The idea of your preschooler helping out with chores around the house can either be an exciting prospect or terrifying. Either way, encouraging your little one to help out around the house will not only have a positive impact now but also in the future.
Toddlers are known for their independence; channeling that desire into chores will benefit both you and them. In addition, mastering age-appropriate skills now enables your child to continually grow and learn while simultaneously building their confidence and self-esteem.
Benefits of Chores
A preschooler helping out with chores around the house has benefits you might not have considered. They will learn skills beyond cleaning and organization.
What Preschoolers Learn from Doing Chores
-opportunity for success
-building a foundation
Teamwork: Helping out goes beyond keeping their room clean. It teaches the value of working together for a common goal. By learning new skills, they become a contributing member of the family, and with that comes self-assurance.
Time Management: Each new skill will require patience from everyone involved. However, as your preschooler masters a chore, they will become more efficient.
Opportunity for Success: We all love positive feedback, and no one loves that more than a toddler. From a high five or hug to a sticker chart, knowing they are making us proud is something they strive for.
Assigning chores, big or small, gives them the opportunity to show us they can achieve great things daily. Age-appropriate chores are important to ensure your preschooler receives the desired positive reinforcement.
Building a Foundation: We all know at least one person who got to college without knowing how to do their own laundry or how to cook a basic meal. Beginning chores at a young age sets the foundation for continuing to learn age-appropriate chores as they get older.
The ultimate goal is for our kids to grow into successful functioning members of society. Allowing them to practice in their own home prepares them for when they eventually are on their own.
Nine Age-Appropriate Chores
Preschoolers have short attention spans, so small and manageable chores are the best way to ensure success. We like the following chores for younger kiddos.
Chores for Your Preschooler:
- Setting the Table
- Washing Vegetables
- Dressing Themselves
- Watering Plants
- Feeding Pets
- Picking up Toys
- Cleaning Windows
- Sweeping and Dusting
- Setting the Table: Start small by giving them cups or spoons to place at each spot. Is it going to be in the perfect spot every time? No, but that is more than ok. Preschool-age kids learn by doing and by mimicking. The more opportunities they are given to help, the more success they will have.
A fun twist to this chore is allowing your preschooler to make themed centerpieces for the table. A cornucopia made of leaves and acorns from the backyard is a perfect fall centerpiece, flowers in the springtime, or whatever their little imagination can dream up.
- Washing Vegetables: Kids love water. Giving a bath to vegetables or scrubbing them in the sink is an excellent use of their innate aquatic skills. It is also an excellent opportunity to stress the importance of good hygiene in regard to our bodies and what we put into them. Building a healthy relationship with food starts with the basics.
- Laundry: One of the most time-consuming chores is going to get even longer; however, it’s also going to be a lot more fun with a little one helping out. Sorting laundry into piles, tossing clothes into the washing machine, and then pulling them out of the dryer plays to their strengths.
As they master this skill, you can upgrade your toddler to the role of the one who puts piles of clothes where they belong. They can also become the “official sock matcher.”
- Dressing Themselves: Preschool-age kids love choices. It gives them a feeling of control that they desperately crave. Allowing them to not only pick out their clothes, within reason, but also get dressed with minimal help is empowering. Choosing what goes on their body and getting approval is a great way to build self-confidence and self-expression.
- Watering Plants: You can give your child a small cup or their very own child-sized watering can to assist you in watering the plants. If you want to decrease the mess and increase the fun, give them their own water bottle to spray the plants with. If you do not have a green thumb, succulents are excellent plants that need to be watered significantly less than a typical house plant.
- Feeding Pets: Scooping food and then pouring it into the food dish is one of the more fun chores for little ones. Keep the food container in an accessible place for your child, with the measuring scoop nearby. Spills will happen. Keep a towel and dustpan close by.
- Picking up Toys: The more specific you are, the more successful this chore will be. For example, let your child know you will put the Legos in the yellow bin and then ask them to help out by putting stuffed animals in the basket or their toy cars in the green bucket.
Labeling containers with photos of what belongs inside is a great way to foster the independence needed for this chore. Model this alongside them so they can see teamwork in action. Having toys go into designated bins or baskets instead of sitting on shelves will help the room look tidier.
- Cleaning Windows – Will you have a streak-free shine? Probably not. Will your child have fun spraying water inside the house, on the windows, and then wiping it away? Absolutely. Show your child how to point and spray away from their face and onto the desired surface.
- Sweeping and Dusting – Kid-sized brooms and cleaning equipment are easy to find online, or you can give them an old sock to put on their hand for dusting and a whisk broom and pan for sweeping. These are both tasks they can do side by side with you, either independently or assisting by holding the dustpan for you.
Perfection is Not the Goal
You want your preschooler to feel engaged but not overwhelmed. Meltdowns are part of being a toddler. If we are not able to prevent feelings of frustration, we can at least manage them. Perfection is not the goal. By setting clear and reasonable expectations, you’ll save a lot of tears on both ends.
Provide plenty of positive feedback when your preschooler is helping out with chores. Your toddlers want to feel important, and they want to know they are contributing to the family. You know your child and what they are capable of, but sometimes they can surprise you in the best way if you just give them the opportunity!