Chores for 3 Year Old

Updated on January 22, 2010
B.G. asks from Santa Fe, TX
21 answers

My son is 3 years and 4 months old. He is a very independent little guy plus he loves to help. I wanted to start giving his some chores to help out with. I don’t want to overload a 3 year old by any means but I do want my son to know how to pick up after himself (most men I know don’t). So, I wanted to know if anyone out there does this as well with younger children and if so what are some things that you have then do. I thought of even giving him some kind of allowance to go with it because he loves putting money in his bank.

As of right now on his own he has take care of his own plate/bowl... racks the leftover food in the trash and put his dishes in the sink and his chore is to wipe the table down after we eat. Also, he puts his own clothes in the laundry basket. That is very easy and he very much enjoys it. It makes him feel like a “big kid”.


1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Sherman on

My older kids and 3 and 4 and do the same chores plus emptying the dryer and pushing the basket to the living room where I fold the clothes. They also help put thier clothes away. We do not give rewards for doing these things either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

a great book that covers this very thing - age appropriate chores - and more is called Life Skills for Kids by Christine Field. This is a great age to get going on that!

More Answers



answers from Houston on

Hi B.,
My children folded washclothes and underwear and matched socks. He will likely know whose clothes belong to whom, so before folding, he could sort them so that when folded, he could carry the stack or drag a basket to each persons room. He is likely to want to do it With you, so no matter what he folds, even if it is a mess, accept it as is. If you feel you must refold it, dont let him see you fix his result.
Have him bring the wastebaskets from each room for garbage day and return them to their appropriate rooms.
They can set the forks and spoons on the table.
My kiddos loved to "cook". Every day I gave them something they could do toward a meal. Soft fruits can be cut up with a pizza cutter or plastic knife. I ALWAYS had them use a "Cutter" as opposed to a knife, so they wouldnt go to a sharp knife.
The dishwasher door when opened is a great work surface for a kid to mix or learn to pour juice or milk on cereal. At night pour a small glass of milk in his own glass to pour on his cheerios so he doesnt have to manage the gallon jug. If anything spills or splashes, it is contained in the door. Jello, pudding, scrambling eggs and the like are great chores. Making anything that you can add dried fruit, nuts, wheat germ etc to is a good job for him to help "cook". Making a sandwich is another good job.
Dusting furniture with a dustcloth can be fun. I didnt allow them to spray furniture polish, just dry dust.
Hint* I didnt describe these jobs as chores but "help". We all need clothes, food, and a clean home. They are learning lifeskills. IMO I wouldnt pay a child to learn ABC's or colors. I presented it as helping our family run smoother when everybody pitched in. I didnt pay per job, but gave a dollar or such as I could and gave to each child for being a helper, not according to their workload.
Reason being, if a child is sick or unable to help, they are still doing the best they can and shouldnt be docked if at a different skill level. We taught that we must take up the slack for one who is unable. HTH!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

We have a son slightly older than yours. We've always had expectations for him to clean things up. I had a rule early on that he needed to put toys away before he could get others out - easier said than done.

But, he is expected to clean up his toys, and we do not offer rewards for doing so. He has to put his clothes in the hamper. He likes to help with some chores like putting his silverware away. We don't let him have access to anything breakable.

He's always been good about doing favors for us - getting wipes for his sister or getting his shoes when we need to go out.

I think it's great you're giving him responsibilities around the house. We bought him a toy vacuum cleaner for Christmas 2 years ago (because he was always playing with the one at Pottery Barn Kids). He'll pretend to vacuum when we're doing it. My husband is very good about sharing chores, so he has a good role model to follow.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Can I please send you my 17 year old son? He has forgotten that I'm mom not Maid!



answers from Austin on

our three year old likes to help unload the dishwasher - just the plastic stuff and silverware - and he does great. Also, he helps with the laundry - he helps me put it in to the washer and switch it from washer to dryer. And he helps me put away his clothes. And when we need to pick up toys he helps with that - I give him specific assignments, like put the blocks in the bucket, and he can do that very well. I think it is great that you are teaching your little guy to work!



answers from Boston on

My 3.5 year old's main morning chore is cleaning the bathroom! She does the sink and toilet (just with a moist rag) and wipes off the side of the tub. It keeps the bathroom clean! At night she cleans up her room before bed. She also puts her dish in the dishwasher (sometimes), puts clothes in the hamper or back in the drawer.

