Show Your Kids How to Clean + free printable chore chart
With all that is going on around the world right now and with lots of families in their homes indefinitely, there are so many unknowns. We’re choosing to use this time as a gift to slow down, protect our loved ones, and clean and cozy up our home. With three kids at home unexpectedly, lots of disappointments and cancellations and anxiety running high, it’s important to provide structure and stability and a little routine. If you’re looking for some guidance on what your kids can help with around the home, this post is for you.
Alternate spin: Use this as a dry-run for the summer – try some things out and see how they work and adjust if needed.
To help offset the inevitable, I think it’s helpful to have kids help clean whenever and wherever possible. Even little ones can learn how to help with simple tasks that help to instill a sense of responsibility and pride. Older children benefit from routine and expectations to help the home run smoothly as well.
Whether you choose to use these room-by-room cleaning suggestions as chores or as incentives is up to you. These are some of the cleaning tasks that have been helpful and realistic in our home that I hope will inspire you to use them as a springboard for your family. I’m dividing them up by Preschool Age-Appropriate and School-Age Appropriate. You’ll see some similarities – preschool chores are building blocks for school-age chores and school-age chores are building blocks for life. Please note that this is designed to be a place for ideas, I am not suggesting that you make your kids do each and every chore.
If you need a chore chart to help reinforce responsibilities, I have one for you on the free printables page. Just add your email address and I’ll email you a password and you’ll have full access to all of the freebies.
FREE PRINTABLE CHORE CHART IS HERE
PRE-SCHOOL HOUSEHOLD TASKS
Preschoolers are eager helpers and it’s hard to figure out just how to best harness their enthusiasm while giving them tasks that are actually useful. Depending upon the age and maturity of your child, there is a large variety of tasks that can be expected and accomplished by this age group. With this age group, modeling is especially important. For example, show them just how to dampen a washcloth and wring it out to wipe their face and hands or how to set the table appropriately with plates in the center and silverware on the left or right side. It will take multiple times for them to have it up to your expectations, so have patience as they learn the proper technique.
While not every child or age can be expected to complete every task in the list below, pick ones that fit your child or children’s age and maturity as well as your needs. After deciding ones that are good fits, use the blank list included in today’s download in order to make a checklist of sorts for your family.
With a little teaching and modeling, you will be surprised at just what your child is capable of. Every little bit of help counts!
GENERAL HOUSEHOLD wipe baseboards/cupboards with baby wipes help fold laundry- match socks, fold dishcloths and hand towels help sort laundry into whites and brights/darks help put away clean clothes clean windows with damp microfiber cloth pick up toys, put books in bookshelf help unload groceries water plants gather garbage vacuum corners and edges along baseboards wipe bathroom counter with dampened microfiber cloth dust lower shelves and items wipe doorknobs and switch plates MORNING/EVENING CHORES brush teeth brush hair wipe face with a warm, wet washcloth after eating bath/shower when needed make bed- pull up comforter/duvet and put pillow at the top put dirty clothes and pajamas in clothes basket get dressed in the morning and pajamas in the evening MEALTIME CHORES set table with plates, napkins and appropriate silverware bring dirty dishes to sink when done eating wipe down table sweep up crumbs using a small dustpan and broom or handheld vacuum
SCHOOL-AGE+ HOUSEHOLD TASKS GENERAL HOUSEHOLD CHORES wipe baseboards/cupboards help sort laundry into whites and brights/darks help start and switch laundry loads help fold laundry help put away clean clothes clean windows with damp microfiber cloth pick up toys and activities, put books in bookshelf help unload groceries water plants take care of pets gather garbage take garbage and recycling to the curb get mail dust surfaces sweep floors vacuum corners and edges along baseboards vacuum floors using a lightweight upright clean clutter from bathroom counter wipe bathroom counter with dampened microfiber cloth wipe doorknobs and switch plates MORNING/EVENING CHORES brush teeth brush hair wipe face with a warm, wet washcloth after eating bath/shower when needed make bed- pull up comforter/duvet and flat sheet up and put pillow at the top put dirty clothes and pajamas in clothes basket get dressed in the morning and pajamas in the evening MEALTIME CHORES simple mealtime prep help – eventual meal planning and cooking pour beverages set table with plates, glasses, napkins and appropriate silverware bring dirty dishes to sink when done eating put away leftovers rinse dishes before loading in to dishwasher load dishwasher (remove knives and sharp utensils until age appropriate) dry and put away dishes wipe down table sweep up crumbs using a small dustpan and broom or handheld vacuum BEDROOMS Make bed. I use a fitted sheet on the kids’ beds paired with a washable quilt or duvet. This makes it easier for kids to simply pull up the cover and put the pillow at the top. Help put away clean clothes as they are able. Start with putting away socks and move on to other items as kids get older. Put dirty clothes in laundry basket. Put toys away. We try to use the rule that before a new toy or activity is taken out, the unused one needs to be put away. We do several sweeps a day and check them before a special activity (screen time, snack time, friend time). BATHROOMS Wipe down counter. A damp and wrung out microfiber cloth with water works perfectly for cleaning up little spatters and spills. No harsh cleaners necessary. Clean mirror. A barely damp microfiber cloth is great for this task. Refills empty toilet paper and tissue boxes. Collect garbage. Wipe down baseboards and around the perimeter of the bathroom with baby wipes. LIVING AREAS Wipe baseboards with baby wipes. Wipe light switches and door knobs. Pick up toys. Check under couch and furniture for errant toys and odds and ends. KITCHEN Help unload the dishwasher. Younger children can help sort silverware and older children can put away breakables, dishes and glasses. Set the table. Clear plates at the table, bringing dishes to sink. Little ones can be taught how to use a small dustpan and broom to gather up crumbs and other little odds and ends as well as emptying it in to the garbage. A handheld vacuum cleaner also works well for children to help with vacuuming up crumbs, small scraps, and kitchen floor debris. Wipe the table down. Help empty trash and sort recyclables. LAUNDRY Help sort by color (whites, brights, and darks). Sort and pair up socks. Help make matches with pajamas and outfits. Put clothes on hangers. Collect garbage in the laundry room. I have a small trash basket in the laundry room for lint, tags, etc. that the kids take care of emptying when asked. PET CARE Take care of water and food for pets. My oldest started this routine around 5 years old. ‘Help’ with brushing and bathing. Gather up pet toys at the end of the day to store in basket or container. MY FAVORITE WAYS TO GET HELP IN A HURRY Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and work to clean an entire area or trouble spot. Set up a kids’ bucket with kid-safe cleaning supplies. See my favorites here. Chore charts work well in our house to assure that kids have a visual reminder to check off daily. Use completed tasks as ‘rewards’: once your clean room is cleaned up you can go play with your friends, take something else out, have screen time, etc. Let kids help build a chore chart or responsibility chart. Taking ownership in the creation of the tasks will ensure a better success rate!
The Home Binder Kit has more chore charts and these lists as complete printables – go here to check out the whole printable collection.
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