View Full Version : What chores/ responsibilities does your 3 yo have?
12-28-2011, 08:21 PM
I'd like to get DD started doing some regular 'chores'... at least related to her self, such as emptying her plate into the garbage can when she's done; putting her dishes & utensils in the sink; putting her sippy cup back in the fridge; putting away toys & books after using them; possibly putting clean laundry into her drawers.
What do you have your own 3 (or 2 or 4) year old do on a daily or weekly/ monthly basis? Any idea when you might start giving an allowance (if you plan to do that)?
Thanks for sharing! :)
12-28-2011, 08:29 PM
DD1 is three. She helps me straighten up by throwing things away, picking items up and putting them in their places. Helps move things for vacuuming. She also puts her plate cup, etc in the sink after meals. I try have her put away activities when she finishes: ie. puzzles, legos, crayons, but we are still working on her doing it without being told.
ETA: I don't feel my children should earn allowance for helping care for their home. I never did. Completing age-appropriate household chores was expected and appreciated by my parents.
12-28-2011, 08:51 PM
I don't have a 3 yo right now, but when DS1 and DD were that age some things they did that I can think of: (these weren't all done every day obviously)
sort sliverware (big/little spoons, butter knives, forks) for the silverware drawer
Put kid glasses/plates in the kid cabinet (low cabinet kids have free access to to get their own stuff)
dust buster corners of rooms and foyer hallway where dog hair collects
help fold washcloths and cloth napkins
help put away clothing (mostly stuff like underwear, socks, and pajamas in the pajama drawer. We did the more complex stuff. By 4 if not earlier, both kids put away the bulk of their clothing (hanging up, etc.)
clear dinner dish to sink/counter
wipe with water/vinegar mix (front of appliances, etc.)
help clean room
straighten shoe shelves at back door (at least get the shoes up on the shelves)
swiffer, sweep, rake leaves, etc. with child sized items
crumb table (montessori catalogs sell crumbing sets)
water plants with supervision (garden)
dirty clothes in hamper
eta: Hang up coat on coat hook
help with trash (we use plastic bags from stores to line the bathroom wastebaskets. Just gather up the handles and bring to the big trash can.)
by 4 they were also helping to set the table, doing more cleaning of their room, putting larger (majority) percentage of their wash away, helping fold hand towels/dish towels as well as the washcloths and napkins, wipe off dinner table, wipe off the kitchen counter, helping to give food/water to the dog and cat with supervision, helping to take sheets off of their bed (I put sheets back on for them), helping more of the time w/ putting kid dishes/cups away (larger percentage of the kid stuff), more help with the garden, etc. DD recently turned 5 and she and DS1 (7 yo) can clean up the playroom pretty much on their own now, even when quite messy. They've been able to handle most of it for at least 6 months now.
We don't tie allowance to chores. Chores are not optional. (eta: we didn't do an allowance with the kids until they were almost 5 IIRC.
For a young 3 yo I might do things like give them a small pile of books to put away while I put a larger number away. I might have them fold 5 waschcloths, while I fold the rest of the towels and washcloths kwim?
12-28-2011, 08:52 PM
DD dresses herself and puts dirty clothes in her hamper. She does other stuff on request: cleans up her toys when asked (sometimes), washes the table, 'helps' me cook, sets the table. We do not reward any of this with money.
I know parents who use a financial reward system such as giving the child the a popsicle stick whenever they're especially good, and 5 popsicles can be exchanged for a quarter. This is useful especially because you can threaten to take a stick away. I prefer this system because giving $ for chores, down the road, make it seem like chores are optional.
12-28-2011, 08:56 PM
Sprog helps with certain parts of food prep sometimes: she mixes dressing and spins salad dry. She can wipe up her spot and carry certain non-breakable items to set on the table.
She also helps remove the corkscrew from wine bottles.:bag. (she doesn't get any wine but does collect the corks.)
She has some toys with pieces (like duplos) and the sets get stored in small plastic boxes. She loves the boxes so we're starting to have her put one set away before opening the next box.
All of these are real casual and never mandatory at this point, since she's only 2.
12-28-2011, 09:01 PM
Forgot to add: our plan is to have most things expected as part of the family. "Ya wanna eat....well you're gonna help with dinner" sort of thing.