It's great to read about the kinds of chores other young kids are doing!



answers from San Antonio on

Set a timer for 15 minutes and have him pick up as much as he can in that time. He stops after 15 minutes whether he's finished or not.

He could fold towels, especially hand towels and rags, but even big ones if taught how and have them ready for you to put away.

He can empty the bathroom trash cans into the big kitchen trash can.

He can wash mirrors, windows, fronts of appliances.

He can sweep. My kids love to spray the spray bottle on the floor and mop.



answers from Bellingham on

My son is going to turn 4 in a month. He loves to turn on the dryer because all the buttons make noises. He will go and take the clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer and turn it on! I don't force him to do this and some times when I ask he doesn't want to so I don't make him, but most of the times he does it. We made a chart last week and are giving him stickers for every chore. He gets so excited putting them on. After so many stickers he gets some money and when he has enough money we are going to go to the toy store and he can buy something with his money. He also sets the table. It would be faster if I did it so I'm not being lazy but I do think that it is very important for kids to do chores. I wish my mom made me do more when I was little because I have a hard time remembering to pick up after myself!



answers from San Antonio on

My son is 3 yrs also & when I do dishes, he stands on a stool next to me at the sink & 'helps me rinse them off'. I then get what he's missed & put it in the dishwasher. When I do laundry, I sort the clothes, then hand them to him to throw in the washer & then hand them to him when they go in the dryer. When I fold clothes, he's eager to put away his washcloths & clothes (maybe not in the right drawer, but he's in the vicinity & HE'S doing it). He LOVES helping & it teaches him good habits at the same time. Occassionally he will help me push the vacuum and sweep up things. I don't really let him do things by himself unsupervised as he's too little really. Cuddos to you for involving your child in lifetime responsibilities so young! I feel it only benefits them - especially at this age where they want to be included in a lot. Making it fun now helps later too :) Good luck!



answers from Corpus Christi on

One that I did was to have them pick the waste baskets up and put all garbage in one bag. But as a mother and wife I know that you are going to help his wife one of these days good for you. He can also learn to help make his own lunch.



answers from College Station on

That sounds perfect!

I would not add too much to that, unless you have a pet to feed. Can he put his clothes away and pick up his toys?



answers from Austin on

Hi B.,
It is so good to help your son learn to contribute to the running of your household. I am a parent educator of Redirecting Children's Behavior. In my classes, many parents are exhausted trying to work, raise children and do all the cooking and cleaning. Here is an article about chores from the author of the RCB book and course:
It has some great tips for parents.
Blessings to you and your family,



answers from Houston on

My 2 year old loves to put the things in the recycling bin for me. I use 2 different bins (one for cardboard & paper and the other for metals & plastics) that are different colors. I tell him to take it to the blue bin or the green bin and he loves it. He also loves to help put the clothes in the washer or dryer and to help load the soda cans in the drawer in the fridge for us.

I would thing that your 3 year old could also help make his bed every morning and help carry groceries in from the car (give him a light bag or 2). You could also ask him to dust for you and give him a swiffer cloth and to learn how to sweep with a hand broom.

He may also have some ideas of things he wants to try. It's great that he wants to be a helper. I'd keep encouraging it as much as possible! Way to go!



answers from Killeen on

My daughter is 5 but since she was about 2 and a half I have always started her on small chores. As a single mother I need all the help I can get and she is my big helper and she loves to help all I let her - but I also want her to have her childhood...

I started her out with putting away small articles of clothing like her underwear and socks that dont have to stay folded. She always had to pick her toys up and put her shoes in her closet and make sure her bath toys are taken out and put away in their basket.

As she got older I added chores - such as feeding the cat and making sure he has water and letting him in and out when he wants wander. She also has her own broom and dustpan just her size (courtesy of Ross Discount Store) and she helps sweep her room and the top living room and the kitchen and laundry room.(Of course I follow up after her with my stem mop to get what was left)

She also puts out a roll of toilet paper when we run out if she uses the last of it and she puts away the towels now that she is tall enough.

