If you’re looking for a toddler chore chart, you may also be wondering which chores are easy for toddlers.
It can be challenging to find easy chores for toddlers to do around the house. With the number of things parents have to remember in our day-to-day lives, having the patience to get your toddler to help you with chores might seem unrealistic. It’s often challenging to teach your child to clean up after themselves, particularly at the end of a long work day when you’re both tired.
However, most parents can agree that it’s important to teach kids to start doing chores at a young age. There are many easy chores for toddlers that don’t require you to dial back on your regular household chores, but also teach your young ones to pick up after themselves.
Au Pair Tip: If you’re hosting an Au Pair, he/ she can support you in teaching your children to do chores. Give your Au Pair a list of easy chores for toddlers (heck, shoot them the link to this post if you want), and discuss the types of tasks your children already enjoy.
10 Easy Chores for Toddlers
(Plus, a FREE printable toddler chore chart with 30 + printable chore cards!)
Age-appropriate chores help kids feel like they’re contributing to the household. It’s a great way to teach kids that chores can be fun and easy. Our free toddler chore chart includes some of the following chores (but also many more).
No one would expect a toddler to be 100% responsible for their mess, but teaching at an early age can make a big impact on ensuring they take more responsibility later on.
If you’re hosting an Au Pair, ask her to incorporate each one of these chores into her daily or weekly routine with the kids. Kids often see their Au Pair as more of a friend than a nanny, and the novelty of doing chores with someone new can generate excitement. Many Host Parents report the benefits of coming home to a cleaner house and seeing improvement in their kids’ cleaning habits.
Alla, from Philadelphia, says her Au Pair has supported her efforts in teaching her children good cleaning habits. “She taught my kids responsibility [in] cleaning up after themselves, and important life lessons.”
Pro tip: Be sure to celebrate every small success, so the kids don’t end up frustrated… and you alongside them!
1. Sweeping & mopping is an easy task for little kids
Sweeping and mopping are simple chores that are easy for a toddler to understand. Toddlers are far from perfect at sweeping, but that’s all the more reason to let them practice.
It can also be especially beneficial to teach kids to sweep and mop when they make a mess at the table or track dirt through the house. This helps them learn responsibility for their own messes and pay attention to their surroundings.
Au Pair Tip: Be sure your Au Pair is aware of your desire to teach your kids to clean up their own messes. Sometimes, it’s easier to clean up after a child than it is to get them to clean up after themselves.
2. Most toddlers can handle picking up their own toys
I don’t know about you, but kids’ toys are about 90% of the mess in my house. (The other 10% is dishes and clean laundry that I’ve yet to put away). Obviously, I want my kids to clean up their toys, but there are days when it’s a fight, and it’s just easier to put the toys away myself.
Every parent has times like this, and it’s okay. But when you and the kids both have the patience, be sure to practice picking up toys. One helpful strategy is to put away toys before letting the kids bring out a new set of toys–that way, the task never becomes too overwhelming.
Au Pair Tip: Teach your Au Pair some strategies for making clean-up time fun. (Check out the “Strategies” section below).
3. Feeding and brushing promotes bonding with pets
While toddlers likely can’t execute pet care chores entirely by themselves, letting them help out provides a great opportunity to teach them how to be responsible with pets. For example, while feeding your pets, you could talk about how to be safe around animals.
Encouraging your child to care for your pet also helps strengthen the bond between your pet and your child.
Au Pair Tip: Au Pairs cannot be responsible for the family’s pets, but they can supervise a child’s pet care responsibilities. Be sure your Au Pair knows your family’s pet rules.
4. Dusting is an easy chore for toddlers
If you’re searching for easy chores for toddlers, dusting is among the easiest. Plus, it’s fun! (Trust me, my toddler is enamored with our Swiffer dusters… He even wanted to take one to bed with him the other night!)
I’ll be honest, this toddler chore can try my patience sometimes. My eldest son likes to continually ask me, “And what else needs to be dusted, Mom?” even though he hasn’t finished dusting a single object he’s started on. (I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that he’s only four). But my children are getting better at dusting, and they ask me if they can help dust almost daily.
Au Pair Tip: Be sure to let your Au Pair know about areas your child should not dust, such as delicate objects on the mantle place, or inside a china cabinet. If your Au Pair helps the kids keep up with dusting, that knocks one chore off your weekly list–or at least shortens the time you spend doing it yourself!
5. Vacuuming (or mimicking vacuuming) is a good way to spend time with your little one(s)
If you have a handheld vacuum, you can let your toddler follow along as you vacuum. Even if you don’t have a handheld (personally, I don’t), your little ones can help hold the vacuum handle as you guide the vacuum. This takes some patience, and likely can’t be done every single time you vacuum, but it can be a fun way for your toddler to help out.
Especially when my kids make a mess, I encourage them to vacuum with me. And, when I don’t have time to let them hold onto the vacuum handle, I let them use the hose and help me clean the couches and stairs instead.
Au Pair Tip: Ask your Au Pair to help the kids vacuum their bedroom and play areas, and encourage your Au Pair to have the kids vacuum whenever they make a mess.
6. Making beds is a valuable skill for little kids to learn
Making the bed might actually be one of the most difficult chores for toddlers. However, with the help of an adult or older sibling, toddlers can learn to tuck in sheets and organize their stuffed animals.
I remember the first time I started teaching my son to make his bed. He saw me changing his sheets and said, “Wow, Mom! You’re making my bed look so cool!” Ever since then, we’ve been practicing together.
Au Pair Tip: When my Au Pair, Adriana, arrived, I asked her to help the kids learn to make their beds. She has been helping them with this every day, and while I can’t say they can make their beds alone yet, they’ve become very particular about how their stuffed animals are arranged on the bed. 😂
7. Laundry is an easy way to get toddlers involved in helping out around the house
Again, little ones cannot be entirely responsible for this chore. However, they can certainly help with things such as: picking up dirty laundry, taking a kid-sized basket to and from the laundry room (these dollar store baskets are perfect), putting laundry into the washing machine, transferring laundry to the dryer (my kids love this task), and helping put clothes away.
Honestly, who can keep up with everyone’s laundry? The sooner your kids learn to put their own clothes away, the better! (If you don’t struggle to stay on top of laundry, you’re my idol).
Au Pair Tip: Asking your Au Pair to make sure the kids’ clean clothes get put away can be a lifesaver! Be sure to convey the importance of giving the kids time to learn to do their laundry and put it away, even if they only help for 5 minutes or so.
8. Dishes can be fun and teach kids to be responsible for their messes
Kids love playing in water, so helping with the dishes can be a very fun and engaging toddler chore. If you don’t want to handwash or don’t have time, you can teach your children to put their own dishes in the dishwasher. (My kids love it when they get to push the button to start the dishwasher!)
Little ones can also just be responsible for putting their plates and silverware in the sink. I give my kids plasticware 100% of the time so they can always be responsible for putting their dishes in the sink.
Au Pair Tip: Be sure to teach your Au Pair about your kitchen safety rules. If you don’t want your kids standing on a chair to do the dishes, this is something your Au Pair should know. You can invest in a learning tower or build one yourself if you’re concerned about safety.
9. Cleaning bathrooms is an easy way for toddlers to help Mom or Dad clean
If you’re looking for easy chores for toddlers to do in the bathroom, the truth is that toddlers can clean almost anything in the bathroom. As long as they’re supervised, there isn’t much that can go wrong–though whether you want to allow your toddler to clean the toilet bowl is entirely up to you. 😷 (If you have a toilet lock, you can just keep the lid closed so your little one doesn’t reach into the toilet).
Some of the simplest bathroom chores include wiping down surfaces, putting away bath toys, and wiping down the shower (oranges are a great alternative shower cleaner that’s safe for kids!).
Au Pair Tip: Be sure to review which cleaning supplies are okay for your kids to use. You can also avoid buying cleaning chemicals that are hazardous to kids, and just stick with kid-friendly or homemade cleaning solutions.
10. Taking out trash is a simple task most toddlers can help with
This chore would be difficult for most kids to do alone, but I started noticing how much my little ones love accompanying me to the trash. I let them take out the bathroom trash, which is a much smaller bag than the kitchen trash, and I also let them help me carry the recycling bin. They love being lifted up to dump the trash into the big can, and they often remind me that it’s time to take out the trash.
If you have a baby and a toddler, your toddler can become a great help in taking diapers to the diaper trash while you’re occupied with the baby. If you have a diaper genie, you may have to help push the diapers down yourself, but your toddler can at least get it to the trash for you. This is a great way to let your toddler have a little responsibility and feel like they’re helping with the baby.
Au Pair Tip: Au Pairs can’t be responsible for the entire household’s trash. However, they can supervise the kids’ responsibilities, and they can encourage the kids to empty their bathroom trash.
Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Your Toddler Chore Chart
It helps to choose easy chores for toddlers. But sometimes the ease of the task isn’t enough to get them to engage in it. Having strategies for encouraging your child’s involvement can be a big help. (And honestly, it keeps me from raising my voice when I’ve run out of patience).
1. Make it a game
Turning cleaning into a game can help your kids get chores done in no time. You can turn picking up toys into a race. Set a timer and see if the kids can beat the timer. Be sure to keep the clean-up area small enough for your children to easily win (try 1-2 minutes).
We often play “choo-choo train” at my house. I take the box for whatever toy set the kids are cleaning up. Then, I push it around on the floor like a choo-choo train, making noises and everything. We pretend the toys are passengers. They all have to get on board at the station before the train goes to the next stop. This is a great way to give little kids a sense of urgency about picking up.
You may not have the time and energy to use this strategy every single time, and that’s okay. But it’s effective, so use it when you can!
Au Pair Tip: Sit down with your Au Pair & your children and try this together. Encourage your Au Pair to think of creative clean-up games. Ask her to make this a focus during her time with the kids. Coming home to a clean house not only means more time to spend with your family instead of cleaning, but it also means your kids are learning to be responsible for themselves while you’re away.
2. Get kid-sized cleaning supplies
I recently discovered that my kids are obsessed with sweeping and mopping. They love sweeping and helping one another use the dustpan. For at least a week straight, they swept and mopped our entire kitchen and dining room area every night!
Of course, using an adult-sized mop and broom made this a very challenging task. I quickly realized this wasn’t an easy chore for toddlers… until I found an awesome cleaning supply set and fell in love. Now, the kids help me sweep, mop, and dust every single time they see me doing it.
Au Pair Tip: Make sure your Au Pair knows where the cleaning supplies are and which ones are safe for kids to use. Let her know it’s okay if the kids don’t clean everything perfectly. It’s more important that they spend a few minutes a day practicing.
3. Start a reward system and give lots of praise
It’s easy to become frustrated when kids reach the end of their attention span or don’t follow instructions. Keep in mind that praising small accomplishments is better than requiring perfection. Toddlers, like most people, are more likely to repeat a task if it’s fun and rewarding.
Emphasize how fast your toddler is and celebrate while the chore is still in progress. This will help your toddler focus on what they’re doing and keep doing it.
Use a toddler chore chart to keep track of the chores your child has done. If you’re awarding prizes, consider giving the prize right away. Seeing the chore chart fill up might even be enough of a prize for some toddlers.
Au Pair Tip: Ask your Au Pair to keep you apprised of your toddler’s accomplishments. They can fill out your toddler chore chart together throughout the day. When you get home, your Au Pair and your kids can tell you about their day. Then, you can celebrate a second time!
4. Keep tasks small
Toddlers have such a short attention span, and they easily become tired and frustrated. They’re much more likely to finish a chore if the task is small.
Au Pair Tip: Ask your Au Pair to keep track of the chores they do together. He can tell you where the kids struggle the most. Then, together, you can determine whether your chore expectations are in line with your child’s abilities.
5. Don’t force it
Forcing participation is a good way to make kids dislike chores. Don’t force the issue if they just aren’t feeling it one day. Sometimes, they may be too tired or frustrated to help. Instead, encourage them to come back and have fun with you later.
When your child has gotten the frustration out of their system, you can try again. Remind them how much fun you have together when you “play” cleaning. Remind them of the rewards they get for cleaning.
Au Pair Tip: Be sure your Au Pair understands that young kids only have an attention span of a few minutes. Explain that she may need to do a large portion of the chores for the kids. It’s better for them to have fun cleaning than it is to force it.
6. Make it a regular habit
It’s harder for kids to understand the importance of chores if they don’t do chores regularly. Explain to your children the importance of cleaning regularly. You can keep it on their level by talking about how nice their room looks when it’s clean, how easy it is to find things, and how nice it is to have a clean space to play.
Practicing the same chores daily will also help your little one get better at each task. Eventually, they’ll be able to accomplish chores on their own, and you can add more responsibility as they get older.
Au Pair Tip: Ask your Au Pair to make this part of his daily routine with the kids. Work together to create a schedule that leaves time for quick, 5-minute chores throughout the day.
7. Use our free printable toddler chore chart to celebrate success
Use this free printable toddler chore chart to celebrate whenever your kids do chores.
These chores are designed for toddlers, so they don’t take very long. Your child can likely celebrate several small successes every day.
Pin the toddler chore chart somewhere your little one can reach. You can even laminate the sheets and attach velcro to the chore chart and cards. This makes it easy to keep track of which chores have been accomplished.
Au Pair Tip: Discuss an appropriate reward system with your Au Pair (kids are delighted by many things. Stickers and temporary tattoos are a favorite in our house). Let her help the kids track their chores and give the kids their daily chore reward. This is a great way to help your Au Pair build a strong bond with your kids. Plus, it will keep your kids engaged with learning responsibility.