Do you think 2 or 3 year olds are too young to do chores? I don’t think they are and I’ll tell you why. I will also give ideas of age-appropriate chores for 3 year olds, because it’s not too early to start.
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Toddlers and preschoolers are not too young to start to learn about helping out around the house.
Something that is pretty universal about humans is that we like to be included. Toddlers and preschoolers are no exception.
My daughter is almost three years old and I’ve started including her in simple age-appropriate chores for kids. She loves it and actually gets upset now if I do one of our chores without her.
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Benefits of having chores for 3 year olds
- Your child gets to learn more about how the world works. Kids are so naturally curious (which is why outlet protectors are pretty dang important) and by doing age-appropriate chores alongside you, they get to experience more of the world by doing, not just observing.
- Your 3 year old will feel included in the workings of your home. Even though they’re tiny, they are still members of the household. Participating helps them feel included.
- Age-appropriate chores will help your 3 year old develop motor skills and coordination.
- This is a biggie – it will boost your child’s confidence if they are given age-appropriate chores.
A downside of age-appropriate chores for 3 year olds
Your chores will take approximately 17 times as long.
You will have to practice your patience as things might get spilled, it might seem messier after they finished “cleaning”, or the pace might be molasses-like as they concentrate on their new task. This is all to be expected and not a reason to forget about chores for kids. But you want to start the toddler chores at a time that works for you, not 5 minutes before you have to get out the door.
Examples of chores for 3 year olds
Here are some simple chore ideas for young kids:
- help feed/brush the family pet
- set the table
- clear the table after meals
- match socks and fold laundry
- clean up their own spills
- stack books back on bookshelves
- put dirty clothing into a hamper to be washed
- put away toys
Something I never do with chores for kids
The simple chores I give my daughter are not punishments for anything and she doesn’t get a reward for doing them. This is super important. There are no little treats after doing chores. And she doesn’t get assigned chores as a punishment for difficult/typical toddler behavior. Chores are just part of living in our house. They aren’t assigned, they are just something we all work on since we are all part of the household.
These chores for 3 year olds are meant to be done together with your child. I don’t hand my daughter a mop or the clean laundry and leave her to her chores. We work together, sometimes she is the lead, sometimes I am depending on the chore, her ability, and on her mood that day/hour.
Fun tools to help with chores for 3 year olds
To inspire your little helper, here are a few kids cleaning sets.
This Melissa and Doug pretend play cleaning set includes a squirt bottle, sponge, cloth, scouring brush, squeegee carrying caddy, and more. I would use this set with water in the squirt bottle so my daughter could help clean up little spills.
This dust, sweep, mop set has an organizing stand that holds a broom, duster, mop, dustpan and brush. These are high-quality toys with wooden handles and can by used by your preschooler while you are using the big versions doing family chores together. Their set might be nicer than yours (it’s nicer than mine).
If your 3 year old is not afraid of the vacuum, this vacuum toy is awesome to use with age-appropriate chores. It actually has real suction and can pick up small things like crumbs and bits of paper. My daughter is just starting to get comfortable with the vacuum so this might be something we add.
Melissa and Doug have two magnetic chore charts that are great to use with chores for 3 year olds. They have other magnetic responsibility charts but they are more for older kids. These two below are great for the young’uns. They have rows for simple chores like ‘put clothes in the wash’ and ‘put toys away’. They serve as a fun, visual reminder of some of the age-appropriate chores that your child might help with.
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What kinds of chore ideas would you add? Do you think 3 year olds are too young for age-appropriate chores?