Ten Chores For Preschoolers

Chores should be an important part of any preschooler’s life. As soon as they are old? enough to start cleaning up their toys and “helping” they need to be included in family chore time. It’s how they learn to be part of the family, to be responsible and many important pre-reading and pre-math skills. Here are the ten chores that F, Su and W help with on a (nearly) daily basis.

  1. Clean up toys: Everyone does this, several times a day. We use different techniques to get the job done (5 Minute Cleanup, and Pick-up Your Age are two current favorites). They are learning that they are responsible for their own messes and their own things. I have started taking everything that is on their floor at bedtime and putting it in my closet for a week, which has improved their diligence quite a bit.
  2. Set the table: the two bigs take turns with this and W makes sure the vitamins get onto the table in the morning! It helps a lot if silverware and plates are on easy to reach shelves…
  3. Clear/wipe the table and chairs: this is one of Su’s jobs. She has a very hard time noticing everything when she is asked to do a job, so clearing the table is a very concrete place to train her to do the whole job before declaring that she is done.
  4. Vacuum/sweep under the table: usually F’s job, it only takes a few minutes and makes such a difference in the amount of dirt tracked through the house.
  5. Clear dishwasher/drainer: since F has graduated to laundry, Su usually does this with a little help from W. The shelves where plates and bowls go are low and easy to reach, I do the fragile and hard to reach stuff, and figure that they will occasionally break something, although I do spend a good bit of energy teaching them how to interact with glass, china and sharp knives.
  6. Distribute laundry/collect laundry: F and Su put away their own laundry: I have two large bins under their bed for underwear and pajamas, which makes this easier. They carry the rest of the f0lded laundry to the appropriate room and F will often put it away if he can reach. They both collect dirty clothes and bring them down to the laundry area.
  7. Load/unload dryer/washer: I have a front loading washer so the children can actually unload the dryer, reload it with wet clothes from the washer and reload the washer from the appropriate pile. F is very pleased that he can reach to turn the dial on the dryer and load, set, and turn it on by himself. I still do most of the folding but expect that to change in the next couple of years.
  8. Clean bathroom sink and tub: This is a weekly job for F. I usually go up to the bathroom with him and get him started while I do the toilet, mirror etc. I then usually come behind and inspect, and either show him how to do a better job or get the edges myself.
  9. Wash windows: always popular around here, and since I don’t put my fingers on the glass, I figure they can do the washing up of the mess they make! Washing fingermarks off of walls I still do though (Magic Erasers are the best for this).
  10. Tidy bed: This is a toughie. They are big enough to nicely arrange their animals and pillows but not really big enough to manage sheets and blankets, although Su does a very nice job when she wants to…I’m thinking about making some duvet covers at some point and just letting them do that until they are bigger. Also they are in a bunk bed and those are just hard to make.

I’m sure there are plenty of other ways they could and do help around here, but these are the things they do regularly. I told S the other day that morning chore time does rather feel like a three ring circus, but I comfort myself for the present confusion by thinking about how nice it will be to have helpful and capable schoolchildren and teens!

Linking over to Top Ten Tuesday today.


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10 Responses to Ten Chores For Preschoolers

  1. ememby says:

    My five-year-old loves to vaccum and help sort laundry – but I think this list will help me add some more to his list 🙂

  2. oh amanda says:

    OK. The “pick up your age” just changed my life! I love this!

    Such great tips. I’m stumbling this!

  3. K_Steinmann says:

    “Clean up your room.” is too vague for a preschooler. We do “Pick Up Your Age” as well as “Clean by Category” frequently.

    Categories include:
    Pick up everything red etc.
    Pick up everything with wheels
    Pick up everything wooden etc.

    This is especially good with F and Su as a competition…K

  4. Tara says:

    This was so unbelievably helpful for me to read today. Just yesterday, we had a major meltdown with my 4 year old because I asked for his help to clean up the play room.

    These are some great suggestions, and I love the “pick up your age” concept. Thank you!!!

  5. Once my daughter is old enough, I think I will definitely implement some of the things on your list! I like cleaning up your toys and setting the table!

  6. Great list you have.. I too started my kids on chores when they were preschoolers . Besides unloading the laundry I get them to help hang up the wet clothes. If they are not tall enough they will use the step ladder under supervision. I also get them to vacumn the floor in their room. Now that #1 is 7yrs old I get him to help to take out the trash and wash the dishes too.

  7. K_Steinmann says:

    Oh a step ladder is a great incentive…we have no space to hang out laundry here, but they helped with that at our old house, standing on a chair to hand me clothespins…K

  8. Caroline says:

    Ooh, these are great ideas. Love the tips and ideas in #1! I’ve heard about “5-minute clean up.” I love the “pick up your age” idea.

  9. What great ideas!! 🙂 To get my littlest ones making their beds… I have them sit on their pillow & first pull the sheet up & then the blanket… then stuffed animals, etc. get organized on top! 🙂

    • K_Steinmann says:

      I talked to my sister the other day, her children are about the same ages as mine and I’m definitely going with duvets…so easy to pull up and to keep clean….K

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