10 Chores for 4 & 5 Year Olds

Want to help your child learn responsibility? Here are 10 chores that your 4 or 5 yr. old should easily be able to do by themselves. Includes helpful tips!

Chores for 4 & 5 Year Olds

 

I’m a big fan of children having regular chores.  Not only does it help them learn important skills, it also teaches them other things like being responsible, how to have a good work ethic and they experience the satisfaction of completing a job.

We recently have been working at getting our five year old, Logan, to consistently do more chores around our place.  And while he has been doing most of these things since he was 4, there are a couple that we only added more recently.  However, they are all things that he could have easily done at age 4 as well.

I figured that if you are like me, you are always looking for inspiration and ideas when it comes to parenting.  And so, in the hope that someone else might be inspired, I thought that I’d share our current list of the 10 chores we are having him do.

But before I dive into the list of chores, first let me share a few important tips: 

* Don’t expect your child to understand how to do something without being shown how to do it.  Take the time to explain what you expect and also to show them exactly what you want done.

* Be patient.  They are going to mess up when they are learning and will probably need reminding of how to do their jobs well as they go along too.  It’s good for me to remind myself that our son is only five- I can’t expect him to do things as well as an adult!

* Praise your child liberally.  Even if the job wasn’t done perfectly but you can tell they were doing their best, shower them with encouragement.  I find that the more I thank our son for doing his job well, the better of a job he seems to do.  Funny how that works!

10 Chores for Four and Five Year Olds

(I probably should clarify that he only does several of these chores each day- not all 10!  We usually take into account what other things we have going that day and go from there.)

1.  Make bed
While our son can’t do this perfectly, I’m amazed at how good of a job he can do!  At any rate, when he’s done with it, it looks so much better than a totally unmade bed.  And with practice, he’s actually learned to get the quilt spread out nice and evenly.

2.  Set the table
When Logan was learning to set the table we didn’t stress putting each piece of silverware correctly since it was pretty confusing for him.  But as he got used to his job, it became required that he put each piece in it’s proper place.  He also typically puts on the water, any condiments we need, serving spoons etc.

Because I wasn’t thrilled about having our dishes getting broken all the time, we decided to skip the pottery and instead go with Corelle dinnerware.  I love that it’s lightweight, doesn’t chip and is practically unbreakable.  Even so, we’ve had a few glasses and other things get broken along the way.  If you want to teach your children to help, it’s really important to remember that this is just part of the learning process.  (I’m reminding myself here too!)  And if you do have pottery, I’d suggest having your child just take one or two plates to the table at a time to help minimize breakage.

3.  Clear the table
It is our 5 yr. old’s responsibility to help clear the table of dishes and leftover food.  My husband or I often give him a bit of help, but there are time that he clears everything by himself- and he does a great job too!  Instead of just letting things on the kitchen counter, he is also expected to put away all that he can, which most times is everything but the leftover hot food.

4.  Empty the dishwasher
When Logan first started doing this, he was allowed to remove only one glass out at a time.  Otherwise, he would get careless, crash them together and well, you can imagine the results!  As he learned to be more careful, he became capable of taking out two glasses without any catastrophes.  We also have found it helpful to have a designated spot where he puts the few things that he is not tall enough to put away.

Just a quick note, if you put sharp knives in your dishwasher be sure to remove them before your child gets started!

5.  Move laundry from washer to dryer
To save money, I don’t use our dryer a lot.  But when I do, I often get Logan to move the laundry from the washer over to the dryer.  It’s actually one of his favorite chores!  If I am going to hang laundry out instead of using the dryer I simply have him unload it into my laundry basket instead.

6.  Fold washcloths, rags, underwear and socks
I typically separate these things out from the other laundry and give them to our son to fold.  He can get a little careless with folding the washcloths especially, so we’ve been really working on folding them neatly and evenly.  I think it’s important that children learn to do their jobs well!

7.  Put laundry away
It is our 5 yr. old’s job to put his laundry and his sister’s laundry away.  (She’s too little to help at this point!)  He also takes our laundry and puts it on our bed and often will do the same with the bathroom towels and washcloths since they are located too high for him to reach.

