While some families don’t have their kids doing chores, in our family of six, it is really helpful for the kids to help out around the house. We began with our First Chores for kids and now they help every day (but we do not use a chore chart). I started our kids on chores pretty early on, because then it just becomes another part of their life and they won’t really know anything different. Plus, it lets them feel valued and part of the team.
So, how do you begin? What chore is a good chore to start with? Today we are going to tackle that question!
1). Cleaning Up After Themselves
This sort of chore can be taught to children as young as two or three years old, and is a fantastic way to teach responsibility and good care for themselves and the things around them. Whenever a child has finished playing with toys, encourage them to place them back where they belong rather than be left on the floor. My mom has this great rule of “backing out of a room”. If you can teach your kids this rule, you are kind of set!
After your child has just had a snack, encourage them to take used plates and cups into the kitchen ready to be washed. If your child has been playing outside, have them wash their hands and faces to clean off any dirt and mud. Whenever they come indoors from school or a walk, make sure they hang up their coat and place their shoes on the rack or in the cupboard.
Cleaning up after themselves is really very easy to do. It is just a matter of remembering to return things where they found them and keeping things looking presentable. Plus, it is a great first job and a great way to get them used to the idea of doing small helpful ‘tasks’ to help around the house.
Ps- this sets the stage for more involved chores later on. Shhh….
2). Make their beds and put away Pajamas.
Here is Ethan making his bed (I’m going to say that we use a little bed hack that helps)
Teach them to make their bed as soon as they get up. I tell our kids that they cannot come downstairs for breakfast until their beds are made. It isn’t like I go into the rooms to hang out or even see their bed during the day, but I do want them to get into the routine. It is one of the first things that I do that makes a huge difference in my morning.
Making your three-year-old mop the floors might just be asking a little too much. However, there are other cleaning jobs your child can do to help around the house. A great first chore is dusting. Give your child a feather duster, old sock to wear on their hand, or a dust cloth and ask them to wipe down any areas that look particularly dusty, or to swipe away any hanging spider webs or bits of fluff. Don’t let them use any surface polishers or sprays, however – they may use too much, or even breathe in dangerous amounts. If in the kitchen, hand them a dish cloth and encourage them to clean up spills and standing water.
4). Washing Dishes
Your child is probably too young still to do any serious washing themselves, but they can still help out in certain areas with your supervision. One chore they can do, for example, is to dry the dishes after you’ve washed them. Or you could let them “wash them” in soapy water. Allie, 3, helps to unload the dishwasher and put the kid things away. (Here is how I organize our kid’s plates and our kid’s cups) I never let the kids deal with the sharp knives.
5). Looking After the Family Pet
Meet our puppy, Coach: (here is my picture from my Instagram Page)
While certain things may be a bit beyond them, there are some small routine things the child can do with the family pet. The first is making sure that the pet is always being fed. Whenever it is about time for feeding, allow your child to fill the pet’s feeding bowl. We feed Coach at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m sure it is a lot, but he is a growing boy!♥ (Just one scoop per meal). This gives the kids a chance to help. If you are using tins and cans, make sure that the lid is completely off to prevent cuts. Also teach your child to put away any pet toys if they are not being used. We just keep them in Coach’s crate.
6). Help Prepare Food
Slightly older children, say ages four and up, may also get a kick from helping parents prepare food. Naturally this does not involve any slicing and dicing… unless you use kid-knives like these:
Don’t let them handle hot pans and trays. (Heaven forbid they get hurt, be sure to take action right away! Knowing where to find an urgent care facility ahead of time will do wonders to your child’s health. However, with proper supervision you will be there to step in if it’s needed.♥)
However, children can help in many other areas. One job you can assign them is washing vegetables before they are prepared. This is very safe to do and doesn’t require much culinary experience to pull off either.
One very easy task to do, and one that kids will love, is helping to stir anything! Our kids could bake cookies (like our favorite 3 ingredient cookies) and help me mix things all day long. (and then decorate!)
Getting your child involved in the household chores is a great way to teach them responsibility. If you aren’t into chores, check out why my (very dear) friend, Hillary doesn’t have her kids do chores. (And I have to tell her kids are SO sweet!)
recap: Chores for 2 and 3 year olds
Two- and three-year-olds want to help! (yay!) Let them help by being there with them!
- Pick up toys
- Put dirty clothes in hamper
- Dust furniture with sock or dust tag
recap: Chores for 4 and 5 year olds
Four- and five-year-olds can rise to your expectations!
- Make bed
- Put away clean clothes
- Put shoes and backpacks away
- Empty garbage
- Empty dishwasher
recap: Chores for 6, 7 and 8 year olds
This is a great age. They can help and no longer need you to hold their hands through the cleaning.
- All of the above
- Sort clothes & fold clothes
- Wipe down the bathroom sink and vanity (I let our kids use a Cleaning wipe to do this, or a vinegar/water spray, or the thieves cleaner that I mentioned above)
- Sweep (or Swiffer) the floors.
- Take out the trash & bring the garbage cans back up