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Chore Ideas For Young Children

How to Raise a Responsible Child: 10 Chore Ideas For Preschoolers and Toddlers

It may be hard to imagine your 3-year-old actually being helpful with housework, but if they're old enough to walk and talk, they're old enough for some simple chores. Instilling a sense of responsibility — for the space they live in, and for their role as an actively contributing member of the family — will pay off for you as a parent, and for your child as an individual down the road.

Introducing a chore chart is one way to incentivize your child to stay on task — this one from Melissa & Doug is customizable and incorporates good manners and personal care. A Dyson of their very own that really works combines playtime and actually helping out. And, kids love spray bottles and sponges — so lean into it! Once you've come up with your strategy for getting the whole family on board and excited about their new roles in the household, here are 10 tasks to get them started.

1. Make Their Bed

Set your expectations a notch or two below "hospital corners" and view teaching them to make their beds every morning as a step in the direction of developing strong personal responsibility. Sure, you may have to follow up and finish their work for them, but once they're out of the crib, little kids can get into the routine of pulling up their sheets and stacking their pillows.

2. Unload the Groceries

Have your toddler help to empty your grocery bags and find a proper home for everything. This will also help them familiarize themselves with the layout of your kitchen and pantry storage so they can find things on their own.

3. Dust

Turn dusting into a game by putting an old pair of socks on your child's hands. Their "mitts" can swipe clean windowsills, bookshelves, and countertops.

4. Clean Windows and Mirrors

Hand over a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels, and let them get to work!

5. Straighten Up the Playroom

Get your kids into the habit of putting their toys away when they're through with them. The better organized their play space, the easier this will be for them to do.

6. Put Away Clean Clothes

Folding might be a task reserved for the grown-ups, but anyone can take a stack of clean, folded clothing and put it away in the dresser where it belongs.

7. Load the Washing Machine

Sorting laundry by color is a fun (and educational, and time-consuming) activity for little ones. Get them involved in the process! They can load the washing machine, switch the laundry to the dryer, and take the warm clothes out of the dryer when the cycle is through (with parental supervision, of course).

8. Set the Table

Get them involved in mealtime with the responsibility of setting the table with plates, glasses, napkins, and flatware.

9. Help Out in the Kitchen

Depending on their age, your kids can get involved with meal prep. Check out this guide to specific age-appropriate responsibilities from the National Institutes of Health.

10. Feed the Family Pet

Since an animal's meals generally stay the same from day to day, this is a great daily task to assign to a young child to encourage responsibility and teach them to care for a living thing.

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