Chores little kids can Actually do

I am so tired of reading childraising literature that talks about the importance of getting your kids into chores.  I mean, I am a (recovering) neatnik and appreciate the importance of cleanliness very much.  But people writing on this topic always seem to  suggest chores I’d never give my 2, 3,4 year olds. Or they forget that little children often mess up more than they clean… they just like to help!

So from my clean (ha ha ha ha!!) home to yours, here is a list of chores we have ACTUALLY found that our kids can learn and do safely and independently after some initial instruction (including two children with mild special needs).

  • sorting laundry (by person, by type of item)
  • matching socks (they can do this better than I can!)
  • putting silverware away (if you don’t want them on a stool by the drawer, take the tray out of the drawer and put it on the kitchen table with them in a chair)
  • load the silverware into the dishwasher (nothing sharp)
  • dragging a small bag of trash to the front door (my four year old can take it outside and put it in a nearby trash can)
  • running cups and things from the living area to the kitchen
  • returning clothes and shoes in the living area to the proper bedrooms
  • helping me take the groceries to the kitchen (one box at a time)
  • putting some small items away on the bottom shelf of the pantry
  • putting some small items away in the refrigerator (soda cans in a line, fruit in the crisper)
  • sweeping crumbs off the floor with a dustpan (not the two year old, but he can pick up dropped cereal and put it in the trash can)
  • “washing” their places at the table top with a rag or sponge
  • “washing” the car with an adult
  • throwing trash away or large things on the carpet (we started this at about 15months old)
  • picking play-doh or whatever out of the carpet
  • organizing their toys into proper containers (by type of toy)
  • taking small things to the basement, or obtaining obvious things from down there (paper towels, toilet paper, etc)
  • standing up the DVDs in the cabinet, books on their bookshelf
  • wiping a toilet or sink with Lysol wipes
  • hang up their own jackets, towels, backpacks (once you’ve installed some low sticky-hooks)
  • find/retrieve an object in another room

Things we have found our little children can’t do very well or very safely, even though they are sometimes suggested

  • make their own beds (but they can put their stuffed animals & pillows back on)
  • help cook
  • get their own clothes (too difficult to open drawers, select something practical)
  • get something out of the car (too difficult to open/close doors safely; too hard to search intelligently most of the time)
  • sort dirty from clean laundry
  • pour their own drinks or carry them (the 4 year old is getting close)
  • set the table (unless it’s all plasticware, empty)
  • fill the dishwasher (too fragile, too strategic of a skill)
  • clean up their own spills (without getting it everywhere or being too wasteful of towels)
  • really wash anything (ditto)
  • dust (too dirty, too likely to get polish on their hands)

One thought on “Chores little kids can Actually do

  1. I truly got into this article. I found it very interesting and loaded with unique points of interest. I like to digest material that makes me wonder. ThanksThank you for sharing this great content.

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