How to Make an Age Appropriate Chore Chart- Kids age 3 to 5

Girl with vacuum cleaner

Sharing is caring!

A List of Ideas for What Chores you Should Choose and Why to Choose Them!

The short answer for what chores you should choose for your toddler (or young child) is to choose 3-8 things that your child is physically able to do.  These should be positive things they can do, not things they should avoid doing!

The following article will tell you all the things to think about so that you will be able to make an awesome chore list for your little one.

Why I Decided to Make a Chore Chart for My Kids

I was so used to following behind my kids and doing everything for them like making the bed, clearing the dishes, putting all the toys away, and on and on.  I mean, I had been doing this since they were first born, and obviously at that time they needed my help!

But, one day after we finished dinner, my 5-year-old said, “can I help you carry that plate?”

cartoon lightbulb

A light bulb went off in my head!!!

There was really no reason that she couldn’t carry her empty plastic dish to the counter!  It would actually be helpful and it was something she could do!

I got to thinking! Yup, watch out, I was thinking again!!!!  Not only would this be helpful if she did some chores, but I could help her learn responsibility, how to be a team player, and a contributing member of our family.

So, I decided to make a chore chart!  I’ve had great success with both my kids doing chores!  They are 3 and 5 and I’m here to tell you what I learned, and let you know the best way to make a chore chart for your young kids!

What Chores to Choose for Your Kids

Choose Chores That are Appropriate for Your Child’s Age and Ability

When you are thinking about what chores your kids should do, you want to be sure that the tasks are things that they are physically able to do!  For example, I would not have a toddler empty the trash if they can’t even reach the trash can lid. 

cartoon of kids doing chores

It’s way better if the chores you choose are easy for kids to do, this way they feel good about being successful when they do it! When you tell your kids you are proud of them for doing a task then they will actually want to do it even more!!!  And, if your kids accomplish a chore on their own, they’ll feel really great about themselves and it will help them build confidence.

Chores Should be a Positive (Not Negative) Item

The tasks you choose will be something active that they can do.  We want to make this a positive experience and be about being a good helper!

You should avoid listing anything that says what NOT to do.

How Many Chores Should be on the Chart?

How many chores kids should do for the day or week depends on your family routine.  It’s important that they are not stressed out or overwhelmed by chores. 

If there are so many chores that it interferes with playtime, sports, or outdoor activities, or just having any time to rest and relax, then that’s too many.

I suggest starting small, it’s better to add to the list than to remove things.

My 3 year old had 4 chores on her chart and my 5 year old had 7, however not all chores are done every day!

This seemed like a good amount to introduce them to chores, but also not make it too much that they resisted it!

Here Are Some Examples of Chores to Use For Your Home

Here are some of the chores I chose for my kids to start.  I think it’s best to make a very simple list, then as they get older gradually increase the number of things they do! 

Also, keep in mind, that chores are household tasks.  Chores are NOT life skill items.  So don’t include things like brushing hair, brushing teeth, bathing, or going potty.  These are not chores, they are life skills we all learn in order to take care of ourselves.

toddler sweeping with dustpan

My 3 year old’s list:

— Make her bed every day

— Put dirty clothes in the hamper every day

— Help clean up any spills, if they occur.*

— Put all toys away by the end of every day (this is the beginning of our bed time routine, “toys away time.”)**

My 5 year old’s list:

— Make her bed every day

— Put dirty clothes in the hamper every day

— Help clean up any spills, if they occur*

— Put all toys away by the end of every day (this is the beginning of our bed time routine, “toys away time.”)**

— Clear everyone’s (there are 4 of us) dinner dishes twice weekly.  She just has to bring them to the kitchen counter.

— Help unload the dishwasher after dinner twice weekly

— Empty bedroom trash can into kitchen trash can once weekly.

toddler girls doing chores, with surrounding text

These tasks are relatively simple, but that’s where you start.  There has been no resistance from our kids to helping with these things.  In fact, my 3-year-old now offers to help clear the dishes too, she wants to be able to do what her big sister does!

As they get older, I will gradually add to the list!

These are just the examples I use, you should choose what works best for your household.  There are lots of other ideas you can do if the above don’t work for you, such as:

— Help feeding a pet (if your pet does not have any tendency to growl or bite when food is involved)

— Help get pantry or fridge items to prepare a meal

— Come with you to walk the dog, and maybe help hold the leash. 

— Help dust with a cloth or Swiffer.

