10 Simple Household Chores for Kids Under 5

With our schedules so full and our lives so busy, it’s important that we as parents make sure to teach our kids from an early age that they will be expected to chip in and help with family chores.

Giving children responsibilities helps their confidence grow and helps them understand their place in the family. What do I mean by this?

Well, as kids learn and grow they are striving to understand how they fit into the world – especially within their family unit.

Encouraging good habits like cleaning up after playtime, keeping their rooms neat and tidy, and helping with family chores will help them to understand the importance of teamwork.

Being part of a family takes teamwork to make sure things run as smoothly as possible!

Motivated by Good Will, Not Money

Personally, I suggest not using a reward system such as allowance when it comes to household responsibilities.

We should expect our kids to help out and get involved, without the added incentive of getting paid, and they should understand that expectation of them as well.

Communicate to them that chipping in and doing their share is just part of being a family.

Position it as a necessary part of a well-balanced life, and they’ll grow up understanding that, in order to get along well in life and with others, they will need to step up and do their part in the world (without needing extra incentives!)

Instead of setting your kids up to look for external rewards in everything, strive to ensure they feel appreciated and honored for the work they do.

Make Chores Fun & Find the Teachable Moments

For young kids, around 3-5 years old, make sure to keep things light and enjoyable. During cleanup and chore time my toddler often doesn’t even realize she is working because she is having so much fun in the process!

It’s all about how you frame it (and your kids will follow your example.) Remember, they are still little and learning, so frame it as a fun activity to do together and be sure to emphasize the importance of the job and how they’re helping by stepping up.

Let Them Have Ownership

Establishing the expectation that your child must take ownership of their personal belongings and their chores will help to foster independence and teach responsibility at an early age.

Set this precedent at an early age, and continue to reinforce it as they get older, making sure to not micromanage their efforts and jump in to help with every little thing.

You don’t want them continuously coming to you for help with things they are perfectly capable of doing on their own.

Examples of Simple Chores for Little Ones

To give you a good starting place for implementing these ideas with your younger children, here is a simple list of household chores appropriate for kids between the ages of 3-5, to help get them involved in the workings of the home.

1. Clean up toys

It’s a great idea to begin teaching these concepts by starting with your child’s own belongings. Turn some music on, give them directions and go to town getting their toys cleaned up in a fun, enjoyable way.

2. Set or clear the table

I don’t know about you, but my kids are always asking to help when I am cooking. When it’s meal time, let your child know that you have a special, important job that needs done in order for the meal to happen, and you’re going to give it to them!

3. Help with cooking

As I just mentioned, kids LOVE helping with cooking, which for some parents can be stressful. Don’t let it be! Create opportunities for them to be helpful during the cooking process in safe ways, such as helping you stir, retrieving ingredients from the refrigerator, or throwing things away when done.

4. Feed the family pet

This is a great opportunity for teaching young kids how to follow simple instructions, like how many scoops of food to put in the bowl, or how high to fill up the water. It will also help teach consistency because it’s important that the job gets done or your beloved family pet will go hungry!

5. Clean up spills or messes

The idea here is, “you break it, you bought it!” As early as possible, start teaching kids that if they cause a problem they need to be part of resolving that problem. Teach them to take personal responsibility by holding them responsible for their mistakes. Don’t shame them, but encourage them to make things right and offer to help as they do.

6. Get ready for the day

Teach your kids how to choose their clothes for the next day, then get dressed themselves and brush their own teeth. Once they’ve mastered this routine it will make morning so much easier for you AND they’ll feel so accomplished being able to do things for themselves.

7. Water the plants

This one is similar to feeding the pets. Make sure you child knows what will happen if the plants don’t get watered, so they learn that certain things have to be done or you’ll deal with negative outcomes later.

8. Sort laundry and match socks

This is perfect for developing cognitive skills as they learn concepts like matching. Ask them to make piles of their clothes, their sibling’s clothes if they have any, and of mommy or daddy’s clothes. Then ask them to find pairs of socks that go together.

9. Washing dishes

Whether you get them up on a chair and washing dishes in the soapy water with you, or helping you load the dishwasher after meals, get them involved in this essential cleanup step after meals. Again, this will teach them to take personal responsibility for themselves instead of waiting on other people to do things for them.

10. Collect the mail or newspaper

Most kids I know LOVE to see what the mail brought for the day, so give the job of retrieving it every day to them.

Do you have any tried and true favorite chores that you kids are responsible for doing?


An Open Letter to Dads on Mother’s Day

Dear Dads,

Are you ready? Mother’s Day is just around the corner (you’re welcome for the reminder!)

My hope is that you noticed it on the calendar weeks ago and have been plotting tirelessly to make it an extra special day for the well-deserving mamas in your lives.

But just in case the dog ate your calendar and somehow the holiday is catching you unawares, I want you to know that I’ve got your back.

I’m going to let you in on a few little secrets that I hope will help you see the mother of your children in a new light and plan a truly spectacular day for her to enjoy this Mother’s Day.

Secret #1: We want to know we’re appreciated

Ever since those two pink lines showed up on that first pregnancy test, we have been making sacrifice after sacrifice for these tiny people we created with you.

We’ve sacrificed our bodies, our sleep, our privacy, our time, our freedom and even, on occasion, our sanity!

Here’s the thing: to us, all of that sacrifice is totally worth it.

We don’t regret becoming moms for one second, and will always be there to wipe those runny noses, kiss those scraped knees and change those wet bed sheets in the middle of the night.

We will continue to wake up every day ready to jump in and do what needs doing to make sure our families are safe, happy and healthy.

But no matter how much we logically understand the value of our own sacrifice, nothing fills our hearts more than when you and our children express your appreciation for everything we do.

We just want to know that you all see us and appreciate #allthethings we do, day-in and day-out, to keep the world turning.

So make sure to lead by example – let us know how much you love and appreciate everything we do, and encourage the kids to do the same.

This special day is like a recharge to our tired mama batteries. A little fuel goes a long way!

Secret #2: We don’t want to make decisions

Every single day of our lives we are faced with a million different decisions to make. Decision fatigue is totally a thing – and we have that!

On Mother’s Day the last thing we want to do is have you ask us, “So what would you like to do today?” Trust me, just don’t do it.

A much better course of action would be to think really hard about what you know we like….and make as many of those things happen for us as possible.

We don’t always need diamonds or trips or fancy dinners….we just want to know that you put care and thought into pampering us on our special day.

So make some plans (in advance!) that you know we’ll love and we will be totally thrilled to enjoy a wonderful day, free from having to think or make decisions!

Secret #3: We just want a break!

I would bet money that if you took a poll asking 100 moms what the #1 thing they wish they had more of in their lives is, they’d answer “sleep.”

Seriously….we mamas are just TIRED and ready for a break! This Mother’s Day try to get creative about how you can take things off our plate to make our day as refreshing and rejuvenating as possible.

And get the kids in on the action too – it doesn’t all have to fall to you! Have them help cook some meals or clean up the house.

Even better? Take them out for a bit to give us some much needed “me-time” at home. Truly, there is nothing like being able to use the bathroom in total privacy, or read a few chapters of a new book uninterrupted.

I guaranteed if you take each of these “secrets” to heart and respond accordingly, your partner – that beautiful, amazing, strong, selfless and incredible mother of your children – will feel like the most special person in the world. And that is the most priceless thing you could ever give her.

Don’t forget – we appreciate YOU, our men, our partners, the ones who make OUR world go ‘round, and we are so grateful to be on this journey through parenthood with you (which we can’t wait to celebrate on Father’s Day in just a few weeks!)

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