My Little Miss S is a big three year old now, and in our house that means she officially has chores. She has been helping around the house and in the yard, picking up small tasks here and there pretty much since she began to walk. But now it is official. She has her own chores that she is responsible for.
I know that many parents do not agree with this. “Let kids be kids. They grow up fast enough already,” is what many say. I agree with that – we SHOULD let kids be kids; and I believe having chores and helping around the house is part of being a kid.
I do not disagree with those parents who choose not to give their children chores. I don’t think that is a ”wrong” or a “bad” parenting move. Not at all. If that is what works for those families, then by all means they should continue with that. In our family, we all do best when everyone is pitching in and helping out as a team, and that means kids too.
It took a lot of brainstorming and creativity to come up with chores for S. She is still just a little peanut at barely 3 feet tall, so there are many things she is physically incapable of doing. If you are wracking your brain to come up with chores for a small child, maybe this will help you.
Before I share the list of her chores, let me back up and explain a bit about how I came up with these. I believe that having a three-year-old do chores is NOT about actually getting extra help around the house (at least not to start out). In fact, it may create a little more work for you in the beginning while she is learning the ropes. The point of this is to teach her. Teach her how to do chores, teach her the importance of chores and keeping the house clean and tidy, and teach her the importance of working together as a team. Having a three-year-old do chores is also about building her confidence and independence, and letting her see that she CAN do things on her own. My three-year-old needs no physical token as a reward – she just loves to get praise and to feel like she accomplished something. (We are working on a reward/allowance system, but that is for another post!)
So here is a list of chores that my three-year-old can do around our house. I should also note that tasks such as picking up toys, making her bed, putting her clothes away, and taking care of her dishes after meals are not considered “chores” in our house. Those are just personal responsibilities that each person does to clean up after themselves.
Chores for a Three-Year-Old
Dust low shelves, coffee tables, end tables.
Wipe down chairs at the breakfast table.
Wipe down small table and chairs.
Wipe down the front of the lower kitchen cabinets.
Wipe down the front of the dishwasher.
Wipe down her play kitchen area.
Take laundry out of the dryer.
Fold washcloths and kitchen towels.
Water potted plants on the porch.
Feed the cat.
Sweep with a small broom.
Clean windows that she can reach without using a stool or chair.
Wipe out the bathroom sinks.
Wipe down the bathroom counter.
Wipe down the front of the bathroom cabinets.
Help take recycling to the recycling bin.
Pick up sticks from around the yard before daddy mows the grass.
Help with leaf raking/blowing.
Does that seem like a long list? Keep in mind – she does NOT do all of these every day! She does two or three each day and they coincide with what I am working on that day. She actually loves this. She asks me at breakfast each morning “What chores do I do today, Mommy?” It will be soon enough that she will lose that enthusiasm, so I’m relishing in it every bit that I can now!
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Do you have your little ones to chores? Why or why not? If so, what chores do they do?