What's the big deal about Young Living

Chores For Little Children

I was recently asked about what kind of chores are appropriate for little children.

Here is a list of chores I have used for the 5 and under crowd:

  • Put away silverware. This is a great sorting activity. I take the basket out of the dishwasher and the silverware tray out of the drawer and set them both on the table.
  • Replace trash bag after trash has been taken out. They love to shake and snap the bag!
  • Wipe chair legs and table legs with a damp rag.
  • Pass out napkins when table is being set.
  • Feed the kitty.
  • Sweep under the table with a mini dust broom. The little broom and dust pan are just the right size for little hands.
  • Wipe out the bathroom sink. I spray and they scrub.

What chores do you assign for little children?

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  1. I make use of little hands for emptying the dryer, carrying towels or folded laundry. Sometimes we “deliver” them to a make up address which is really just the proper place but make a game out of it. My 2 yr old loves to help empty the small wastebaskets, line them up in a row and reload the bags.

  2. I always had my little ones wipe down the table, feed the animals, fold towels and match socks… just about any age can put away canned goods purchased. They can help make their beds with clean linens or pull up the linens already on the beds. Most can take stacks of folded laundry and put it away. And anyone can dust! I think the earlier you teach them to do it, the easier it is to get them to do it throughout life.

    My kids are 20, 18, 11 and 8.

  3. Right now my kids are 2, 3, and 4 (with the 3 year old having been adopted a year ago and so emotionally/behaviorally far less than 3), but I just recently started doing regular chores with them. I gave them each a job for each year old they are, but each one has as one of their jobs to say “yes ma’am, yes dad” and the 2 year old’s only other job is to “be a helper”.

    Really, the 4 year old is the only one who can “do” anything, but I’ve been amazed that what he does is ACTUALLY helpful. He carries the kitchen laundry basket (bibs, towels, random socks, muddy clothes) upstairs every morning and empties it into the hallway basket and then brings it back down. He also checks all of the little trashcans upstairs and empties them if they’re full and replaces the bag in them.

    He is also learning how to help the 3 year old sort the silverware without being unkind or bossy about it….that’s a work in progress!

    It’s definitely not easy at this age to have them all working and all underfoot, but I think it really will pay off someday. :)

    • A kitchen laundry basket! What a wonderful idea. I’m going to find a small basket to keep in my kithcen right now!

      • Thanks Anna. I’m sure I read it somewhere. :) We have a half-bath downstairs off the kitchen so that’s actually where the laundry basket is, but it’s very helpful.

  4. I have them sort their laundry (we have a 3 pocket sorter – w/ labels – so they can figure out whites, lights & darks). They help me load & unload the laundry machines, too.

    I have them fold the kitchen towels – they’re not perfect, but we go through them so quickly, I don’t mind too much!

    When I remember, they help set the table. And help fill water bottles before leaving the house.

    In addition to silverware, they also put away the ‘kid dishes’.

    And they LOVE anything they get to spray or dust/wipe!

  5. I recently wrote about this on my blog. I just started my 2 1/2 yr old doing official chores. He does things like wipe cabinet doors, empty garbage baskets, wipe the kitchen table, wipe baseboards, vacuum under couch cushions, etc. We made up a chart that he gets to put penny stickers on for every ‘extra’ chore he does. So far it’s working really well!


  6. My son will be 5 in July and so far I have him make his bed in the morning, feed the kitties, bring me the bathroom trash, set the table and make sure all of his toys are put up at the end of the night. Sometimes he will offer to help me “fold” laundry.

  7. My two year old loves to put dishes away. She also likes to help stuff laundry into the washer or dryer. Often times, this is without my prompting, so I end up with dirty clothes in the dryer. She is always looking for an opportunity to help. She carries the footstool one step behind me, every where I go in the kitchen.

  8. Love your blog, love from Sweden!

  9. The Montessori catalog/website has great tools to help kids do chores around the house, and they are REAL tools that really work. We recently bought the non-electric sweeper and the small dusters that their hands can fit into, and the kids can help with cleanup around the house and they really enjoy it because of their special “tools”. I also put the kids’ cups and bowls in a drawer at their level, so they can unload them and put them away out of the dishwasher, and make their own ice water out of the fridge at lunchtime.

  10. Ohlookaduck says:

    These are great tips!
    My children could easily get overwhelmed picking up clothes and toys so I’d tell them to find 5 things to pick up and put away, or pick up all the red things they could find, etc. Making things fun and doing it with them makes cleaning an enjoyable activity and that goes far in gaining a good attitude towards work!

  11. My almost-two-year-old helps me load and unload the laundry, helps unload the dishwasher and cleans up her toys. I love this age because they are eager to help :).

