard
I'll wait while you write that down. A bit Dickensian, I know, but it's true. It's taken me a long time to accept that if you want to get anywhere in this world, you pretty much have to scrape and sweat and bleed for it (which also begs the question, then why am I wasting so much time writing this blog post?). I'd rather instill this sober lesson in June while she's young and malleable and subject to my whims than wait until she's perched around the craps table in Reno hoping to hit it big and wondering why she lives in a camper.

- By Jessie Knadler

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Jessie KnadlerJessie KnadlerJessie Knadler is the author of the humorous autobiography Rurally Screwed (Berkley, April 2012) and coauthor of the preserving cookbook Tart & Sweet (Rodale, 2011). She lives on a small farm in beautiful rural Virginia with her soldier husband who recently returned from Afghanistan, bringing with him a stray dog rescued from Kandahar. The couple has a nearly 2-year old daughter named June who will probably spend a good part of her childhood doing farm chores and other excruciating character building activities.

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