8.  Vacuum
We have a fairly large vacuum but our son can still pretty easily handle it.  Obviously, he does not sweep as thoroughly as I would, but it sure helps keep the house cleaner if I have him vacuum a couple of times a week!

9.  Clean up toys
This is something that Logan has been doing for a couple of years.  I usually like to have him do it before dinner and then he also cleans up before bedtime too.  And sometimes if the mess is getting to me throughout the day I’ll help him do it another time too.  He likes to hurry and try to get the job done, so we’re constantly working at doing it neatly and putting things away nicely instead of just throwing everything haphazardly in the toy box.  (We have various containers that smaller toys go into to help keep it more organized.)

10.  Empty trash
While our kitchen trash is still too bulky for our son to handle, the smaller trash cans scattered around the house are very easy for him to empty.

What chores do you have your 4 and 5 year olds do?  

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Comments

  1. Alyssa says

    One of the chores for my 4 year old is putting shoes on the shoe rack. We have a large family, and there’s a shoe rack at the entrance from the garage. My kids tend to kick off their shoes and pile them in front of the rack, or leave them by the backdoor, etc. So, when my older kids are doing other chores, he gathers shoes, pairs them up, and puts them nicely on the rack. Sometimes he just does it quickly and gets the job done, and other times he likes to arrange them by some rule he makes up, i.e. oldest to youngest, or by color.
    We also assign him chores of helping an older child, such as if the car needs to be emptied out, or the living room picked up after a massive Lego/pattern block/Cuisenaire Rod tornado has hit. It’s been helpful for me to remind the older kids to give our 4 year old a very specific task, such as, “help sort Legos from rods,” instead of, “clean up”. The more vague commands definitely end up with him getting frustrated.
    He is just learning to fold socks and shirts, and finds it fascinating. :) So, I’ll give him a few minutes worth of folding while I’m doing laundry.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      I love how you involve your kids in housework, Alyssa, and how they learn to help their younger brother too. I think that is one of the beauties of a large family! And the shoe thing is a good idea. I keep trying to get my children in the habit of lining theirs up nicely but it’s not been going so well. My 3 1/2 yr. old loves to organize things, so I bet she’d love a job like that!

  2. says

    Great post! My daughter is 4 and is very happy to be given different chores around the house, she loves to vacuum. I totally agree with no expecting perfection. I think at this ages effort is more important. Thank you for sharing.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Yes, it’s so important to focus on the effort that they are giving the job. Sometimes I forget that though! :( And isn’t it so rewarding to see your child learn to enjoy work?

  3. says

    Hi, I have a four year old and I was wondering why you choose to clean up at the end of the day. I’ve been going back and forth if we should clean as we go or just do a big clean at the end of the day like you do. Any advice would be SUPER appreciated!!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Well, it probably is partly just personal preference, Erin! :) But as I mention, we do clean up sometimes throughout the day too. Our routine has changed a little over the years, to work with our stages of life and our children’s personalities. But right now, with our 4 yr. old & 2 yr. old daughter, I usually have them do a clean up either right before or after lunch, just because they tend to be busy and have toys everywhere. (I don’t usually make them pick up every single toy, just the main ones, the main area etc.) Then their 7 yr. old brother helps them clean up before my husband gets home from work, just because I like to have the house looking tidy and welcoming for him and then we do it again before bedtime. I don’t usually have them do it too much more than that, because I’ve found that if they are needing to clean up all the time, they start feeling pretty frustrated. But other children may be different.

      As children get older, I do think it’s great though if they learn to put something away when they are done playing with it. We are constantly working at this with our 4 and 7 year old. For instance, if they get out a game, they are *supposed* to put it away when they are done. (Unfortunately, this still doesn’t happen nearly all the time though! We are still working on it like I said.) This not only keeps things neat and helps them learn the importance of putting things away, it also keeps game pieces from getting lost. Another thing that I’m working at trying to get them in the habit of putting away when they are done playing with it are their little Legos and also markers. My reason for that is obviously the tidy thing, but also because those are items that I don’t really want their little sister to get into unsupervised.

      That’s been our line of thinking, but like I said, a lot of it just comes down to personal preference and what works best for you. Hope that helps!

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