Parents have a lot of work on their plates to keep households running smoothly. It only makes sense that children should help out and take on appropriate chores around the house. But at what age should you start expecting kids to do household chores?
Definitely sooner rather than later. Even toddlers can help out! They can at least start to learn the basics, which will give them a great basic knowledge of how things are done. That gets them into the routine of pitching in as they get older when they’re capable of taking on more.
Obviously, toddlers won’t be able to do big or physically intense jobs just yet, but there are a lot of age-appropriate chores for toddlers — things they can be doing around the house now that will get them started on the path to other age-appropriate chores as they get older. It’s important to know that getting them started at a young age can sometimes mean that the chores may get done more slowly and less perfectly for awhile as they get the hang of things. But spending the time to get them going now (instead of just doing everything yourself) sets the tone for them to be great helpers as they grow up.
Age-Appropriate Chores for Toddlers
- Empty bathroom trash cans. Small bathroom trash cans are generally just the right size for toddlers to carry. Have your toddler collect trash cans for you on trash day to help you take out the garbage.
- Clean up toys after playtime. Put toys back into tubs, boxes or baskets where they belong, and stack books back on the shelf. This helps them get into the habit of cleaning up messes as they go and not leaving messes for someone else to clean up later.
- Pick up clothes after changing and put them into laundry basket. You can also have your toddler help put away clean clothes into their dresser.
- Help make their bed. I say “help” because they may be too small to actually pull the covers up all the way or tuck things in just the way you like it. But having them help you pull up their blankets and tidy their stuffed animals each morning will get them into the routine of making their bed. Before you know it, they’ll be doing it on their own!
- Help set and clear the table. Start out small by having your toddler put out napkins and placemats before meals. Young children can also put out utensils for the family and clear the dishes after the meal.
- Dusting with a small rag or sock is a good way to get toddlers involved. Have them work on short tables or baseboards. Their dusting will most likely not be perfect, but they will feel proud of their work. Plus, little ones often enjoy dusting!
What are some other tasks that make great age-appropriate chores for toddlers?