I’m trying to teach my children life skills from a young age, and helping around our home is a huge way to teach that. These are chores for a 3 to 4 year old that my boys have started with so they can contribute to our home.
Should my child be doing chores around the house? When should they start?
I mentioned that we do Saturday jobs, and also cleaning zones each night, and I got a lot of questions about what Sanny does to contribute to cleaning our home.
I believe that it’s super important to help your children feel like they’re contributing to the home and the family at a really early age. It gives them value and helps them feel responsible.
Every child is different, so start at whatever age feels right for your child. But I think 3 years old is a perfect age to get them involved!
Can a 3 year old actually do chores?
Sanny is three and a half years old, so obviously he’s not as capable of doing chores as the big boys are, but he’s still capable of doing a lot of things! Don’t discount the skills and enthusiasm of those little ones.
So I wanted to provide a list of chores that a 3 to 4 year old could easily do to help contribute to your home, and things that Sanny is assigned to do in our home. They can help with so many things!
Chores for a 3 to 4 year old
- Unload the silverware from the dishwasher
- Set the table — place napkins and silverware
- Go get the mail
- Match the socks from the laundry basket
- Dusting furniture
- Spray the mirror spray to clean the mirrors
- Switch the loads of laundry (you take them out of the washing machine and he puts them in the dryer)
- Water the plants
- Make their bed (much easier with our favorite Beddy’s, of course!)
- Put away their toys
- Put their folded laundry away
- Wipe down countertops or tabletops
- Feed animals
- Collect trash around the house (make sure they have supervision with plastic garbage bags, of course)
- Clear food items off the table after meals
- Put their own dishes in the dishwasher
- Use a hand held vacuum to clean up crumbs
- Put pillows back on the couch properly
- Clean up books and put them back on the shelf or in a basket.
How often is Sanny doing chores?
We’re having Sanny contribute to cleaning and helping in our home everyday. Consistency is key. If you’re just having your 3 or 4 year old help once a week, you’ll probably get some pushback. Get them in the habit of helping in little ways every day.
Do I help him accomplish the chores? Or let him do the chores on his own?
I absolutely help him. I still help my 6 year old do his chores a lot of the time. I’m right there with him, helping, encouraging, and showing him how to complete the chore.
Some he’s been doing for long enough (like unloading the silverware from the dishwasher), that he doesn’t need help. I love seeing that independence, so I step back and let him do the chores on his own as often as I can.
Don’t forget to teach your child HOW to do the chore!
Children don’t inherently know how to do chores the right way. They can’t read your mind and know how you want them to do it.
So in our home, to teach them how to do the chore, we hold a “training.” It’s just a minute or two instructional session to show them how to do it. Sometimes I do it with just one child before we start their chore, sometimes I’ll gather them all together and teach them at once. Then, without fail, they want to jump right in and do it themselves!
Also, as your older children get bigger, have them train the younger children. It makes them feel super important!
Do I go back and re-do the chore after they’re done?
Sometimes, yes. But not in front of him. The best thing you can do is praise and encourage when they do these chores. Remember, they’re still really little and they’re doing their best. Correcting as they go is ok, but once they’re done, praise is the best thing you can do.
I promise it’ll quickly kill morale if you criticize or correct in front of them after they’ve worked hard.
Praise, praise, praise.
I mentioned it right above, but I have to say it again. You cannot give them enough praise at this age. Give them praise before they start, telling them you’re so grateful that they’re going to help. Praise them during, telling them they’re working so hard and you appreciate that they’re being so careful. Praise them after, telling them that you’re so grateful to have such a great helper in your home. Praise, praise, and praise some more.
If you can think of other good chores for a 3 to 4 year old, leave a comment here or over on my Instagram this morning!