Sunday, April 25, 2010

day 115: age appropriate chores for toddlers and preschoolers

“Before I knew it, it was time to set the table for lunch. Josiah and I raced to see who could get done with our jobs first. I slowed down at the end so Josiah could catch up---then I let him win! Mommy took me into her room alone and gave me a million hugs. She said she was so happy that I was learning to see how others feel—and that I make Josiah feel important. I think she’ll probably tell Daddy, and he’ll say, “Jonathan, Mommy told me a good report about you!” I love it when he says that—he always has a big smile on his face and tears in his eyes when he does.”*


Prior to the preschool years, you can set the stage for diligence and enjoyment in helping by allowing your toddler to do some of the following tasks:


1. Dust--with sock on his hand!

2. Pick up toys after play time

3. Put laundry in hamper

3. Set the table

4. Feed the pets—depending on pet type, etc.

5. Make bed—fold blanket in his crib; put books or crib toys in basket

6. Clear table

*Become his own chores:

1. Books in book basket

2. Toys in toy basket

3. Play pen time toys in tub

4. Put napkins or silverware on table at each meal

5. Bath toys in basket after bath

6. Towel in hamper after bath



1. All tasks listed in Toddler Years

2. Water plants

3. Work in yard—child-sized tools are so darling!

4. Straighten his room

5. Straighten the toy room

6. Cook—pint-sized tasks: they love them!

7. Carry in groceries

8. Put some canned or boxed groceries away

9. Wash car

To become his own chores:

1. Unload dishes—we gave this job one rack at a time***

2. Set table

3. Clear table after meal—with an older “partner”

4. Put clothes in hamper each day

5. Put PJ’s in drawer, pj bag, or pillow case each morning

6. Make bed—we taught our little to lie in the bed and pull everything up over his head and roll out of the bed while lifting a corner of the covers, then flatten it out

7. Pick up all trash in a vehicle and put in small plastic bag

8. Pick up trash or sticks in yard

9. Pick up after play

10. Fold and put away dish towels, hand towels, dish cloths, and wash cloths (graduating to full towels by fourth year)

11. Load rinsed dishes into dishwasher

12. Pick up baby toys for sibling

13. Shelf low books

14. Make peanut butter sandwich, bowl of cereal, cheese and crackers, cold meat sandwich

15. Empty bathroom trash cans

16. Personal grooming: teeth and face

17. Match up socks

18. Vacuum—with much instruction and supervision

19. Sweep—again, littles’ tools are irresistible!

20. Clear table after simple meal, such as breakfast or lunch (with a partner at first, then on his own at end of year four)

**If you have been reading PP 365 long, you probably remember that we focused on giving our children entire chores/areas rather than just having them “help” forever….this builds self-esteem, responsibility, and skills; however, in the toddler years, “helping” is what he will primarily do. Anything you can “give” your toddler (i.e. put his books in the basket in the corner of his crib when he wakes up) will help him towards more and more responsibility.

***We used plastic dishes for years and years—and we put the cups, plates, etc. for daily use down in a lower cupboard (where they still are). This made it possible for our littles to learn to unload the dishwasher/dish drainer much earlier. If something went in a higher cupboard, the preschooler just placed it on the counter beneath the cupboard that it went in, and someone else placed it in the cupboard. (This was very few dishes; however, since our daily dishes and our pans were in lower cupboards.)

*For the complete story of “Jonathan’s Journal, follow this link:

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