My twin daughters are bright and capable individuals, and as such, are more than able to help out around the house, something I believe is their obligation as a member of this family. But, what are regular chores for three year olds? After some experimenting, we’ve figured out what our three year old twins can regularly help out with, and why we think it is so important.
I was raised in a home where my mother selflessly, tirelessly, did almost all of the household duties herself, despite bearing nine children! Often I could be rewarded monetarily for doing a regular chore, such as unloading the dishwasher for a week, but it was never consistently enforced over time (like many things in my childhood home). And, honestly, while I loved not having to complete chores before going out to play as a kid, I do feel it did me and my siblings a disservice. I want my kids to learn how things are done. I want them to know how to clean, cook, organize, and clean up, and well before they leave for college or get married. I also believe that children should understand that their role in the home is not one of a self-serving laziness. Children are part of a family unit, and as such need to understand that we are all responsible to each other. Chores establish the value of work and familial responsibility.
I have found that my children are capable of at least helping with the following:
Regular chores for three year olds (Unassisted)
- Clearing the table of their dishes and putting them in the sink, on the counter top, or in the dishwasher.
- Wiping down the table and chairs with a wash cloth.
- Folding towels
- Hanging up shirts
- Pairing and rolling socks together
- Picking up toys
- Washing and bathing themselves
- Brushing their teeth
- Taking out boxes and small bags of trash
- Hanging up coats
- Putting shoes away
- Putting folded pants, socks, and panties in drawers
- Dressing themselves
- Making their bed
- Setting the table
Regular chores for three year olds (Assisted)
- Cleaning windows
- Switching laundry from the washing machine to the dryer
- Vacuuming (depends on the vacuum)
- Cooking prep
- Washing their hair
Expectations for Chores for Three Year Olds
In our home there is no master chore list (our household chore list printable is really more for my husband and I) nor any rewards (money, stickers, or a treat) as payment for completing them. I want my children to understand that they are to do these things because it helps out our family, keeps our home clean and organized, and that it is their responsibility to do so. But, here’s the thing – I do not demand these regular chores for three year olds be completed perfectly, or each day. I don’t want perfection from them as they fold the towels, nor do I demand they redo something if it isn’t up to standard (thank God I’m not a perfectionist!). I may encourage them when they get frustrated or take time to specifically show them how something is done; but, otherwise, I let their best suffice. And sometimes it means I pick up the slack. And that’s okay too. The great thing about three year olds doing chores though is that they generally are willing to at least try something.
How do you encourage your children to do chores? What are they?