Chores for Children

By Kristen
Page Updated on November 24, 2007

If you want your kids to do their chores, make sure that the tasks aren't too difficult for them. If you choose something too difficult for them, they will become overwhelmed by the task and get a big hit to their self esteem when they repeatedly fail to complete the task correctly.

2 Years Old

Reward with pride, love, and the occasional treat given immediately after the chore is done. They're not yet old enough for charts, and money isn't necessary yet. No consequences for not completing a task.

  • Put this toy away (this will be easier if you use picture labels and make a game of matching the object to the label)
  • Help Mommy / Daddy clean up with room
  • Put dirty clothes in your laundry basket
  • Push laundry basket into laundry room
  • Put dirty laundry in the washer (this only works if you have a front loading washer or a table next to your top loading washing machine along with a step stool)
  • Put wet laundry in the dryer (if they can reach it)
  • Push the start button on the washing machine / dryer
  • Put your socks in the sock drawer, pants in the pant drawer, and so forth (don't expect them to fold it, but sometimes they'll try)
  • Close the dishwasher and push the start button
  • Open the dishwasher
  • Put clean, break-resistant dishes that Mommy/Daddy hands to you away (in lower cabinets and drawers they can reach, of course, but don't expect it to be neatly stacked)
  • Help cook and bake
  • Be Mommy's/Daddy's big helper when Mommy/Daddy is doing chores

3 Years Old

Reward with colorful, interactive chore charts that use stickers or something similar along with lots of pride and love. A paycheck can be started, but it will need to be paid immediately since they still need instant gratification at this stage. I suggest paying with quarters that can immediately be placed into a piggy bank that doesn't need to be broken open. Clear piggy banks are better than opaque because kids love to look at their money. Your little one can use the quarters to buy things from candy machines and rides on coin operated horses and cars in front of grocery stores. No consequences for not completing a task.

  • Same as two years old, plus...
  • Feed the pets
  • Put clean laundry on clothes hangers
  • Set the table with dishes, cups, and flatware that Mommy/Daddy give you
  • Put your dirty dishes on the kitchen counter (you don't want them throwing them into the sink or messing with the dishwasher yet)
  • Wipe off the table
  • Make your bed (don't expect it to look pretty)
  • Put things in the trash