Participating in Household Chores: How Much Can My Child Do?

From our friends at Black Bear Academy

As any busy family knows, the chores associated with keeping a household running can seem never-ending! The good news is that your child can help! Empowering your child to participate in household chores is a great way to enhance his or her fine motor, gross motor, speech and language, and sensory regulation skills. Performing tasks for the good of the family is also important on a social/emotional level. Allowing your children to take ownership over a set of chores will help build their confidence and pride in contributing to the family. Many children enjoy being a “special helper” or performing chores disguised as “secret missions.”

See below for a sampling of chores appropriate for children (with supervision) at a variety of developmental levels:


1 Year Old:

  • Begins to imitate parents completing household chores, including wiping a table or dragging a toy vacuum across the floor.

2 Years Old:

  • Picks up toys with verbal reminders.
  • Puts his or her dirty clothes in hamper with verbal reminders.
  • Carries items from place to place.

3 Years Old:

  • Helps remove sheets from bed, helps make bed.
  • Waters plants using a spray bottle.
  • Dusts baseboards using a cloth.
  • Dries plastic dishes, cleans up small spills using a towel.

4 Years Old:

  • Prepares simple snack for him- or herself (pours crackers onto plate).
  • Washes his or her hands.
  • Sorts clothes by color (light/dark) for laundry.
  • Refills pet’s food and water bowls with supervision.

5 Years Old:

  • Cleans up play area neatly.
  • Makes a simple sandwich for him- or herself.
  • Sets table, clears table, loads dishes into dishwasher with supervision.


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