At three years old, children are beginning to develop their independence and sense of responsibility. Giving them age-appropriate chores can help foster these qualities, while also teaching them valuable life skills. Your toddler will beam with pride as they accomplish important tasks that contribute to their household. They'll also understand that a household and family function when everyone helps. Below are a few ideas for age-appropriate chores that your little one will love to help you out with!
- Put Away Toys: A three-year-old can be taught to put away their toys after playing with them. It’s important to start with a few specific toys and then gradually increase the number of toys they are responsible for putting away. You can start by showing them how to put the toy in its proper place and then have them try it themselves. Don't skimp on the verbal praise and enthusiasm when they get their room looking nice and clean. Encouragement for a job well done will help reinforce this behavior!
- Set the Table: Your toddler can also help set the table for meals. You can start by asking them to put a napkin or utensils on the table. As they become more comfortable with the task, they can begin to set the entire table. This can be a great way to teach them about mealtime etiquette and the importance of family meals.
- Water Plants: If you have plants in your home, a three-year-old can help water them. You can give them a small watering can and show them how to fill it up and pour the water onto the plants. This will help them develop a sense of responsibility and care for living things.
- Feed Pets: If you have a pet, there's no doubt that your little one will revel in feeding them. You can show them how much food to give and how to fill the water bowl. Teaching them about animal care and responsibility is a wonderful way to get to practice compassion.
- Wipe Surfaces: A three-year-old can help wipe surfaces like tables or counters after meals. You can give them a damp cloth and show them how to wipe the surface clean. Incorporate a quick lesson about how germs can linger on surfaces so they can understand the "why" behind this task.
- Fold Laundry: Small children can help with folding laundry like washcloths or hand towels. You can start with simple items and then work your way up to more complex items like shirts or pants. Letting them sort socks and match like items is perfect for developing their cognitive skills, as well!
- Sweep Floors: A three-year-old can help with sweeping floors. You can give them a small broom and show them how to sweep up crumbs or other small debris. You'd be surprised how fun small children find this activity!
It’s important to remember that three-year-olds have short attention spans and may need frequent breaks or reminders to stay on task. Chores should be presented as fun and engaging activities rather than chores or obligations. You can also offer incentives or rewards for a job well done, such as a sticker or a special treat!