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Chores for Toddlers

My kids are three and one and so are still in the need help with almost everything stage. Although now that my three year old is putting on his own pants, socks, and shoes, sometimes I feel like we just might be unstoppable in the getting ready for the day department. If he can master his shirt by himself, I’ll let the kid wear whatever he wants! (Okay, probably not. But I’m working toward that!)

I’m a pretty big believer in chores for kids (though goodness knows I used to hate doing them and, okay, doing the laundry still makes me grumble sometimes). There’s just so much good stuff they can get out of doing chores. Early work ethic (“we work hard at the things we like to do and the things we don’t like!” is something we say often in our house), personal responsibility, and delayed gratification are all things I feel my kids can learn from chores.

One of the biggest for us, though, is they learn to participate in our family and learn to recognize that our family isn’t all about serving them. We all work together as a family to get things done and serve each other. And as we learn to serve each other in our own household, our hope is that we learn to serve other people, too.

Though I don’t have an official list or schedule written out (though I’d like to do that soon!), we have several chores that the kids do on a regular basis. We don’t even really talk about them as chores, we just talk about helping each other in the family. Thankfully, they’re at the age where they love to help out so that does make it easier.

My one year old is in charge of throwing away her diapers after a change, she often helps empty the dishwasher (pulls things out of the bottom rack and hands them to me to put away), and helps empty the grocery bags after a shopping trip. She helps clean up toys, put clothes in the dirty clothes basket, and helps me put away clean socks and underwear (all the things that don’t need to stay folded!). We keep our most used shoes by the door and she knows how to put hers away there. Obviously sometimes it feels like more work than it’s worth to have her help, but she usually loves it and it’s just another opportunity to train for obedience and service.

My three year old does most all of the same chores as his sister. Emptying the dishwasher, putting groceries away, cleaning up toys, dirty clothes in the basket, putting away clean clothes, putting shoes by the door. He also is in charge of clearing his dishes after a meal, and will often help clear the rest of the table, too. If he spills something, we have him get out a towel and try to clean it up.

Some of these things might fall under just their responsibilities in the home, rather than a chore that gets done daily or weekly. Others they are responsible for pretty much every day. I’ve seen lots of chore lists by age online, and always find it interesting to see what’s suggested.  Sometimes I feel like we’re way ahead and expecting a lot more from our kids than some of the suggestions that I see. A lot of times I see great ideas I never would have thought of! I went ahead and put together a list with Chore Ideas for Toddlers with what’s working for us. Feel free to download it  here and use in whatever way is helpful for your family!

What chores have you taught your kids in the toddler age range? I’d love to teach my three year old to make his bed and do laundry next! What age did your kids learn?

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