But we also want to teach some money skills and we aren't planning to just give allowance for nothing - that seems to miss a teaching opportunity. So we'll most likely have one special task a day or 5 a week that she can choose to do to earn a dollar a job. Or maybe an age-appropriate list she can choose off of. I'm not sure when that would start - do you just get a sense when a child starts understanding the concept of work and money? I dont know at this point.
I think one aspect about paying for work is carefully choosing which tasks are paid (optional) and which are simply required. We'll be giving this some thought to decide what message we want to send.
12-28-2011, 09:16 PM
My 4.5 DS does/can do the following:
gets dressed himself
puts clean laundry away (which I have folded--he can fold some, but I usually do all 3 kids' at once so usually fold for him)
sets the table (placemats, cloth napkins, silverware--I hand him plates)
cleans up all his toys before quiet rest time (1 pm) and bedtime (ideally every day!;))
swiffer dusts (occasionally)
loves to help me scrub the bathtubs
cleans windows (I put a sock over their hands and they spray and wipe until drops are gone)
clears dishes and puts straight in dishwasher
takes off/puts on coat/shoes by himself and puts them back in the closet (he still needs help tying his shoes and zipping his coats)
puts dirty clothes in hamper in his closet at bedtime
put dirty clothes into the washing machine (if I've put detergent in and started the water)
pull clean clothes out of the dryer and bring the laundry basket inside
2.5 DD is learning to do most of the above.
She's not strong enough to vacuum and can't reach most of her drawers so only puts PJs and pants away. She whines more about putting books/toys away and gets away with doing less because DS ends up finishing the clean-up while she is whining (need to work on this!)
She also needs help with some clothes/coats/shoes, depending on the type, and she doesn't get as much practice at some things like setting the table because DS loves to do it.
I think the biggest thing that has helped us has been incorporating chores into the daily routine--of course the kids clear their plates because that is what you do when you ask to be excused from the table; of course you put your clothes right into the hamper in the closet as soon as you take them off, etc. My parents were not as good about instilling these habits into us, and I had to teach myself to be a tidy person in college:) Right now, my older two LOVE to help and think chores are "fun"...I'm going to try to keep that up as long as possible!
We don't do allowance yet...don't plan to tie them to chores.
12-28-2011, 09:17 PM
DS has to take his plate to the sink, and empty it before hand in the trash if necessary. He also has to take his dirty clothes to the hamper when he changes (he dresses himself). He has to clean up his toys before bedtime.
That's what he does daily, on occasion he'll help me (he offers, I don't ask) put groceries away, clean up the house (he likes sweeping and dusting, and vacuuming with the ErgoRapido), he likes to help wash dishes, though that's usually kind of messy so I avoid it.
We're starting to ask him to make his bed, but it's hard for him with the bad rails in the way.
I have no idea when we'll start with allowance or how we'll handle it. I think he's still too young. I also don't want him to do chores just because of the reward, I emphasize responsibility a lot, and talk to him about how we're a family and we all have to contribute in some way.
12-28-2011, 09:27 PM
Let me preface by saying I think this is very individual to the child.
Laurel is 2.5 Her main chore is putting away her toys when done with them. And she does need some help. Sometimes she will make her bed, but I don't require it. Only Dora is required to make her bed at the moment, and she is 6. Arwyn will do it when reminded, and right now she is all about doing what Dora does. If she is home alone with me, usually after school drop off, she helps me make bake.
All 3 kids, including Laurel, also take turns helping me walk Shep in the evenings. They hold his poop bag after I clean it up. And when we get back they feed him, then put him in his crate and give him a cookie.
I have only recently been instituting specific chores. It really depended on what I could see they were really capable of. This summer I plan to start teaching them to help me clean house. I fully accept that for a while the house will get really wet, but not really clean. I will continue to use my cleaning ladies until we have it down:p
12-28-2011, 09:47 PM
Yeah, I totally wasn't planning on doing an allowance anytime soon, but was wondering how to handle it and what age to start if it is something you do. My siblings and I didn't get an allowance growing up; my mom always said that she would just give us money if we needed/ asked for it (I almost never did), but expected us to help around the house without an allowance. However, being the youngest and only girl, I know that I got special treatment and ended up not doing a lot of chores when I was asked, and I don't want to do the same with my kids. ;) I helped my mom with a lot of meal prep, helped with my aging grandma, helped with laundry, did almost everything for our pets, etc., but I was bad about cleaning my room and taking out the garbage.
