I know my child is a little too young still (21 months) but I was wondering at what age do you start having your child do chores? I have him do basic things like "picking up" his toys so far but that is about it. So my two questions will be at what age do you have your child do chores and what types of chores?

asked 10 Oct '09, 18:50

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

My daughter is 18 months and we regularly encourage her to help pick up her toys. She has also recently started to hand us plates from the dishwasher (they aren't breakable).

I think just the fact that she gets to participate and that we praise her for being a good helper encourages her and improves her self-esteem.

Of course if she gets bored and walks off, we let that happen also. She is only one and her distracted nature is to be expected I think.


answered 10 Oct '09, 19:41

MrChrister's gravatar image

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Yeah, we do the same, ours is 16 months. He has a big bucket of Large building blocks and dumps them out to play. when its time for bed we sing a little "Clean up, clean up" song and after a couple of days he started to pitch in. Now its out of habit and he hums the song on his own....

(10 Oct '09, 20:35) Jay

I also might have passed my OCD down the family tree, because my daughter likes to wipe up the tables and sofas with a rag, especially when I am cleaning up after dinner.

(11 Oct '09, 17:22) MrChrister

I am not sure if this will answer both parts of your question but I know that at 24 months they encouraged "Tidy up time" at my daughters nursery/creche.

I wouldn't be able to say that this was a chore as such, but this little activity involved the the Nursery teacher singing the "Tidy up song" and setting an example by picking up toys and placing them in baskets. I reinforced the activity by asking her to put her toys away at home, and she would, without any hesitation.

Putting away toys would be first on my list, but for children who do not attend any type of nursery or creche I would also involve them at laundry time, and dusting time just for fun by asking for help and giving them a towel to carry or a dry cloth to dust with.... :)

As for the right age to begin, I think it depends on your childs own level of development, curiosity and eagnerness to be part of what you are doing.


answered 10 Oct '09, 19:29

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

This is just about exactly what I was going to say. :) My four year old and two year old both help with laundry, dusting, emptying the dishwasher, mopping the floor (a favorite!) and of course, picking up their toys. We've added things as their ability and interest has grown: picking up toys starts when they're about 15 months old.

(15 Oct '09, 03:17) Emily

My daughter started picking toys up on her own when she was about a year old, mostly it was a game to her. But, now that she's 4, she is still good about picking up her toys when we ask her too, and my 1 year old son is starting to develop the same habit.

About a year ago my daughter started to help feed the pets. She would get the cup out of the bag, fill it with food, and then poor it into the food bowl while my husband or I would handle the water bowl and the cat's litter box.

I've also caught my daughter making messes just to clean them up. One day she dumped a bowl of dry cereal on the floor just to have an excuse to play with the carpet sweeper.


answered 14 Oct '09, 04:11

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%


Making a mess, just to clean up is pretty spiffy.

(14 Oct '09, 12:46) Huibert Gill

+1 for the kid who likes cleaning up so much that she'll find any excuse even if she has to make one. Priceless

(16 Oct '09, 14:08) Dinah

I think they can have chores as early as they can understand and remember a small series of simple instructions, which is quite young.

When my spouse's younger siblings were very little, they had chores like: set the table. The silverware was moved to where they could reach and they just had to put a fork, spoon, and napkin at chair's place. It was an easy activity but they could manage. So as they grew up, there was never a time that they could remember that they weren't a contributing member of the family. Helping was simply a fact of life.


answered 15 Oct '09, 22:16

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

My oldest are five (six in a few days) and we don't have chores. They help around the house a lot and every Saturday we clean the upstairs as a family. Other than that, there's nothing they're responsible for doing on a regular basis.

The basic idea is that mom and dad are responsible for keeping the house in order--we take care of the things that we'd have to take care of whether we had them or not--and they're responsible for picking up what they've brought out. To that end, we've tried to instill in them a sense that you clean up your area when you're done playing and they're good about it to varying degrees. (If they fail to do so, then whatever it is gets cleaned up and put in the garage for a while.)

They seem to want to help fold laundry, cook dinner, set the table, and other such "chores" as a matter of course--we don't expect them to do so but I think they enjoy emulating us. We'll see how long that lasts.

The arguments I've heard for chores are that it fosters independence, teaches skills, and instills discipline. Childhood independence is illusory, any skills that are conveyed can be taught gradually over time (or in a crash course of a month or two), and there are ample alternative avenues for teaching discipline.


answered 14 Oct '09, 20:12

bbrown's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

This is an interesting perspective, thank you.

(15 Oct '09, 03:19) Emily
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Asked: 10 Oct '09, 18:50

Seen: 2,826 times

Last updated: 15 Oct '09, 22:16