During the warmer months she helps with the yardwork - waters the flowers, raking the grass up and the leaves and so forth.She has a rake just her size as well!!!

For now she is responsible for her cat and her room (Meaning clothes, toys and so forth) - but anything above that she gets rewards for because it helps momma out. She gets momma's purse change and once a payday she gets either a new game for her leapster game system or a book for her TAG reading system.... If its not educational - she doesnt get it.

What little child support her father does send from being threatened by the courts - she gets treated to nights at the movies and bowling and things she wants to decorate her room with.....

I hope this helps. good luck - its hard to know where to draw the line sometimes.



answers from Corpus Christi on

My little guy is 3 yrs 9 months and really likes to help around the house.. He does pick up his toys and he trys to help with other things like laundry....I just notice that if you are needing help is when you should ask the little guy for some assistance. Set chores might not be the way to go==use your best judgement and you are so right about starting him early..brownie points for you!! good luck and keep up the great work



answers from College Station on

This is an ideal age for introducing chores. From what I have learned, some reading ("Money Doesn't Grow on Trees" I think) and some advice from friends.

With my three growing boys and my adult, but not grown up, husband, this is what we do. There are two types of tasks. One can be described as "everyday", "everybody" tasks. These are the picking up dirty clothes off the floor, hanging wet/damp towels from bath time, putting toys and games away when finished playing with them, and putting away their own clean clothes. I call them "part of the family" tasks. Everyone is expected to do their part for the family. Besides, this is like a "brushing your teeth" task.

The other type is the "chore" that my kids get an allowance for. These, for us, are collecting the trash from the bedrooms and bathrooms, move the city trash can to the curb and/or back in place from the curb (we waited for an age when they had the strength), and sweeping. For the age of a 3-yr-old, we did putting away clean silverware (we gave him the tray after taking it out of the dishwasher and removing steak knives or other sharp stuff).

Have fun. Maybe your child has an idea in mind!



answers from San Antonio on

I taught mine to fold washcloths and hand towels- by the time he is finished with them I have the bath towels done. He also loves loves loves the swiffer!



answers from Austin on

My three year old is also a helper, which is great because it is like pulling teeth to get her older sister to do anything. She puts away her toys, puts dirty clothes in the hamper, she puts her dishes in the sink and wipes down her area with a wet rag. She helps me take her laundry to the laundry room and loves to throw all the clothes in the washing machine and push the button. I am trying to get her to help me sort the laundry but she would rather throw it all around the room. She has a tiny little mop and broom so when I am cleaning the floors she likes to "help" with that as well. In the yard,when its not freezing, she helps me dig in the garden to plant new plants and also helps me water them. In the back yard we have to pick up dog poo and she finds it and I go and scoop it up. Its so great to have a helper. Good Luck.



answers from Houston on

I've really enjoyed reading all your posts!

My children are 7,6,4,2. I have trouble getting them to do anything, but they like spray bottles and playing in the sink. So, I have my 7 YO unloading the dishwasher, 6 YO loads it and my 4 YO cleans the table and my 2 YO picks everything up off the floor so I can sweep.

They can fold and put away their clothes.

They clean their bathroom.

They don't clean their bedrooms yet, I haven't figured out how to make them do things they don't want to do. So I don't know how long the above chores will last. They don't care about incentives, punishments, grounding from computer or TV. My girls are very strange. heh



answers from San Antonio on

My 3 year old does about the same chores. She also helps fold towels (she started out pretty sloppy, but now she can fold small towels perfectly). She helps put wet clothes in the drier from the washer. She loves to wipe down the table with a wet cloth and use a swiffer duster around the house. All 3 of my children do different chores according to thier age level (3, 5 and 7). They earn a "gold medal"(a little sticker) each time they complete a chore or at a parent's discression when they go above and beyond at school or home. They save the medals and can cash them in for a dollar each when they want something like a book or toy. They can save up more if they want to play lazer tag or go bowling or some other activity. Hope this is helpful.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions