Chores For Kids: Actually Helpful Things Kids Can Do

Maybe you’ve read my “Organized Kids: Raising the next generation of organizers“? Obviously whether my kids ever get paid to organize does not matter to me, I just want to know they are adequately prepared to run their own homes one day! Part of that preparation is chores.

The list you’ve been waiting for … the chores I have my children to do. These are the things I put on our chore sticks, which I’m going to tell you all about on Thursday.

One word of advice is to not overwhelm children with chores like “clean bathroom”. I like to take the bigger jobs like that and break them down into achievable smaller jobs that aren’t too long for my girls’ attention spans.

I don’t know about you, but my kids want to help me with everything. They are my sidekicks all day and as much as I love them, while they are younger, their help isn’t always helpful. The following list is things my children can do that are ACTUALLY HELPFUL. It is fantastic. I truly believe kids can tell the difference between “fake jobs” and “real ones”, and when they are really helping the family, they get to feel genuinely confident about their contribution.

Chores (Individual & Team):

  • Tidy Art Supplies {See}
  • Tidy Playroom
  • Clean Upstairs Hall
  • Clean Room (tidy, dust, vacuum)
  • Tidy & Vacuum Shoe Cubbies {See}
  • Empty Basket {See}
  • Tidy Game Closet
  • Sort Laundry {See}
  • Tidy Books
  • Tidy Blue Desk
  • Tidy DVDs {See}
  • Sweep & Wipe Bathroom Floor {See}
  • Bring Toothbrushes to the Kitchen {See}
  • Put Dirty Towels in Laundry Room
  • Wipe Bathroom Counter {See}
  • Wash Bathroom Mirror {See}
  • Wipe Down Bathroom Cabinets {See}

And yes, you’ll notice that there is a notable chore missing from this list. I do not have my children clean toilets. Yuck, yuck, and yuck. The idea of a child cleaning the toilet sickens me in a way that words cannot express. It might just be me (probably!) – so go for it if the idea of a child holding a toilet brush does not gross you out.


What am I missing? What kinds of chores do your children do? As my kids get older, I hope to keep adding to this list. Like: When can the kids make dinner by themselves?!?!


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19 thoughts on “Chores For Kids: Actually Helpful Things Kids Can Do

  1. I love to hear that others let their children help around the house.

    My children learn early and are able to help me with chores as soon as they can stand. My 4yr old is now able to unload the dishwasher (glassware and all) with the help of his 2yr old twin sisters (for silverware). They can all pick up their toys, clothes, books, and other things off the floor and put them away. My kiddos love cleaning the toilets! (with lots of supervision) Vacuuming and mopping are their favorites. My 4yr old knows that he will get a treat if he completes a chore, and has now started cleaning up without being asked. LOVE IT!!

  2. My not yet 2 yr old loves to wipe things. So I give her a damp rag and let her wipe down the kitchen cabinets and any spots on the kitchen floor.

    I’ve also let me older kids (ages 7 and 9) sort laundry by color before washing and bring in the garbage cans.

    Thanks for the additional ideas.

  3. My girls are responcible for folding and putting away their laundry. Ive shown them how to fold outfits together into packets consisting of shirt pants undergarments and socks. It makes it much easier for them to choose what to wear and makes organizing their drawers much better.

  4. My kids take turns cleaning the toilets….we call it “swishing” the toilet….isn’t that a fun word?? I’ll do anything to make chores more appealing!!! Thanks for this post!

    1. Thanks for everyone’s comments! You have given me good ideas, too.

      Please, do not tell me about your children cleaning toilets. I can’t handle the visual! Ha ha! (Only joking of course, I know I’m the crazy one here …)

      1. My husband always said that cleaning the toilet was his chore while he was growing up, so he hated doing it, but I finally got him to do it here, after many years. I know my grandson is older than my husband said he was when he was given this chore, yet I know if I tell him to do it, he will be grossed out, and will refuse to do it. I’m with you, though, and not sure I want a kid doing that one. LOL.

  5. I love this! It was such an eye-opening experience to me, when I realized how much my children actually can do to help – and make a huge contribution! I, also, break down the big jobs into smaller ones. I have them use a mini vac to vacuum the stairs. I break down the sweeping into rooms. Every day they alternate the kitchen/breakfast area and one other space. We have all wood floors, so this is a necessity! Making beds was such a tough one. I am extremely impressed, with how much pride they take in their beds being completely tucked in (military style) and neat each morning. Our “categories” each day include something for each in the areas of: Laundry, Sweeping/Vacuuming, Learning, Beds, Trash/Recycling, and “Extra”. I’m hoping to get to 18, with boys who can clean a dorm room, have good study habits, do laundry, and contribute to the household that they build with their future wives. :) Thanks for all your tips, Mary! Can’t wait to see what you have for Thursday!

  6. I figure early training is best, so when my little one tries to help, I thank and kiss her sweet little head (and try to get in a cuddle if she’ll let me). Seriously, not even 14 months old and already helps me unload the dryer and put toys in a basket! LOL!!! Sorry, I have to laugh at myself right now.

  7. Les had the best suggestion ever. Take all of the enthusiasm of the 4 year old (who wants to help with everything) and put it in a time machine made by the 17 year old (who knows everything), then stick it in the 14 year old’s body (who is almost coordinated and strong enough to do everything) and then the entire house could get cleaned! When you’re finished you need to put everything back though because you don’t want them to grow up too quickly!

  8. My 9 year old cooks some dinners by herself and does laundry in it’s entirety when asked. She also washes dishes, cleans off the countertops and sweeps the kitchen floor. My 7 year old helps his big sister but doesn’t know how to run the machines yet. Maybe I’ll teach him this coming year.

  9. Here is a fun tip…for your team chores give each of the kids a rag and set the timer for 10 minutes and tell them to come see you. Whoever’s rag is the dirtiest wins. (thought I give them all a sticker anyway) you would be amazed at the places they find to wipe down and dust. They get really creative. :)

  10. Mary, I absolutely love your blog! It is helping me and my family so much!! You have such great practical ideas. I am a mother of 4 little ones and the messes have been so overwhelming. I am currently doing your decluttering challenge and it helps me feel so much happier and like a better mom. Thank you!!

  11. Any suggestions for the kid with the theory that “if I do it wrong, I won’t be asked to do it again”? I had this problem with my son, my husband, and sometimes with my grandson. It’s frustrating, but they know that if it takes me longer to make them do it right, I’ll just do it myself.

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