Anyhow, DD does take off her coat & shoes & puts her shoes away (can't reach the coat pole to hang it back up), and sets the table. I'd like to get her more involved in general cleaning (spraying windows, feeding cat, etc.) so it's not a struggle when she's older. I also need to make our house more kid-friendly so she can help and put away her own things more easily.
Thanks for the good ideas!
12-28-2011, 10:02 PM
DS is 3.5. Each morning, he is responsible to:
Throughout the day, he also clears his dishes after meals and picks up toys when asked. He loves to help put laundry away, set the table, feed the cat and help unload the dishwasher. He hates (but is supposed to) hanging up his coat and putting away his shoes when we come in from outside. He *loves* to be helpful!
12-28-2011, 10:33 PM
My almost 4yr old DS takes his plate/cup/utensil to the sink after meals. He also helps me vacuum and puts his clean clothes away. Oddly, he likes to dust(spray pledge and wipe) but he doesn't do that great of a job;) so I try to do that when he's at school.
Growing up, my dad said that if he gave us an allowance for doing things around the house then he was going to charge us rent;).
12-28-2011, 11:11 PM
It's interesting that so many people don't link work to money in any way. I'm honestly curious, because I haven't had a kid at the right age yet:
If you never link their spending money to work in any way...how do you teach the concept of earning money? I know kids do need some experience with spending money and I really don't want Sprog to just feel entitled to cash.
I'm seriously curious because like i said, we don't know what we'll do yet. I agree that I never want to present family responsibilites as something optional or something you do for money. But i have assumed that we'd set up special projects every week as a way to earn spending money. If she refuses...fine, no spending money. (Family responsibilities wouldn't ever be optional and wouldn't be paid.)
12-28-2011, 11:17 PM
We are also working on ours doing things consistently without being told...that may NEVER happen LOL. However, they have surprised me just in the past few days by putting their shoes away in the shoe basket AND their socks in the hamper right when they take them off - BY THEMSELVES!!! With no reminding!!! I love it:)
AND - every now and then they will bring me their dishes from the dining table without me asking! I love it:)
Most of the time, though - we have to make them. Chores are usually just cleaning up their own toys. And we have to help them with it to direct them where things should go, otherwise their idea of "cleaning up" is NOT the same as our idea. I also try to take advantage of any moment when they WANT to help (i.e. they see me folding laundry and want to "help") and I let them no matter how much I know that they are just creating more work for me. In fact this afternoon they "helped" me clean up the entire backyard - lots of sweeping and pushing leaves into areas that needed mulching. OK, so they dumped a bucket of leaves into the pool, but they tried and it was fun and we (I) got it done!
The thing that helps most...heap on the praise when they do happen to do a chore without any prompting. It isn't hard (because honestly it will make you so surprised that praise will automatically start spilling out of your mouth haha). That positive reinforcement goes a long way - I can see their faces light up when they see how happy they have made me!
As for an allowance, I don't believe in giving allowances for household chores. We all live here, we all need to pitch in to keep the house neat, clean, and a nice place to be.
12-29-2011, 12:10 AM
DS is 3. He takes his breakfast dishes to the sink (and puts any garbage in the can) and puts his milk cup in the fridge. He sorts silverware from the dishwasher into the drawer, puts his own (already folded) laundry away, and puts his dirty clothes in the hamper before bedtime. He helps clean up all his toys before bedtime (and often in between activities if too much stuff is out). He sometimes helps set the table for dinner by putting napkins and forks out. After dinner, he often helps wash the table (spray water from a bottle and wipe with a cloth) and sweep (he's not really very helpful with this one, but he likes to help hold the dust pan and take it over to the garbage). He does these things on a regular basis, but some days chooses not to do them. For now, that's ok with us. The only one we really insist on is cleaning up his toys. We haven't figured out the allowance thing yet either, so it's always interesting to hear what other people do.
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