The Best 5 Ways to Get Young Kids Started with Chores

March 15, 2019
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Today, Val from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is sharing with us her best tips to get young kids started with chores.

I am a huge advocate of involving children in the running of the home, so I hope that you’ll appreciate her wisdom as much as I do. ~ Christine

My oldest child started “helping” me do chores before he even turned one. He was always eager to get involved in anything I was working on.

By age three, he could vacuum the family room well enough that I didn’t feel the need to redo it behind him. 

Young children are capable of helping out around the house in a meaningful way. Here are some tips to get your little one started on doing chores. 

Little girl tidying toys

5 Clever Ways to Get Young Kids Started with Chores:

#1 Do Chores In Front of Your Children

We often see articles about how babies don’t keep and dishes can wait. While it is good to remember to live in the now and enjoy the moment, it is also important to model things for our children.

Chores have to be done. Dishes can wait for a bit, but they can’t wait forever.

At some point, that bathroom is going to have to be cleaned. You might not want to let the baby crawl around on a floor that hasn’t been cleaned for a few weeks.

Our homes do not need to be spotless, but they do need to be livable.  If we want our children to learn to do chores someday, they have to know chores exist.

Woman mopping floor

They have to see us doing chores. You do not need to feel guilty for doing chores in front of your child. You are modeling how to do them. 

#2 Let Young Children Help With Chores

When you do chores in front of your children, they will want to do chores, too.

Kids love to model their parents. If your child sees you sweep the floor over and over, the day will come that your child really wants to sweep the floor, too!

Let your child help with chores. Your child will not be very good at it at first, but you want to let your child assist while he is super interested.

Practice makes perfect and a child can actually be helpful at a young age if allowed to participate in chores.  You also want to tap into that interest while children are young.

Cleaning tools handing up

If you try to convince a toddler she doesn’t want to help with dishes because they are no fun, you will have a harder time convincing her helping with dishes at age 8 is great. 

Find ways to include your little one in the chore process when she shows interest while young.

If you are dusting, give your child a dust rag and have her tag along.

If you are cleaning the bathroom, have him wipe down the cabinet or base moldings.

Buy a little broom so your little one can sweep along with you. Find simple little ways to include your little one in chores. 

#3 Find Age-Appropriate Tasks for Children to Be In Charge of

As your child gets older, start to have chores your child is consistently in charge of.

You can start giving children specific jobs at age two. This will give your child some ownership and a sense of responsibility.

You are also setting up a pattern for daily life from a very young age.  A toddler isn’t going to be able to clean a bathroom independently.

You need to think of chores that are appropriate for your child’s age and ability. You can see my lists here:

Once you have your tasks decided, take time to teach the child how to do the chore. You will need to show your child, then have your child try it himself.

Once he gets it down, you will be able to trust him to accomplish it on his own. Keep in mind that this can be a long process.

You might be demonstrating the task for a month before letting your child do it alone.

Toddler girl dusting

Remember that when your child turns three, that doesn’t mean all of the chores on the list for three-year-olds will be able to be completed by your child all of a sudden.

It will take time for your child to learn new tasks and get good at them. We add in new chores at big milestone marks in the year.

On the child’s birthday we will add some in. We might add some when school starts or when summer starts.

The new year can be another good time to add in chores. 

#4 Have a Consistent Time for Chores to Be Done

Your child will have the most success with chores if you have a consistent time of day and/or day to get the chore done.

When it becomes part of the routine, it is easier to remember to do it. You might have chores be part of the getting ready in the morning routine or part of the getting ready for bed routine.

You might have chores that need to be done before television or electronics can be watched. 

There is no right or wrong time of day to have chores be done. Just find something that works with your family schedule. 

Woman shaking out sheet

#5 Check on Chore Completion

If your child is doing chores without you right there, be sure to check on the status of the chore when your child is done.

You want to make sure it was done as well as can be expected from a child that age.

If your child misses a part of the chore, talk about it. You might need to re-demonstrate how to do the task. 

Conclusion

Teaching children to do chores takes a lot of time and patience. Over time, this effort pays off.

The day comes when children can complete the chore well and is able to contribute to helping the home run smoothly. It is well worth the effort you have to put into teaching.

Little girl and woman shaking sheet

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