When it comes to teaching a young child to do chores, think small and keep it fun. Children love to imitate what they see “big people” doing, so capitalize on that as you show them how to participate in daily family life. Keeping sticker charts can also be a good way to build good chore time habits.
1. Start With The Bed
An easy beginning chore is to have a preschooler make their bed when they get up. Start by showing them how to pull up and smooth the sheet and blanket. Here’s a good tip from organicauthority.com: for a while have them watch you do it but make sure you give them something to do too, like adding the pillows or stuffed toys back once the bed is made.
2. Sweep the Kitchen Floor
This one is especially effective if you can find a child-sized broom at a toy center or hardware store. The right sized broom will make it easier for a three or four year old to learn to sweep. Start by giving them a small corner of the floor that’s their particular area to clean.
3. Helping to Set the Table
A preschool aged child may not be ready to lay a full place setting, especially heavy plates and glasses, but he can help set the table as soon as he’s tall enough to reach it. Following behind a parent or sibling and laying napkins and silverware can be a good beginning.
4. Sorting the Laundry
This chore can really feel like a game! Give easy tasks first, like pulling all the socks from the clean basket and having them match them in pairs. Eventually they will graduate to helping fold towels or to putting away, in well-marked drawers, folded clothing items you give to them.
5. Wiping Down Counters
This is another easy chore to teach, though you will likely want to get the sponge wet for children at first, so they don’t end up sopping too much water on surfaces.
The key to teaching any of these chores is repetition and patience. Make sure the chores are age-appropriate, keeping directions simple, modeling how to do things and not rushing in to correct or do things for the child are all effective ways to help preschool age children make chore time a happy habit.