When you think of chores that kids can do, your mind naturally gravitates towards teenager-appropriate chores like taking the trash out, doing the laundry or taking your dog for a walk.
But what chores can a 3 year old do you might ask?
Well actually there are a number of appropriate chores for a 3 year old, including both household chores and also helping out in the garden or even when you’re out of home.
There are a few things to remember when involved a toddler in these tasks, such as not expecting perfection, the occasional breakage and perhaps the need for mom and dad to let’s say re-do some of their work!
But with the right attitude and some patience, giving your three year old some chores or jobs to do around the home can be well worth it.
So to go with our list of chores for 4-6 year olds, let’s take a look at some of the most age-appropriate jobs, errands and tasks that toddlers can do.
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15 Appropriate Chores For 3 Year Olds
Believe it or not, children as young as 3 can indeed do chores!
In fact, in the list below you might even find some appropriate chores for 2 year olds depending on your child.
According to experts, doing household chores allows your child to feel needed, useful and enables them to feel like they are making a contribution.
Here are 15 things your little one can do to help mom and dad out:
- Setting The Table: Especially items that are not fragile like cutlery and napkins.
- Clearing The Table: Again, anything other than fragile items should be fine.
- Cooking: Think stirring and adding ingredients to a bowl.
- Tidying Their Room & Toys: Especially if you give clear instructions (more on this later).
- Hanging Up Laundry: This one will probably need supervising, which we’ll cover shortly!
- Putting Their Clean Laundry Away: A particularly useful chore as they’ll need to do this their entire lives.
- Helping With Grocery Shopping: Especially if your local grocery store has mini trolleys they can push around.
- Putting Shopping Away: Often one of the most fun chores for a young child.
- Dusting: Just watch out for fragile items.
- Wiping Surfaces: If using antibacterial wipes you might want to supervise this task.
- Feeding Pets: Helping take care of the family pet can be a wonderful way to teach children responsibility.
- Sweeping The Floor: If you don’t have one already, consider buying a small dustpan and brush to help with this chore.
- Handheld Vacuuming: A surprisingly easy and very useful chore that three year olds can easily do. If you don’t already have a handheld vacuum cleaner these are well worth considering given how easy they make cleaning the kitchen floor after meals.
- Watering Plants & Flowers: Ideally outdoors in case they make a mess or drop the watering can.
- Raking Leaves: As with sweeping floors, a smaller and lighter age-appropriate brush will make the task much easier for your toddler.
Top Tip: Nowadays for around $20 you can buy cleaning sets that contain a broom, mop, brush and dust pan.
What To Consider When Giving A 3 Year Old Chores
Give Specific Instructions
“Tidy your room” is a very different request to “put all your books back on the bookshelf”, and understandably the second instruction is more likely to result in a positive response than the first.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Chances are your three year old isn’t going to be able to do the task to as high a standard as an older child, so parents need to accept that the chore probably won’t be done perfectly.
Supervise Difficult Tasks
Things like carrying a half-full watering can or hanging clean laundry on a cloths rack aren’t the easiest of tasks for a small child, so it’s important for parents to supervise such jobs and to offer assistance when needed.
Other tasks like cleaning their toys are easier and safer, so don’t feel like all chores need to be supervised however.
Don’t Offer Rewards
You want your child to feel like they are helping out because it’s their contribution for living in the house.
For this reason it’s a good idea not to offer children rewards for doing chores, particularly because they may come to expect them each time in the future.
Remember To Praise Your Child
We all like to be acknowledged and praised when we’re doing a good job, and your son or daughter is no different!
This will create positive momentum and a good attitude – two things that are key to getting children to successfully do jobs around the house.
Finally, an interesting point that child psychologists make is that parents should be consistent in their words and actions.
For example, your child might believe that if they don’t do a task straight away, someone else might do it instead.
This sneaky tactic often works and is clearly something you want to avoid, so make sure you regularly following through on what you say!