  12. My 2-year old and 3-year old take turns putting the silverware and tupperware away. They both enjoy folding the cloths for me on laundry days. My 3-year old is good at “making” his bed (i.e. picking up all of the blankets and putting them on his bed) and picking up the toys in his bedroom. They both have to clear their dishes from the table after meals. I like some of the suggestions others have mentioned. They love to help and when I have lots of ideas up my sleeve to help keep them busy our days go so much better! :-)

  13. Ooooo, I LOVE this one! Our kids are 14, 7, 5, 4 with a 10 year old coming in 1 week!
    When our oldest was 3/4, he started putting clothes in the washer and taking them out of the dryer, and unloading the dishwasher. Now he’s our main dishwasher and helps to oversee the littles.
    I start mine off very early. Everyone can help next to mom, folding wash cloths (even if it take them 30 minutes to do 1), sorting laundry (this is how they learned colors), getting trash from the floor, picking up things that fall. All of ours are required to take the sheets off of their own bed, but putting sheets on is a different story since mattresses these days are so thick. The littles are responsible for sorting all of the laundry now, we have different colored baskets (bushel shaped) to help with that. When our 7yo dd was 5, I labeled my new front loaders with a sharpie 1-5. Meaning that is the order she needed to push the buttons. Very few loads aren’t washed on normal and she now knows that towels are washed on the towel/cotton setting. The littles are responsible for shifting laundry from washer to dryer and dryer to my bed where everyone pulls out their own clothes. The young boys have trouble with the clips on the hangers to hang up shorts, but that is minor.
    They sweep, vacuum, clean the bathrooms (we’ve used clorox wipes until we just ran out, now we spray and they wipe), empty garbage, take it out, make their beds, put away toys, clean the table.
    And all while I sit around eating bonbons. :o)

  14. My 5 year old lets the chickens out in the morning and gives them some “scratch”. He can also make peanut butter toast for him and his sister and he loves feeding the 6 month old her cereal and she loves eating it from him.

  15. Meredith says:

    Littles are wonderful blessings for helping with Folding washcloths, pairing socks, watering plants , rinsing dishes and even cracking eggs 😀 It is always such fun to have them working along side you not to mention not having to worry what they might be into someplace else 😉 .

  16. My daughter (4.5) has the job of bringing me all the small trash cans from around the house and returning them to their correct home. She is also in charge of the inside the toilet cleaning as long as we are fairly caught up on this one, I figure what she misses this time she will get next! She also has the job of helping empty the dishwasher as much as she can help, silverware and her plates and bowl, the pots and pans are also at her level and she will help with those on occasion. She also has the fun duty of watering outside plants since we just planted our front yard this is a fun job as it gets done almost every day!

  17. My little ones love to help fold napkins and washcloths, even my 19 month old tries to help. We always give her a couple to practice with.

    My 3 year old likes to help her older brother (he just turned 6) empty the garbages from around the house into the big kitchen garbage.

    My son was 4 1/2 when we had him start taking the recycling basket from under the kitchen sink to the bin outside and empty the contents of the basket into the bin. It was a stretch for him, but we kept a stool out there until recently.

    By 3 the kids can actually be sort of helpful in the kitchen if you save the right jobs for them. My 3 year old loves to retrieve tools and some basic ingredients for me. She can also slice bananas and strawberries (we have a strawberry slicer, it is like an egg slicer, that makes that job easier).

    I even have my kids bake bread “on their own” regularly…. http://www.gabesbabes.com/2010/09/baking-bread.html

  18. We have chores for everyone. So I totally agree with everybody helping. My younger 2 help with of course putting their toys away. Also. I put socks on their hands and they help dust. They like to help feed the chickens. Most of the chores for the 1 and 2 yr olds is “helping” mommy chores. The older ones chores is stuff that they do all on their own. I think teaching them young is the best way to teach them that everybody has to responsibilities in the house.

  19. I have 6 boys my oldest who are 17,12&10 are resopnsible for big chore and delgating tasks to the younger three who are 6,5, and 1 1/2. My youngest three help with the laundry, dusting , and emptying the small waste baskets. What I love with my baby he likes to do what his brother do so it make it a game. I say if you start young you will have no issues when they are younger. People think because i am the only female i do it all but my boys can clean as well as any woman can. My oldest are responsible for their laundry and putting it away.

  20. My older son is 2 right now, and I’ve been having him help me out with things for several months now. I don’t really think of it as chores, and I certainly don’t talk about it that way. I just find ways for him to help. In part, I’m just nurturing his innate desire to help and “be big,” but it’s also a great way to help him build his vocabulary and find ways to interact with his little brother (a lot of his helping centers on fetching things for me while I’m nursing or changing diapers or finding ways to entertain his brother).

    Anyhoo, I did a post on this very topic a couple months ago (link below). Since then, he’s started helping me unload the dishwasher (which we only use as a drying rack)–he hands things to me to put away. He also “helps” me with dishes. When he’s not distracted by the water, he’s actually pretty helpful with rinsing stuff for me, or I have him turn the faucet on and off, but he mostly just plays with the water.

    The best part, though, is that building the habit of helping makes it easier for me to get him to try new tasks and help in new ways. Yesterday, we also got some seeds planted in egg cartons, and he helped me by spooning the soil into the cups. Today, I assembled a wire shelving unit, and I had him hand me the rods that made the sides, as well as throw away little pieces of trash that came with it.

    I’m so glad that I’ve gotten him started early with contributing to the household!


  21. Great topic! I’ve been thinking of ways to have our kids help, and love the ideas! My 3yo fetches diapers, wipes, my phone, or light, unbreakable things from another room when I’m busy with her sister. She also takes condiments, the kids’ plastic dishes, and filled sippy cups to the table for each meal, and picks up toys and books before naptime and bedtime. My 1yo throws her diapers away after a change, throws away napkins or tissues, cleans up pee messes (we’re transitioning from part-time ec’ing to nearly full-time) puts her shoes away, and helps put toys away (although it is a challenge for her to put away more than she takes out!).