Age appropriate chores for kids aren't always easy to find around the house until you have an idea what different ages can do. What is really important to understand is that kids can do far more than we realize. In fact, the youngest of children know that they can do things and ask to help all the time. It is the parents that stand in the way of them helping and becoming helpers around the house because of how we underestimate their abilities.
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids
I remember when my older two children were just 5 and 3 years old, and I was starting to homeschool. I felt overwhelmed by how I was going to get everything done and stay on top of the responsibilities of the home. It was during this time that I felt impressed with the insights to ‘give to my children what they can do and only keep on my plate what was required of me to do‘.
This has since been my guide when I have set up routines in our home and given out responsibilities to different ones in my family.
I knew right away the things that I needed to do because certain things required me completely. Things like planning homeschooling, meals, grocery shopping, and the like. However, there were so many things that I was doing on a daily basis that I didn't need to be doing but still was and wearing myself out at the same time.
Within a few short weeks, each of our children has a handful of responsibilities that they knew how to do on their own without my further instruction or a watchful eye. Of course, I still evaluated that they did their chores diligently and thoroughly.
One of my favorite things, when I hand over a chore to my children, is letting them take complete ownership over it. They helped me pick out the cleaners, the new vacuum, and dusters. They were thrilled to be part of the process of making choices and took pride in their daily chore times in our routine.
Little by little, I was seeing that I was feeling less overwhelmed and more accomplished with each passing week. My children were happier because routines were formed in our home and they were helping by being an active part of our family unit.
Our home is nearly always cleaned because of this system of each person doing their own part of keeping our home neat. This doesn't mean we don't create messes because we do.
We live in our home!
However, what it does mean is that we all make the messes and we all help to clean it up. We have chore times in our daily routine where we each do what is expected of us. I find that this allows us to be more hospitable and enjoy impromptu visits from neighbors and friends.
As our children grew, their responsibilities grew with them.
As we added to our family, we passed down responsibilities as we did clothes. The older sibling taught the younger sibling how to do the job well. The joy of the younger c that he could do what the older sibling always did.
To us, house responsibilities are like a rite of passage to adulthood with one responsibility learned at a time.
Our system for chores really works and the more children we have had, the more I realize that motivation starts younger and younger in our family because of the work ethic that we teach.
At the age of 7 1/2, our youngest child has learned how to mow our lawn with our riding lawn mower! I was shocked when my 15-year-old and my husband agreed to let him learn the actual mowing part, but he has been driving the mower since he was 5. My 15-year-old has been mowing for neighbors and our property and theirs are actually pretty big, so he wanted a little help keeping up with it all. Our youngest was only too motivated to offer to help.
I wanted to help you identify some great age appropriate chores for kids, and help you start delegating around your home.
I'm going to answer every mom's question at one point in her motherhood. “How to teach chores to kids?” I hear it often, mostly because my kids do so many things around our home and do from early on in their lives and the chores increases with their age.
How to Teach Chores to Kids
I often see so many mothers overwhelmed by the responsibilities to raise their children in character, prepare healthy meals, and keep their home presentable. The one thing that really makes this all possible is to teach chores to kids and to do it early in their lives.
I often say that when kids are in the stages of acting like mommy or daddy is the right time to teach them things around the house. They are eager to learn and only need praise of a job well done for their payment.
I have fond memories of our first child wanting to help me wash windows, do laundry, cook, wash dishes, vacuum and anything else I was doing around the house. I took advantage of this sweet love of being my little helper because I was pregnant and it helped me to know where she was and what she was doing without having to chase her around the house.
By the time my children were 3-5 years old, they were doing so many things that most teenagers weren't doing in their homes. In fact, they did them without any complaining because it was just part of our routine and they were brought up this way making it natural.
Today, my children do far more around my house than I originally expected because more hands do make light work for everyone.
I want to share the formula I use to teach chores to kids because it is simple for everyone. It is a 4-part formula that can take days, weeks or months to work through depending on the age and skills of your children, but most importantly you consistency in going through the formula.
Children do this naturally, but it is a little more involved than just watch me. During this part of the formula, you will want to be sure your child is being completely attentive to what you are showing them.
I use this time to talk about what I am doing and why. I explain where I store cleaners, or put things in their place. I walk through the chore, talking the entire time about every step that I'm doing.
Teaching this attentiveness to details first is what is really important. Learning details from watching a demonstration will benefit your children when they get their first job.
The next time I do the chore, I have the child help me go through the chore. I'm still talking but giving them some freedom to seeing what they remember and pointing out how they can improve on doing key things. I praise everything that they do to build their confidence and give them that feeling of accomplishment.