For even more examples of chores to choose by age see Jo Frost’s website

*Remember, if a child spills a drink, or whatever, and the chore is to help clean it DO NOT make the clean up a punishment.  A spill is an accident, keep your voice calm, not angry.  Be kind and respectful and in a neutral voice say “oops, it spilled, let’s clean it up!”  Have them use a towel, or wipe to help.  However, you will still need to help them when they’re little.  Be a team!

**We have been doing “toys away time” since the kids were less than 2 years old.  This is definitely doable for young kids.  Of course, the younger they are the more help they need from an adult but try to only help with the things they can’t reach or lift due to weight.  Let them do it!  You will be amazed by their abilities.  At first you have to tell them, put the teddy bear on the shelf, put the book over there, etc. but very quickly they will start to be able to do more and more on their own!

Should you Make a Chore Chart or Buy One?

Easy Ways to Make One

I think the hardest part of making my chore chart was deciding which chores to include.  So, now that you have some of those ideas covered above, lets talk about the actual physical chart you can hang on the wall.

It is important that our kids have a visual guide.  I think it should be fun to look at and easy to read, even if we know that our kids might not be able to read yet.  Soon they will.

I made mine a really simple table in Word and we added our own finishing touches! 

The kids and I made it together.

I let them choose the type of picture that would decorate the chart and after they were printed, they colored them.

Home-made chore chart

Once it was colored, I laminated the print out with our little home laminator.

Another fun idea is to make a crafty chore chart.  So, using a large poster board, markers or even cutting out felt to represent the tasks.  You and your kids can decorate the list.

Be creative- use stickers, felt, markers, or print out pictures of kids doing the tasks.  Also, make sure you don’t forget to actually write the chores out for them.

What About Buying A Chart?

There are plenty of options when you look on or to purchase a really cute chore chart.

Choose carefully though.  A lot of these pre-done chore charts are really reward charts or star charts which are different than a chore chart.  You need to look for a pure task list.

Rewards are ok for certain things but keep reading to find out how to talk about chores with your kids and also why we don’t use stickers or money to get our kids to do chores.

On Amazon I like this kind of chore chart. Also, on Etsy there are some super cute designs, like this chart.

I really liked having the girls help me create their chart.  However, I’ve also been really tempted with purchasing a super cute one! 

But, look around and make sure it is actually a chore chart you are buying! 

Should Allowance be Tied to Completing Chores?

We don’t give allowance or even rewards for doing chores in our house.  We believe that teaching the kids to do their chores as part of contributing to the family is the message we want to send. 

See below on how to talk to your kids about it, but really, I think that learning that everyone helps in the household is giving them a good foundation for the future.  And, we help without needing to have a reward to do it!  We help because we are a family and a team.

Giving a reward for good behavior is not a bribe.  But, always giving a reward will have your kids saying, “I can help, but what do I get for it?”

cash in envelope

On the other hand, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying rewards and money in return for hard work are not important!  They ARE!

We do give our kids a weekly allowance, but it’s not tied to doing their chores.  We are teaching them to save up to buy something and the value of money. 

We also want our kids to learn that working hard will mean they can earn money or rewards in life!!  But that lesson is a different one and not related to the household chores.

We also have a reward chart, but it is not for the chores.  I could go on about reward charts, but really, reward charts is a topic for another article!

How to talk to your kids about chores!

Make it fun!  If you are crafting or coloring the chart, talk about what it is while you make it!

Don’t sound like a dictator when you talk about how they can do chores!!  Make it positive, “you are getting so much bigger, and you are able to do so much!  You are going to get to start helping us around the house.  Mommy and Daddy are so happy that you’re going to be able to help us!” 

Be excited, be happy.

Never stand there and lecture your kids, and yell and just tell them “this is how it is.” 


Girl with cleaning supplies

Once they understand how important their role as a member of the family is, they will be even more likely to just want to do it!!!!  It’s true! Trust that your young kids want to be like you, they want to help you.  We, the grown-ups, just have to offer them the chance.

Go get that house clean!!

I really think encouraging kids to help with chores can benefit everyone in the household.  My kids have really taken it to heart and are happy to help.

In fact, my kids are offering to help me with things around the house all the time!  Giving kids responsibility does encourage other desirable behaviors.

If your toddler does ask to help, I think it’s great to let them, even if you can do it faster yourself.  It’s good practice for them and before you know it, their help will be really useful!

If you use these ideas to make your chore chart you will see that your kids are happy to be helpful around the house! 

You are also establishing good habits, teaching responsibility, teamwork, and helping your child build confidence in themselves.

Hope you have a great day, happy chore chart making!

Please comment below and let me know what chores your kids do!

A list of ideas for what chores you should choose and why to choose them!

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *