Cleaning the toilet, Scrubbing the shower, Washing the clothes, Mopping the entire house and Mowing the lawns...... Yes your right, these are NOT age appropriate chores for children under 5. Apart from the degree of difficulty of these tasks, they are not hygienically appropriate for a toddler and pre schooler either.

Kids should be doing some type of simple chore from about 2 years old because they are more than capable of helpful easy tasks, but also they will enjoy helping you around the home. Children LOVE imitating their parents and adults. Giving them small and easy things to do will benefit them in so many ways, from physical and social development as well as cognitive (thinking) development as they will be concentrating on their task and doing it the best they can.
They get to role play by imitating you and for a toddler and pre schooler this is FUN. It also teaches them to be helpful around the home and learn how to feel achievement once they see how well they have done and they are praised for their wonderful efforts of trying. Try some of these tasks/chores:
  • put the place mats on the table at meal times (putting out their own homemade place mats is even more fun as they can marvel at their wonderful art work).
  • placing the cutlery (not the steak knives) on each place mat- now if they get this wrong, DON'T correct them, as time goes on you can nicely show them which side the fork goes on but does it REALLY MATTER???? If so, then positively show them which side is correct once they have done this a few times already. If you constantly correct your children while they are learning, especially about things that don't really matter or can be fixed as you go, they will lose any motivation to want to help and their self confidence will be depleted.
  • pack the toys and books in their room and play room away.
  • when you are cleaning the house, kids can help by packing away their toys ready for you to vacuum.
  • they can help with wiping down their play area - I give my toddler a cloth and she will wipe down her play area while I clean tables and bench tops.
  • wash kids toys together, 1-2 times a month, we fill the bath a third of the way and drop in some milton tablets or liquid (you can just use washing detergent too) and then we collect all the toys that can be immersed in water and throw them in for a few hours. With the toys that aren't waterproof, we lay down a towel and clean them with warm soapy water and cloths, my toddler loves this SO MUCH. Leave them in the fresh air or sun to dry thoroughly
  • after dinner, they can carry their plate and cup to the sink or possibly pack in dishwasher depending on age and whether you care how the dishwasher is packed.
  • put their dirty clothes in the wash basket.
  • I bought my toddler her own little dustpan and brush (pictured above), so she could "help sweep" when I am sweeping up scraps after meal times.
  • outdoors- our toddler holds the hose to fill up our dogs water and she loves this, we also let her help with the scoops of dry dog food into the bowls