Chores: How + Why Our Child Helps Around the House

When is my child old enough for chores?” Yes, our daughter helps around the house.

I’m not sure of the correct answer to my question posed above, but I can tell you what my husband and I implemented with our daughter and how it’s going. 

When our daughter was old enough to follow simple 1 and 2-step directions, we started teaching her how to help pick up her toys, throw away trash, and put her dirty clothes in her laundry basket. She was about 2.5 or 3 years old. At this stage, she loved helping! It made her feel like a big girl. Gave her a sense of accomplishment and independence. In fact, we went through a stage where she would purposefully use tissues so she could go throw them away! I loved watching her practice her independence and seeing her helpful heart grow. 

As she got older, picking up toys, taking dishes to the sink, and putting dirty clothes in the laundry were not fun or noble tasks anymore. However, she continued to take part in this as part of her growing independence and with us teaching her responsibility. We added feeding the dog and watched her take on this responsibility with enthusiasm. She was now responsible for helping and providing for another being and began to take more ownership of her dog. 

Here are things our now five-year-old daughter helps with around the house:

  • Folding towels and washcloths
  • Folding and putting away her clean clothes
  • Dusting {it’s not perfect, but she enjoys helping with this}.
  • Taking care of dirty clothes.
  • Picking up and putting toys away.
  • Setting and clearing table.
  • Feeding and watering the dog.
  • Using the battery sweeper.

This is not an exhaustive list of things your child can help with but these are the things that our daughter regularly helps with, in our home. She naturally has a helpful heart and wants to contribute {most days}. We found that allowing her to help has only grown this desire to help. She is also learning responsibility for herself and others – i.e. feeding the dog – and growing her independence in a constructive way. We have found that this not only takes the pressure off of me to do everything but also gives her a sense of accomplishment and feeling like she is contributing to our family and home as well.

Yes, we do have days where she doesn’t always feel like helping or does not want to participate in home tasks. This is when we remind her that as parents we don’t always want to either and sometimes we have to do these things so we can have food to eat, clean clothes to wear, etc. It has also helped show her that when she asks me to play with her, it’s not a matter of ‘want’ but that certain things need to be done first, then we can play. 

I’m not sure how old children should be for ‘chores’ but I know that what we are implementing in our home is working for our child. Every child and family is different. Find what works best for you and your child{ren} and then share with us what you do!