A Beginner’s Chore List


Last weekend, my husband and I were cleaning the house. Not our normal “pick up all the random laundry around the house and sweep the floors,” but the deep cleaning that we do to prepare for company (He was hosting a draft party).

We are blessed that our home has a separate, dedicated playroom that connects to our living room for our daughter.  She is excellent at putting her toys back in that room when she is done playing so the shared parts of our home remain toy free, but she is not so great at keeping it organized.  


While I was cleaning the rest of her house, I directed her to clean her playroom.  She has done it many times before, and while I got some sass from her that day, typically she is eager to help with the household chores.  (What I didn’t mention… She told me she wasn’t cleaning and promptly called my mother to come over and help her.  Nana dropped everything and came to her rescue.)

That episode made me start thinking about making an official chore list for her so that she continues to develop the sense of accountability that is already innate in her.  At 3.5 years old, Evelyn’s current chores are:

  1. Putting toys back into her playroom when she is done playing with them.  While I don’t actually expect her to keep the playroom clean, I do expect her to assist me in maintaining organization.
  2. Making sure that our dog has food and water before we go to bed each night.
  3. Helping me with the dishes (though this always creates way more of a mess, it is her favorite chore).
  4. Help fold the towels.
  5. Control the dustpan when I sweep.
  6. Get the mail.

I am sure there are more things that I have her assist with in our everyday life, but these are the things that if I were to start doing without her, she would get upset and tell me that was her job.  I love that she expects to be a part of our everyday housekeeping and familial responsibilities.

It is rewarding to me to see the pride she feels when she completes a chore.  Last week, after cleaning her playroom (again with Nana’s help) she just ran around singing to herself that, “she did it, she did it!”


How old is your child and what are their chores?

Do you have a set chore list or do you just include them in whatever you are doing?


  1. We may not call it chores- to me that has some negative connotations for me personally. But since “day one” we have expected our daughter to contribute on all household routines. In the beginning I envisioned having lots of consistency with our days and the house routine, but have since given that up. However when it is time to clean anything – all daily messes especially hers our daughter is expected to help in whatever way she can. This way she sees and learns the process of any routine from beginning to end. I can add layers of complexity to her part depending on what she is able to achieve. And what is really great is most of the time we can make games out of it.

    For instance right now it is easier for her to pick up random toys if I identify it and give her directions to where it is. So we are practicing directions which are also opposites ( left, right, up down, over under, etc…). Also for toys she has specific bins for specific toys that help keep organization clear and consistent). That way my directions can be consistent. [please pick up your tea party set and put it in the red box]. Also now we can be even more consistent with the concept “when you are done with that toy or book to put it back where it belongs”.

    She always has the job of taking her hamper back to her laundry ( lightweight Ikea hamper about as big as her). Her main “responsibility” with laundry is handing me clothes when loading the washer. We are working on the next “layer” now : sorting colors from whites right now…) When she is interested in folding, will add that in of course. And if it weren’t HOT Texas, I would have hung a clothes line outside for her to “wash” and hang things with clothes pins ( like washcloths and tea towels to dry).

    Dishes/Dishwasher – depending on how she feels she has volunteered to help empty and put dirties in over the last year. But what she views her job as is getting the detergent down from the “baby proof shelf ” (LOL), flipping the top open and pouring into the little “box” ( we use a non- toxic/phosphate free soap, but still practice how not to touch and not to taste etc….).
    She knows how to take her ” sippies ” to the sink and put them in when she is done. Any plates or bowls (all plastic) at her little table she clears ( without my asking) because she’s seen our setting that example with the big table.

    My latest project is to have her “arrange” flowers in flower vases with flowers from our front yard. She gets to look at her creation all week on the kitchen table.

    She tries/does a lot of things for and with us and we want to let her do as much as possible. We believe it will foster a sense of pride and self confidence while living the example of “others” if she 1) wanted to do it in the first place and 2) witnessed her achievement herself. We expect it will have lasting effects through school career and life in general.

  2. My twin boys are 22 months old. They vacuum, sweep and wipe things down with water and a cloth. They take their dishes to the sink and take their trash to the can. They love being big boys and helping me. We are working on their playroom responsibilities but so far one picks up and the other dumps out. I do have designated boxes, bins and drawers for their stuff so it is a work in progress. In the next few months I plan to start the chart and stickers routine so they can “see” their progress and get rewards.


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