With only one grownup and two toddlers in the house, I have been highly motivated to get my girls to help out in meaningful ways around the house. The beauty of giving toddlers and preschoolers chores to do is that they actually love it! Because independence is so important to them, giving them ways to contribute in a meaningful way to the running of the house and their daily living is beneficial for everyone. I started consciously giving my girls ...ahem... tasks to do was when they were around 2 years old. Since then I have gradually added things as I realize they are able to do them or find ways to make it easier. Here is the list of chores my girls currently do on a routine basis (the photos link back to previous blog posts where I have described my setup in further detail):
1. Set the table
They love picking out the color dishes they want to use and the chair in which they will sit!
2. Clear the dishes after a meal
I keep their dishes in an easily accessible cabinet so they can get out and put away dishes on their own. They recently got tall enough to reach the counter or kitchen sink so they can help clear the table.
3. Put their dirty clothes by the washing machine
4. Put away clean laundry
I have a stacked washer and dryer in a small closet off of my living room, so the girls just dump their dirty clothes on the floor in front of the closet. It makes it easier for me to just pick them up and dump them in the hamper (in the closet next to the washer) or straight into the machine. Their clothes are in easy-to-access bins in a closet so they can put clean clothes away on their own.
5. Make their bed
This is the latest addition. They only recently started really using their blankets, so it has only recently been something that even needs to happen, but it took me a while to figure out how to do it. One day I hit on an idea and so far it has worked- I tell them they need to "tuck in" their dolls so they can sleep while the girls are away. They put their dolls (they each have 3 small ones in their beds) on their pillow and fix the blanket so just their heads/faces are peeking out. I sometimes have to help them get the far edge by the wall straightened out but they can mostly do it on their own and they enjoy doing it!
6. Put away their toys
Having their toys and games easily accessible in bins has made this another easy process.
7. Put away groceries
My girls LOVE going to the grocery store. They are also very good at knowing exactly where everything goes in the fridge or pantry, and they absolutely insist on putting groceries away themselves.
8. Clean up most spills
I keep a pile of rags in the corner of my pantry where they can easily access them. Since they started potty training (around age 2) I have had them at least attempt to clean up spills on their own by wiping it up with a rag, although I often finish it up myself or spray some cleaner on it before they wipe.
9. Wash out little training potty after use
Their caregiver (who watches them in her home) actually got me started on this- the girls empty their training potties into the "big potty" in the bathroom after they use it. Lately they use the training potties and the bathroom toilet interchangeably, but whenever they use it they empty the training potty themselves (unless it's really messy!!). When they were potty training, they took a lot of pride in doing this because it gave them a chance to show off their prize before dumping it out!
10. Personal grooming- get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, wash hands
I don't know if this counts as a chore but it sure felt like a chore when I did it for them! For the most part, the girls brush their own teeth, comb their own hair, wash their own hands, pick out their clothes, and dress/undress themselves. Some shirts are still hard for them to get on and off themselves, and I do still help them with their hair, but this is another area where they would much rather do as much as possible on their own anyway. Keeping their clothes, brushes, soap, and faucet accessible makes these tasks more doable at this age.
Do you have any other chores you have seen 3-year-olds have success with? Should 3-year-olds have any chores at all? Share your thoughts in the comments! :)