Getting Little Ones Started with Household Chores

Getting Little Ones Started with Household Chores

By Kathryn Peck 

When I pick up my son from nursery school each day, one of my favorite questions to ask is, “What was your job today?”

He takes great pride in telling me that he was the line leader that day. On other days, his job may be to water the classroom plants, to feed the fish, or to push in the chairs after snack time. Tasks, like these carried out in the classroom or chores like folding laundry and cleaning up toys that are done at home, can be great learning opportunities for little ones.

Children are naturally interested in activities they see at home.

Children are naturally interested in activities they see at home. In a way, this is why play kitchens and tool benches are so much fun for little ones.

Don’t shy away from letting your little ones take on a chore or two around the house. Introduce them as fun activities, rather than exposing how we, parents, truly feel about folding laundry (ug!). By doing so, you’ll help them learn important life skills, build confidence and self-reliance, and you might get some chores done as well.

Here are a few age-appropriate chores to get you started.

Toddlers, Ages 2-3  

  • Put the dirty clothes in a hamper.
  • Fold the laundry (stick with the easy stuff, like towels and washcloths)
  • Put groceries away (this also opens up conversations about different foods; perhaps just the thing a picky eater needs - fingers crossed!).
  • Feed a pet.
  • Clean up toys.

Preschoolers, Ages 4-6

  • Clear the dishes after a meal.
  • Dust with a cloth.
  • Match socks.
  • Water the plants (use a smaller watering can or try a spritz bottle).
  • Put away the utensils.

Older children, Ages 6+ 

  • Sweep the floors.
  • Set the table.
  • Help take out the trash.
  • Put away clean laundry.
  • Wash the dishes/load the dishwasher.


About the author: Kathryn is the owner of Bicycle Pie and mom of 4 little ones. Also a writer, editor, and former owner of one of Boston's premiere baby boutiques, she continues to write about motherhood, children's products, family life, and all other things that test our skills and patience as parents.

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