If a child is struggling with this stage, I would do a few more times with them being sure to talk through it like I did in the first step of ‘watch me'.
I Help You
Once I see that a child has the ability to do the chore with me, I let them take control and give me instructions he of what I can do to help them. This gives them that boost of confidence that I trust them and that I'm truly proud of what they have learned.
If I see that they are missing steps or being too quick with the details, I will draw attention to those things to ensure they are doing it correctly.
When I don't have to give instructions often, I'm ready to move on to the next step of the formula.
I Watch You
For the last step of the formula to teach chores to kids, I just watch them. I don't answer their questions but ask them ‘What do you think?' This shows them that I'm giving them the full responsibility and I trust their judgment until they give me a reason to doubt them.
I make sure that I'm evaluating their chores often to be sure they don't grow lazy or haphazard about what they are doing for the family unit.
Once I see that they are being faithful with their new found responsibility, I give them ownership of it.
Next step is to start this formula over again with a new chore to help them learn and participate in our family unit even more.
If you have children, you know how hard it is to keep their rooms clean, especially if they are younger children. When my older children were smaller, I couldn't believe how quickly they would mess up their rooms. I implemented some key things that help to teach my children to keep their room clean and recently, I had to remind myself of these things when our younger two children were falling into bad habits that were causing them to have a messy room.
How to Teach Your Children to Keep Their Room Clean
All parents would love their children to learn how to keep their room clean, but it may be hard to know where to start, especially if you think your children are too young. Young children can easily learn how to pick up their toys on their own, with early training.
In my own parenting, it is often when you have taught a habit that you relax and allow some slack and all the work has been unraveled. I know from experience, with all four of our children.
However, I know how easy it is to teach your children to keep their room clean with just some focused attention to five key things that will make it worth the effort to implement with your own children.
Each of the tips that I'm going to share with you are the exact things that we have used and recently implemented with our younger boys to get their own room disasters under control, so they can successful learn the important things necessary to keeping their room cleaned on their own.
5 Tips to Teaching Children to Keep Their Room Clean
Tip 1: Everything In Its Place
It is imperative that you start the teaching by giving everything in their room a place that it belongs. I love using cubeicals and fabric drawers to organize their toys in their room. I keep like things together, in one drawer. I color coordinate for children, so they know whose drawer is whose.
Once everything in its place, a child will be able to understand where something belongs and can be one step closer to keeping their room clean. Half the battle for a child is not understanding where things should go and how to keep them organized without having it demonstrated for them.
This type of organizing in their room helps them to play creatively for longer period of time and helps implement the next tip easier.
Tip 2: Put Things Back When You Are Done With It
By having their toys organized, they can have all their Legos out at one time and enjoy hours of play, but they know that they can't go outside without taking care of the Legos first.
I do allow them to take more than one drawer out at a time, like their army men with Lincoln Logs because they obviously can be played together. It helps them enjoy the play together but will also be easy to separate in their correct drawers.
Tip 3: Start a Morning Routine
“As your morning goes, so does the rest of your day.”
We all know this quote, and it works with teaching your children to keep their room clean. We have a set routine for the morning, which includes: making their bed as early as two with my help and by four or five, they can be doing this all on their own, take care of dirty clothes when they get dress and to open their curtains and blinds.
This starts the day with a clean room and will help them continue this focus through the day.
Tip 4: Implement a Clean Up Time Before Dinner
It is easy for us to call our children to dinner and they come to the table, while their toys lay on their floor. If you evening is anything like ours, they may not go back into their room until bedtime and then we aren't wanting to take that time to clean up because we are ready for them to be in bed.
This is a gold nugget tip that will revolutionize your child keeping their room clean.
I give them a 30 minutes time prior to dinner to start to clean up their room and then they can help set the table for dinner. If we miss this we really regret it and then it makes the last tip important.
Tip 5: Tidy Up Once a Week Together
Once a week, go into your children's room with them and do a five minute tidy up. There easily can be several things that haven't made it to its assigned place throughout the week, or made its way under the bed or in the closet.
Have your child dust their room and vacuum, while you do an inspection and help put the odds and ends in their right place. Always make mention that you found things that didn't belong where you found them. Point out things that when you put them in their right place to re-enforce their rightful place and to keep your children accountable.
The following week during tidy up time, if you find the same things out of their rightful place, hand them to the children and have them put them where they belong.
It won't take long before this tip won't be needed if you are consistent with implementing them.
If you are still struggling with these and you have been consistent, I would highly suggest getting rid of some of their things. You can either put them away for a while or donate them.
