At our Raleigh preschool, we know the importance of having all hands on deck when it comes to cleaning up the preschool and toddler classrooms. After all, having several small children in a space playing games, creating crafts, and doing other fun activities can lead to a big mess fast!
There’s more to cleaning up then just getting the room tidy though, it’s about teaching toddlers and preschoolers about responsibility and showing them important life skills. It’s important to start at an early age this way you’re setting proper expectations for your child, but it can be hard to know what chores are age appropriate for your child.
To help you get your toddler or preschooler started on chores, we’re sharing some age appropriate options and how to avoid a meltdown (for both your child and you, as you bite your tongue from saying “Just let me do it!” after watching them take 15 minutes to fold a washcloth.).
The Benefits of Chores for Toddlers and Preschoolers
As we mentioned earlier, getting your kids involved in household chores teaches them responsibility and life skills. There’s more to it than that, too. Chores show that because everyone makes a contribution, everyone is needed and a part of the house. Because small children can often feel left out, chores and responsibilities are a great way for them to feel included.
Additionally, starting early sets the expectation that everyone contributes. If you wait until eight or nine to expect a child to clean up their room, wash dishes, or put away laundry, you’re likely to face more push back.
Guaranteeing Success with Chores
We’re not going to sugar coat this: Doing chores with kids can be frustrating. They can be slow, they don’t do it quite like how you want it to be done, you know if you just did it yourself you’d be done in seconds, etc. Remember, you’re playing a long game. For small children and when you’re just starting out, remember these tips:
- Lots of praise while they’re doing the task rather than waiting until they are done.
- Don’t jump in and try to do it for them. Show them or do the task with them to start, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Gently keep them on track to follow through and finish.
- Be specific with instructions, such as “put your stuffed animals in this bin, blocks in this box, and toy food in this bin.”
- Ease into the task. Show them how, and talk them through the steps, let them help you, then offer gentle supervision.
Age Appropriate Chores for Toddlers
Yes, even children as young as two or three years old can help around the house, and honestly, this is the time when they are happy to do so. We see so many children at our Raleigh child care center excited when we sing the Clean Up song or are eager to help us do things. Here are some great beginner chores for small children:
- Cleaning up their eating area by taking their dish and cup to the sink and wiping off the table with a damp cloth.
- Picking up their toys and putting them in bins or a toy box.
- Putting their dirty laundry in a hamper or laundry basket.
- Folding washcloths, hand towels, and dish cloths
- Cleaning up small spills
Age Appropriate Chores for Preschoolers
Once children are around four or five, they can do tasks a bit more independently, but still may need some redirection and supervision. Here are some great age-appropriate chores for preschoolers, in addition to continuing with tasks listed above:
- Feeding pets, especially if you provide a specific size scoop or server to prevent over/underfeeding.
- Helping carry in light groceries
- Matching socks
- Dusting or wiping down furniture and surfaces like shelves and tables
- Making their bed
- Set and clear the table (with non-breakable plates and dishes)
It’s important to note that these chores are general age-appropriate ideas, not set in stone. You know your child best, and during the toddler/preschool stage, development varies greatly, so if they try and just aren’t ready, that’s okay.
Childhood Development Tips from Our Raleigh Five-Star Preschool
We know that learning responsibilities are just one important step in a child’s development. That’s why, at our 5-star child care center in Raleigh, we do everything we can to foster independence, promote learning, and help children grow! To learn more about our preschool and take a tour, call our North Hills Drive location at 919-785-0303 or our Spring Forest location at 919-790-6888, or fill out our convenient contact form to get started!