13 August, 2015


After receiving numerous questions about chore time in our house I thought it may be helpful to share on this space what we do to incorporate our children into household chores.

Peter and I believe it is important to get children involved early, and by capturing their eagerness to work at a young age, you have a head start on teaching a good work ethic, diligence, and gratitude for their ability to work. It's often easier to do all the chores ourselves, but instructing our children and slowing the day down to teach them things they're often eager to be a part of never hurt anyone.

In our house, grumbling through chores is the same as disobedience (because a part of obedience is doing things with a cheerful heart), so there are consequences, just as there are when they deliberately disobey by not coming when they are called or touching something they were told not to. So, we aren't just watching for all of the crumbs to be swept up under the table, we are watching their attitude when we ask them to do the sweeping.

We aren't incredibly (ok, not at all) structured or organised, but as things need done, we "round up the troops", as my mother used to say, and tackle projects. We don't have jars of popsicle sticks or gold star charts to mark progress (though these may be really helpful for some parents and exciting for the children), chores are simply a part of being in our family.

You'll also notice brushing teeth & hair, making beds, getting dressed, etc, are not on this list. That is because we don't view these as chores, but just as a part of being a human and keeping yourself and your space tidy and presentable. They aren't optional (though neither are chores :) ).

Upon deciding on chores for littles, some points: expectations (of the child) should be high, instruction should be initial (after that, if they are still not doing it correctly, or straying from the way you've shown them-- i.e. spraying the walls and the houseplants-- something is not right and you need to reevaluate). Praise, while there should be a level of it, should not be overbearing when jobs are done well. Chores are expected and work is a part of growing up.

Some things we have them do on a regular basis include, but are not limited to:

  • setting the table for meals, including filling everyone's glass with water
  • clearing after meals, including scraping leftover food into the bin/compost and loading their dishes in the dishwasher
  • unloading clean silverware

  • collecting dirty laundry from bedrooms and bringing to laundry room
  • transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer & starting it
  • putting a new sorted load into the washer, and with supervision, adding soap and starting it

  • collecting bins from all the bathrooms and emptying, returning bins to respective bathrooms 
  • take recycling to outside bin

  • spraying houseplants (with supervision the first time, teaching them to only spray the plant, not the wall ;) )

  • dust surfaces (we only use non-toxic & food-grade cleaners like either Thieves cleaner or a just a simple ACV & water solution)
  • vacuum stairs
  • put away groceries, as able

We've had great success incorporating these into our daily life and once the children understand your expectation for how each chore should be done, it is quite freeing! I love knowing I can trust my two year old to scrape her leftover oatmeal to the bin from her bowl and know she will wipe up the mess if there is one.

Success and freedom and independence in these chores come when we take the time out of our day to truly slow down and teach our children, make it an exciting project, and show them instances where it isn't done right so they can understand this is not an acceptable way of doing the job.

The above list is constantly growing, as we discover more things that need done, and as their capabilities grow. It's an exciting time, really! Carpe diem!

Do you have your littles help around the house? What jobs do you give them? We'd love more ideas! Have a question? Leave a comment or email me at the address in the contact tab above!


  1. Thanks for sharing! Excited to begin this process more thoroughly, and eager to see where our list is by the end of the year.

  2. thank you for posting this! i've been working on really teaching mine to clean up after themselves and to help with little chores. this was very helpful in inspiring more ideas and encourages me to keep on and take the time to really teach.
    <3 michelle kobb