Teaching Young Children Household Chores :: 5 Easy Steps


One of the easiest ways to teach young children responsibility is to teach them to do chores. In addition to responsibility, teaching young children household chores helps them learn self-reliance and competency. When we give young children chores, they learn confidence and they also feel like a part of the team. Pitching in and helping around the house is their first lesson in being a good citizen later in life. 

Parents need to provide the right equipment, help, and guidance to encourage very young children to develop the habit of helping at home. Young children love being with their parents. So chances are, they are hanging around when Mom is busy doing the housework. Many kids, especially younger ones, offer to help. However, moms usually politely decline the help because they can get things done much quicker without the little helpers around.

Parenting experts generally encourage parents to nurture this natural enthusiasm to help. By taking the time to properly prepare for your little assistant and patiently teach children to do things step by step, you continue the process of teaching skills and attitudes about work.

Teaching Young Children Household Chores :: 5 Easy Steps

So, what are the proper steps for teaching young children household chores? Here are five easy steps: 

photo from Canva, used with permission

1. Provide child-sized equipment.

Parents should start by giving children equipment that matches their sizes. Mini-sized brooms, mops, buckets, and gardening tools are available at many department stores, supermarkets, and hardware stores. You may also need stools to help children reach higher places like the kitchen sink. Show the child how to use each piece of equipment properly. Child safety is crucial. Taking the time to show children how to use the equipment is an important step in this process.

2. Break tasks into smaller parts.

What may seem to be a simple task for adults can be complex for young children, so try to break tasks into several small steps. For example, when teaching a child to sweep away some debris on the floor, you might first make a square on the floor with a colored tape to give the child a target for her to sweep the debris to. Then, ask him to use both hands to hold the broom as he sweeps the debris into the square. Next, get him to use a dustpan and a brush to pick up the bits. Then, show him how he needs to hold the dustpan and carefully dump it in the garbage can. Get him to model the steps for you and make corrections as you go along. 

3. Repeat tasks.

Children learn best with practice and repetition. So, it might take them lots of practice to master the art of dusting, sweeping, pouring water into a cup, or washing up. When a child is learning a new skill, it’s important to repeat the steps in the same order as to establish a routine that the children are more likely to remember and replicate when they are doing the tasks on their own.  

4. Help the child whenever needed.

Help the child to help with household chores. Remember, the point is not to turn them into real workers at this stage. Don’t treat these tasks as your child’s job or responsibility. These are the first steps in that direction, but children as young as three aren’t ready to have a chore list just yet.

5. Avoid nagging or criticizing the child.

A young child may be eager to help one minute only to prefer another more interesting activity the next. Don’t despair, and don’t nag. Give it a rest if she’s lost the interest to help. Parents who approach things without nagging, criticisms, and high expectations are more likely to have kids who enjoy helping at home when they grow older.

Young children need help and guidance when they start showing signs of willingness to do household chores. Encourage them by providing them with child-sized equipment, breaking tasks into smaller parts, repeating tasks, helping them when needed, and avoiding nagging or criticisms. Remember that teaching young children household chores is a step towards teaching them to be responsible adults.