Should I Make My Preschooler Do Chores?

by Cindi Pennington on February 20, 2017

Should I make my preschooler do chores?.jpg

Sometimes a parent is tempted to do a chore because they can do it faster or better themselves. Other times they feel guilty about having their children do chores because they just want them to enjoy being kids.

Interestingly, a survey by Braun Research in 2014 found that of 82% of parents who said they had regular chores growing up, only 28% ask their children to do any.  So, what’s the scoop on chores?

Is there any value to having your children participate in household chores? Should you make your preschooler do chores?

How are chores beneficial for my preschooler?

The benefit to your child doing chores is abundant! Consider this list....

  1. More successful as adults
  2. Hands-On-Movement Will Help The Child With Gross And Fine Motor Skills
  3. Children Who Have Chores Learn To Work Well With Others
  4. Chores Will Teach Your Child About Delayed Gratification
  5. Chores Give Children A Purpose
  6. It Teaches Self Discipline
  7. Teaches responsibility
  8. Teaches organizational skills
  9. Teaches problem solving
  10. Gives them a sense of self-reliance, self-confidence, accomplishment
  11. Gives them a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves
  12. Prepares them for independence


Not convinced yet?

Researcher Marty Rossman, of the University of Mississippi who collected data for over 25 years said, “the best predictor of young adults’ success in their mid-20’s was that they participated in household tasks when they were three or four.”

Where do I start?

  • Start young
  • Use a chart with a picture of the chore for pre-readers
  • Give your child age-appropriate tasks

Chore check sheet.jpg

What chores are appropriate for preschoolers?

Here are some terrific suggestions from the University of Arkansas (they provide age-appropriate chores for ages 2 to teens).

Ages 2+
  • Put toys in designated place (toy box, cloest)
  • Throw away trash
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper, basket
  • Move clothes to dryer with help
  • Fold small laundry items
  • Carry own dishes to sink
  • Pull weeds
  • Dress/undress themselves
  • Clean baseboards, window sills, chair seats


Ages 4+
  • Clean up own messes
  • Feed pets
  • Straighten bed and bedroom
  • Put away dishes, flatware
  • Set, clear table
  • Prepare simple snack
  • Use dust mop, floor sweeper
  • Wipe low surfaces with cleanser
  • Gather trash from smaller cans to larger can
  • Water plants
  • Sort and fold clothes


Final chore tips:

  • Demonstrate how you want the chore done, give specific instruction and do it with them a few times
  • Inspect what you expect
  • Be patient, they will make mistakes. Failure to do a task right, is an opportunity to learn and grow. This lesson alone will prepare them for real life.
  • Don’t ever make chores a punishment!
  • There are different opinions on this, be consistent, but don’t tie the chore to allowance. Let them earn money by doing “extra” chores.
  • As their skill level increases, teach them new chores
  • Thank them for being a helper!
  • “Divide and conquer” is a great way for families to function smoother and with less stress. When your child sees that they play a critical role, it makes them feel important and gives them a sense of accomplishment!

New Call-to-action