CHORES for One to Three Year Olds!

Let me just say that I wish someone had told me WHEN MY OLDEST WAS A BABY that I needed to train my children how to help mommy around the house. Now I've figured it out and the third time is a charm so with my youngest child I know exactly what to do and when to do it! Maybe I can help you out BEFORE you get to that point! :0) 

ONE YEAR OLD:  This is when it starts! 

I teach them how to pick up their toys and put them in the toybox - encouragement and excitement about completing the 2-3 toy pickup is the key here! It's exciting and happy to pick up toys! 

When they learn to walk - dirty clothes go to the hamper. As soon as you take their dirty clothes off - send them with the clothes to the hamper. This works well for dirty diapers in the trash too - just keep an eye on the trash and make sure precious toys don't get thrown away too!


"Clear the table" bring the perishables to me at the refrigerator - for example the ketchup and the sealed boxes of leftovers etc. Eventually as they learn to be more careful they should be able to bring their plates to the counter and other dishes to the counter. 

Cody has the Pillows and his Doggy Chore DOWN! 
Put their pillows and stuffed animals on their bed after I make the bed. But they are there with me, watching me make it - helps them know how to do it when they are old enough to do it! 

Dirty clothes go in the hamper as soon as THEY take them off! In other words, teach your children how to dress themselves - this will help a LOT when it comes to potty training too! I learned that one the hard way.

Directed Pickup: "Cody, put the Legos in the Lego box!" "Cody put your shoes in the shoe box!" This is when you are RIGHT there watching and guiding their pickup skills. (Works perfectly for nursing moms!)  At this age, they can get frustrated easily if the job seems too big or too widespread. Cleanup needs to be fun while it still can so if they get frustrated teach  them to ask for help and help them do it and choose something else next time. When needed, I clean the rest of the room but they are there with me being directed their own tasks. This way, they see how mommy is doing it and learn how to do it themselves. 


Helping their younger siblings do the things they already know how to do. I have been AMAZED to watch my oldest help teach my son how to do things. It helps them develop responsibility for each other too! 

Make their bed by themselves. Yes, it can be done! Start out slow and gradual and teach them how to find the corners of the bedding and pull it up to meet the corners of the bed. Then smoothing lumps, etc. KEY: DO NOT FIX IT AFTER THEY HAVE DONE IT! They already know how mommy makes their bed by watching and seeing you do it. They know the standard and someday they will make it the way you want it made. Don't hurt their feelings by "fixing" it when they have done what they can. 

Scrape food scraps off plates and clear the table. This was quite interesting when my daughter first started doing this. We had plates in the trash, silverware in the trash and everything! But it wasn't long before she learned how to balance the plate and scrape the food and put the dishes on the counter for me. I was right there putting them in the dishwasher and eventually she was putting them in the dishwasher for me. 

Four Years Old and Making MOMMY's BED! TA-DA!
Cleaning their room. Because Aimee has been picking up toys since she was one and she learned by watching me and by my directions how to pick up toys and where they go - this is possible! However, if the mess is too large and it isn't maintained every day you may need to help. AND THAT'S OKAY! Teach them to always ask for help if they need it. 

Now I have a FOUR YEAR OLD and I'm still figuring it all out! Right now I'm teaching her how to make mommy's bed and how to put clean dishes away but I'm sure there is more that my four-year-old can learn how to do that we're still figuring out!

Tomorrow I will be posting about Penny Jobs - these are EXTRA chores (but we don't call them chores because you don't get PAID to do chores - you get paid for working a JOB!) around the house that they receive a reward!

Linked Up Here! 
Do you have a chore system for your household? 

In HIS Grip, 


  1. these are all wonderful suggestions. One additional word...BE CONSISTENT! I was not, especially with bed making and now they are ages 11, 10 and 10, 8 and 7 and I have to keep on them constantly to tidy up, put clothes where they belong, make their bed, etc. Definitely start early, because it's so much easier than fixing a problem later

  2. Terrific post! I believe so many parents are missing the importance of chores, and the character building that comes from them.

    I agree with Jen, CONSISTENCY is SO important!

    And I'd have to say...I never thought to create my own personal bed-maker. ;0) haha! Love it! I have a Jacob enjoys stripping sheets off beds for washing.

    Keep up the great work Momma!

    Much Love & Blessings,

  3. Great Post! Our oldest daughter is 4. She is responsible for four chores. Feeding and watering the dog, making her bed, picking up toys, and brushing her teeth. I made a little sheet with pictures and checkboxes, and laminated it. It hangs on the wall, and she checks off her chores as they are done. She also helps me get the eggs and feed the goats and chickens. She knows she can't do anything else until she gets her chores done. I agree with the other ladies, consistancy is so important. The chore system you use isn't nearly important as the consistancy. I've learned this the hard way. I think I've told you before, but I LOVE your blog! As a fellow Pastor's wife, it is such a blessing! I'm looking forward to your post about penny jobs. :)

  4. Thank you ladies! You are sooooo encouraging to me and quite the blessing to me yourselves! Thanks for encouraging me to be consistent with my kiddos - I'm definitely learning this as I go! Probably by the time my kids are 20 I'll have it DOWN! ;0)

  5. LOVE this! I have been working with my 15 month on the toys, but love the idea of doing the dirty clothes too.


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