Teaching young children to do simple daily chores might feel like more work than it’s worth but seeing the results of them learning to do daily chores has benefits that far outweigh the effort. In this post, I share the reasons we do daily chores with our children and what chores look like at our house.
Simple Daily Chores A Little Three-Year-Old Can Do
Over two years ago, I started implementing daily chores with our daughter. At the time she was a month shy of three. It all started when we moved her from a crib to a big girl bed. I want her to learn responsibility as she grows. Getting a big girl bed seemed like the perfect opportunity to begin to do that. It has been amazing to see her grow into the role of family helper over the last couple of years. I’ve watched her gain confidence and skills and her help really does benefit our family.
Teaching Simple Daily Chores to Young Children Requires A Slow and Patient Beginning
Teaching a young child to do chores is not only an exercise in patience and perseverance for the child but for the parent as well!
Learning new skills can be hard for kids and quite frankly, sometimes they just don’t want to try. When I started having our almost three year old daughter make her bed, I showed her how to do it for a couple of days. After I felt like she understood the basic idea, I left her to do it herself. I told her to do as much as she could and I would help her with whatever she couldn’t do.
The first couple of days I left her in her room to make her bed she cried and cried, saying it was too hard and she couldn’t do it. I would come in to give her encouragement every couple of minutes and tell her it was hard but she was strong and could do it. Eventually, despite the tears, her bed would get made. I would then admire and praise her hard work and effort, even if it was far from perfect. I could tell she was proud of her hard work despite the tears she shed. Over time she got better and better at making her bed. Although it is still not perfect, she continues to improve and I know she is learning a habit that will benefit her for the rest of her life.
Our Reasons for Teaching Simple Daily Chores to Young Children
I decided to start having our daughter help out with chores at a pretty young age. There were several reasons I decided to start her so young:
1. Little Children Want to Help
First my daughter really wanted to help. She was always next to me wanting to participate in everything I was doing. There were many times I wanted her to go play by herself so I could get stuff done. Although there were times I did insist she learn to enjoy her own company and play by herself, I also saw an opportunity to teach her how to help. Since she wanted to be right next to me helping, chores weren’t drudgery for her.
2. Easier to Learn Good Habits When Young
Experts say most of what we do it based on habit. If that’s the case, I want my children to learn good habits that will help them in life and not habits that will hinder them. Good habits are so much easier to learn at a young age. Bad habits are much harder to unlearn, especially as an adult.
3. Oldest Child Sets the Example for Younger Siblings
My oldest daughter has grown out of the stage of wanting to be attached to my hip and participate in every single thing I do. But since we started chores at a young age, it has become a pattern in her life. She doesn’t question it, even if she doesn’t like it or feel like doing it. She is also setting the example for her younger sister of what it looks like to be a part of our family. We all help out because we all make messes. Even the two-year-old wants to participate in the chores.
4. Learning to Work Hard
Sometimes my daughter complains that certain chores are so hard or take a long time. I sympathize with her. It is hard and does take time! I feel that all the time! How often would I like to quit or wish it could be done by someone else?
This is such a great teaching moment. I’ll tell her, “God has given us so much; we are so blessed! God has given us the opportunity to be responsible for these gifts and they do require us to work hard to take care of them.” I also draw attention to the fact that if she doesn’t do a certain chore, someone else will have to do it instead, and usually that’s mommy. She is able to help by doing these chores and she can find joy in the fact that she is helping mommy. This is one way I’m able to teach her how to be a cheerful giver.
5. Benefits As an Adult
Probably the biggest catalyst that led me to start chores at such a young age came from my own family. Growing up, we had chores…lots of chores! I never remember questioning if my chores were optional. I just did them; my brother, sister and I all did them, and most often we did them happily.
I can see how all the chores we did as children, especially once we were older and knew how to do them on our own, were helpful to my mom. Although this may sound selfish, I look forward to the day my children will be able to help around the house in ways that relieve some of the pressure from my shoulders.
Learning good habits and how to clean and work hard as a child has definitely benefited me now as I care for my own home and family. The habits I developed as a child are ingrained into my daily routine. But more importantly, I’ve learned the meaning of hard work. I don’t mind hard work, in fact I enjoy it! Thanks Mom and Dad!
6. Feeling Valuable to the Family
As time has gone on, I can see my daughter owning her chores with pride. Her chores are necessary to help our family run smoothly and she can feel that. She knows she has a valuable role to play and often (not always) wants to do them well.
There are even days she tries to get her chores done without being asked because she wants to surprise me. It’s the cutest thing!
Allowance or No Allowance
Another question that took some time to work through was the idea of giving an allowance for chores.
I love the idea of teaching my children how to manage money. We tried giving an allowance for a time, however, we eventually decided not to continue to do that for chores. To me, it just made more sense to get paid to do extra tasks, not things that are just a part of being in a family.
So when my daughter wants to earn money, I give her a different task from her regular chores and pay her for that. (Yes, she’s only five but has on multiple occasions has wanted to earn money.) This provides me with the opportunity to teach her what managing money looks like. Right now we have her tithe (10%) to the Lord and the rest she can spend on something she wants. In the future, it will probably change to include tithe, saving, and spending, but for now this is enough for our family.
Our Simple First Chore List
In the beginning, I kept the chores very simple. Keep in mind that I also helped my daughter with many of these chores for a long time! And she still needs help for some of them even two years later.
Our first chore list looked something like this:
- Get Dressed
- Make Bed
- Tidy Room (clothes, books and toys away)
- Wash Face
- Brush Teeth
- Comb Hair
- Help Mommy (this chore changed but often it was helping with the laundry)
I created a simple chore chart that had symbols by each of the chores so my daughter, who couldn’t read, knew what they where without having to ask me.
We’ve expanded this list as she’s gotten older to include other things like:
- Feed the chickens and dog
- Vacuum under table after dinner
- Help clear table
- Empty trash cans
- Collect and sort dirty laundry
Ideas for Simple Daily Chores for Young Children
Here is a list of all the little simple chores I could come up with. This is not an exhaustive list by any means but it is place to start if you want to begin incorporating chores in your family.
Most of these chores are geared more for children three and up but every child is different. What may be simple enough for one child might be too hard for another. That’s where we get to have discernment as parents to come up with what is best for our children.
If you would like this list in a printable version, sign up with your email at the bottom of this post and it will be sent to your inbox.
Is It Worth It?
It might seem like more work than it’s worth to try and teach chores to young children, but I believe it is worth it! I’ve seen how it benefited me in my own childhood and into adulthood. So I try to keep that in mind on days I struggle to continue this habit for our children.
Join Our Simple Home and Farm Life Community and Get Your Printable Chore Ideas List and Simple Chore Chart for Young Children When You Subscribe!
Favorite Chore Tools for Kids
All of the chore tools listed below we either have or have something every similar and love. These would make great Christmas presents if you are looking for some options besides toys for your kids.
Lambswool Duster – my kids will walk around the house with these little dusters and love helping me when I’m dusting.
Kid Safe Knives – this is the one we have and it works great. I like using it to make crinkle veggies sometimes too.
Child’s Broom – here’s a broom very similar to the one I got for my girls. I’m not above using this little broom to sweep the porch because it works so well. Now I need a mama sized broom just like it!
Child’s Rake and Garden Tools – We have this set and the kids love helping us outside with these garden tools.
Indoor Watering Can – this is the watering can we use around the house. The kids are able to help water with this as well since it’s not too big.
Light Weight Cordless Vacuum – This vacuum is the one we have and is light weight enough for my daughter to use starting when she was about 4 years old.