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Do you need a cleaning system for your busy house? Try creating your own DIY chore system that is tailored to the weekly and monthly chores your individual home needs. This is a system that has worked for my family and not only was it fun to create, the kids enjoyed seeing what was left to do and allowed them to be flexible with what they needed to help with around the house.
Here is how to create your own DIY Chore System:
I like to have things pretty when they are displayed on my wall, but function is important when creating your DIY chore system. I used a piece of fabric, with a red piece of card stock paper to write ‘weekly' and ‘monthly' on. Once I had that completed, I warmed up my laminator and placed my fabric with the centered card stock into a laminating pouches and gave it a push through for a sturdy system that will last through my children.
I then punched holes in each of the top corners and tied ribbon through each one, allowing it to hang on a large thumb tack.
Once I had that completed, I wrote down a chore on each clothes pin, being sure that I had evenly placed them on both sides to keep it balanced on the wall. Put everything you can think of that needs attention on a weekly and then a monthly basis.
Once you have positioned all the chores on the weekly or monthly DIY chore system, be sure to flip each one over to write ‘completed' on the back.
As a chore is selected by a child (or yourself) and is completed, simply flip the clothes pin over and show that this chore is completed. In our home, we expect all the clothes pins to show completed by Fridays for the weekly and by the last day of the month for the monthly.
To help us with the monthly DIY chore system, I placed dates for the months for specific chores to be sure that they were done throughout the month and not all on the last week. I would put 1st and 15th on some and leave others blank and left to the discretion of the ones who were doing the chore. Having my own chores on this DIY chore system helped me stay focused on what was important and remember what needed my attention to keep my house maintained.
The last thing that you will want to do when implementing your own DIY chore system, is hang it in a central location so that it can be visual to all the members of your home and allow them to build responsibility and accountability easier.
At the beginning of the week or monthly, simply flip the clothes pins over and start all over again.
I love the Charlotte Mason quote that states, “The more we do for a child, the less he will do for himself.” To me, this makes complete sense. As a Charlotte Mason educator, I love to use the natural stages of a child to introduce things that will be easy for the child to be successful. Chores are no different in a child's education and the stage of ‘mocking' or ‘repeating' has proven to be the perfect stage to introduce chores for toddlers and preschoolers.
Why to Delegate Chores for Toddlers and Preschoolers
In my almost 19 years of parenting, I have experienced different personalities in my children but one thing is always the same. They want to be just like me or their daddy for a period of their life. During this stage of their life, they mimic everything that we do or say. This is a big learning stage for these children, but one benefit that this stage offers, if allowed to blossom, is building a strong self-confidence in the child. This aspect of a child, seeing that they can do or say almost everything that Mommy, Daddy and older sister or brothers do, does in fact build a confidence of accomplishment. In doing so, this makes them feel a part of the family and bonds grow stronger toward each other.
Here are 7 Household Chores for Toddlers and Preschoolers
These are the chores that each of my children learned in their toddler ages and as they grew, the responsibilities did, as well.
Make Their Bed – My children's beds are not the best looking made beds, but they do it on their own. I love to praise them when it looks better than it ever has in the past.
Take Care of Dirty Clothes – It doesn't only take once or twice for a toddler or preschooler to learn how to take care of their dirty clothes. In fact, my three year old has taken care of his clean clothes without being asked. He didn't put them in their right place, but I wasn't going to tell him and break his heart. He was so proud of himself!
Feed the Pet – Taking care of the dog is my three year olds pride. He cries if someone lets the dog out and he loves to give him treats. He gives him food on his own and occasionally fills the dog's water dish, even though that chore is for his older brother.
Help Take Care of Groceries – This chore is exciting for some reason, maybe because there is food in the house again. My three year old loves to take care of the toilet paper, canned foods and things that he can reach in the cupboard. We love his help!
Wash Windows – My oldest was the first one to do this chore and that was when she was just a little over one! She loved to wipe the windows cleaned and learn how to spray the windows. Today, my three year old cries if he doesn't have a spray bottle and paper towels to help clean the many windows in our home.
Wash Cupboards – The bottom cupboards are the perfect job for the little people in your home. I will invest in cleaning supplies that make this job easier and enjoyable for the toddlers and preschoolers in my home.
Wipe Baseboards – I don't know about your home, but our baseboards can get dirty fast. Maybe because we have a dog? Giving the little people wipes to keep the visible baseboards ‘clean' is a great chore as well.
I hope these ideas for chores are great ways to build your toddler and preschooler, while helping you keep up with the house. Be sure to follow us our Toddler & Preschool Pinterest Board, for ideas like these!
What other chores do your have your toddlers and preschoolers do?
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