Choose chores for 4-5 year olds that are simple, easy to learn, and straightforward to give them confidence in their ability to help.
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Four and five years old is usually the age when kids like to be considered “big kids.” They are really starting to emerge into their personalities. They’re no longer considered toddlers, and they’ve left the world of “I need mommy for everything,” behind, and they are embarking on a journey of learning to be independent.
Along with that independence, it’s time for parents to start thinking about how their young children can begin to learn more responsibility. Responsibility can mean chores, simple meal prep, independent grooming, simple pet care, etc.
You don’t want to overwhelm them at this age, instead, it’s best to gently introduce them to the world of responsibility.
From my experience, 4-5 year olds are eager to help. They want to stay close by and shadow their parents as they learn how the house works. That makes this a great time to teach them and let them become your mini helper.
Start from a young age and teach them self care and how to care for a home.
Chores for 4-5 year olds
I don’t know what it is about the vacuum cleaner, but most kids love it. My own children argue over who gets to vacuum the floor sometimes. It’s a straightforward task, and one that can be demonstrated quickly and easily.
Dusting is another easy task for someone this age to complete. Show them how to carefully remove knick knacks and picture frames from shelves and dust before replacing the items. Bonus if you give them a fun mitten duster like this one! They’ll probably beg you to dust everyday!
3. Set the table
Be careful with glass and porcelain dishes, but still let them try with supervision. If you don’t think they can handle the fragile ware just yet, then show them how to place the utensils, napkins and cups in their proper places.
4. Clear the table
Once everyone is done eating, allow your four or five year old to carry the dishes to the sink. Again, be careful of breakables. If your house is like mine, everyone carries their own dirty dishes to the sink when they are finished eating. In this case, a young child will get the same experience by cleaning up her own dishes when she is finished eating.
5. Clean up room
Cleaning up a room is a chore that can start even younger than four or five, but five is the age when kids really are able to do more fine-tuning to the cleaning process. Show them how to not only put away toys, but to separate them into categories for organization. You can demonstrate how to line up shoes neatly in their closet or make sure all the books are facing the right way on the bookshelf.
It may take a bit more time to help them, but cleaning their room is an essential skill to have. Their future college roommate will thank you.
6. Separate laundry
Separating laundry is an easy chore. Demonstrate how to divide clothes into the color categories that you choose. On laundry day, have them bring you the color pile that you are ready to wash.
7. Fold laundry
Once the laundry is finished washing and drying, let your five year old help fold and put them away. Start with towels since they are the easiest, then show them how to fold shirts and match socks. They may not be ready for things like pants and button-up shirts, but they are learning a lot just by watching you!
8. Help cook
Don’t underestimate your little chef!
He will more than likely enjoy helping you mix the dry and wet ingredients together while learning how to use measuring spoons and cups. He may even be ready to cut easy vegetables like cucumbers or celery with your direct supervision. You know your child best and what he is capable of. Don’t be afraid to let him try!
9. Help unload dishwasher
When the dishes are clean, she can help put the utensils away and any plastic-ware that she can’t break. It’s an easy job she can handle while you put away the more fragile dishes.
10. Dry dishes
Along with unloading the dishwasher, drying dishes is an easy chore for a 4-5 year old to do. If anything is still wet coming out of the dishwasher, give her towel so she can dry it. Or if you are hand washing, she can be your drying side-kick.
It’s important to remember that not all children this age are the same in terms of maturity, ability, strength, etc. So when dishing out chores, keep in mind what your child is reasonably able to accomplish.
For instance, if you have a very large, bulky vacuum cleaner, you might want to save the vacuuming for someone who can muscle it around better than a five year old.
However, don’t underestimate what they can do! They are smart, curious kids with a lot of potential!
So many good things can come from teaching children how to do chores from a young age.
-They’ll gain confidence knowing they learned something new and were able to complete it.
-The art of concentration can be learned from doing small, sometimes tedious chores like dusting around the spindles of a rocking chair.
-Children can gain invaluable skills that they will take with them into adult-hood, like recipes, self-care, care for other people’s property (and their own), and more.
Also remember this is a general list! Four and five year olds are capable of so much. Use common sense when delegating chores, but also allow them to help out whenever possible.