Developmentally Appropriate Chores for Children
Spring is in the air!
Which also means spring cleaning is just around the corner. This year, consider including your children in this annual home ritual. Through age-appropriate tasks, children acquire important social skills as they continue to learn what it means to be a part of a family.
Children learn responsibility, how to care for materials and pets at home, and how to work cooperatively with family members to get things accomplished.
The 2015 Texas prekindergarten guidelines suggest that right around the time a child turns four, he or she begins to recognize personal roles in the classroom environment which is demonstrated through readily accepting and carrying out “classroom helper” jobs (page 41). At Stepping Stone School, our classroom teachers invite children to participate in the responsibilities within the classroom through cleaning up after themselves beginning in our infant classrooms and continuing through our pre-kindergarten programs. Several of our older classrooms create chore charts in which each child is assigned a specific responsibility for the day or the week.
Families can continue to work on these skills at home by involving children in the upkeep of their home. Even before age four, children can learn to take care of materials and to take responsibility for personal messes. Toddlers, especially love to imitate parents in their work at home. Developmentally, toddlers learn through imitation and parallel play.
By inviting your toddler to “help” you in your housework, you are teaching him or her responsibility in a developmentally appropriate
manner. Whether it is moving laundry from the washer to the dryer, putting plastic dishes into the dishwasher, or stirring her bowl of imaginary food as you prepare dinner, young children learn through these daily interactions.
The following are some ideas of age appropriate household chores in which children can participate. Each list builds on the previous age group list.
18 mo. 24 mo.
- Put dirty clothes in a hamper
- Put away toys
- Move clothes from the washer to the dryer
- Match socks
- Clean up spills
- Wipe along baseboards with a damp cloth
- Put away plastic dishes
- Set the table with plastic dishes
- Fold towels
- Dust book shelves
- Wipe low cupboards
- Wipe table
- Make bed
- Pull weeds in flower beds
- Feed pets
- Rinse dishes
- Put away utensils
- Set utensils on the table
- Sort dirty laundry
- Fold small clothing items
- Wipe walls with a damp cloth
- Wipe sink and counter tops in bathrooms
- Sweep floors
- Collect mail
- Collect trash from throughout the house
- Load dishes into a dishwasher
- Unload dishes
- Wipe down bathrooms
- Wipe counter tops
- Fold larger clothing items
- Help with food preparation
- Vacuum floors
- Take trashcans to side of road
- Wipe down mirrors and windows
- Mop floors
- Make choices about whether to keep or give away clothing or toys
- Help with more intensive yard work
With supportive teaching in the beginning and consistency through training, children will learn responsible ways to participate in the daily tasks and chores at home. Each age group set of chores relates to skills children are naturally developing. With increased physical development and cognition, children are able to complete more challenging tasks at home.