Toddler Chores 101 – Simple Tips to Get Them Started Now

It’s amazing how much “stuff” we can accumulate over the years, especially kids stuff like toys, books, clothing, and the most random odds and ends.

Birthday toys upon Christmas toys upon Easter Basket goodies and year round items from Grandma, Grandpa and all the aunt and uncles who spoil their nieces and nephews, the “stuff” can be overwhelming.

I used to constantly walk into the kids toy room and feel overwhelmed by the clutter and unorganized pile of toys, half of which they no longer play with.

A few months ago, I decided it was time to take control of the kids toy and “stuff” situation and get a little organized.

I went to Walmart and bought a few large baskets, along with some I thrifted along the way, and went home and decided I would put some sense into their space.

All of the age appropriate toys and toys they are actively playing with stayed in the play room.

Toys that were not age appropriate or that I knew the kids never played with went to cousins or to a donation center.

Some toys that they are bored of but would want at some point went into the garage for a “break.”

Everything else was separated into piles: barbies, action figures, cars, legos, animal figurines, etc.

They then all went into a respective basket.

Once the toy room was organized, we set some boundaries around how they could play and started introducing chores to start teaching them a sense of responsibility.

If you have been feeling like it is time to introduce chores to your little one, here are a few things that we did that really worked!

A few tips to to get you started:

  • Keep it Simple – Don’t start with chores that take a long time. Keep it simple and age appropriate. Make sure they are things your child can understand and actually accomplish.
  • One Toy Basket at a Time – When playing with toys, we have a “one toy basket at a time” rule (this is why I organized the toy room!). If Claire chooses to play with Barbie’s, she can dump out her Barbie basket, play with the toys, and then has to put those back in the basket before pulling anymore toys out. This keeps the room from getting overwhelmingly messy, cluttered, and unorganized. It also makes cleanup easy, quick and doable, even for toddlers. This also can be applied as “one activity at a time.”
  • Reward the Good Behavior – Make sure you are rewarding their good behavior! Positive reinforcement will assure that they keep it up! Cheer them on and tell them what an amazing job they did! Brag about it to daddy and grandma and grandpa and let them know how proud you are of them, and do this every time!


Now let’s get into a few good age appropriate chores to start with!

Put Toys Away and Tidy Up Play Area

Like I mentioned above, the kids have to put toys back in their respective baskets.

They also have to put books back on the shelf and make sure the toy room looks clean and tidy.

Any toys that were brought to other areas of the house need to be brought back into the toy room and put away neatly.

Help Set the Dinner Table

I let Charlie and Claire put napkins, silverware, and any other items that are not breakable on the table as I prepare dinner.

It gives them some responsibility and keeps them busy while I finish the final details of dinner!

They also feel involved and so proud when we all sit down to eat as a family and they contributed to dinner setup!

Put Dishes in Sink When Done Eating

I’ve recently started asking the kids to bring their dishes to the sink when they are done eating.

I realized everyone would eat and run to play and I would end up cleaning the table and kitchen with Jason.

I thought this would be a good time to start having them be aware of their kitchen manners.

Table manners are so important and when they are a guest at someone else’s house when they are older, I want them to know they need to help clean up the table before being excused.

It’s just good, basic manners and better to teach them young!

Throw Garbage Away

After eating, snack time, craft time or anytime there is garbage, I ask them to throw their own garbage in the trash.

We also try to keep the habit of having them bring any garbage from their car seat cup holders inside to throw away as well.

This might seem like such a small chore, but its a good one to get them started on, especially the little ones because it’s quick and easy to follow.

Help Empty the Dishwasher

Charlie and Claire have both always loved helping me empty the dishwasher.

Of course, I take out all of the knives and fragile items first, but they love helping with silverware, bowls, and everything else!

This past Friday we re-organized the toy room again and put a few more toys in the garage that they aren’t playing with right now.

I noticed that when the toy room is clean and organized, we spend more time in there and the kids actually play with their toys more, since they can find them!

My kids are 3 and 6 right now and these are the chores that we are currently having them do.

As they get older, these will definitely change as we give them more responsibility, but I think this is a pretty good starter list if you are trying to introduce chores to your little ones!

Now that we are quarantined for the most part, it’s a great time to start introducing chores!

We are in the house so much, it is the perfect time to build some healthy habits for our little ones!

A clean house is a happy house!

When did you start doing chores with your kids and what chores are they doing?

Leave them in the comments below!

Storage baskets
Book storage
Woven basket
Woven basket

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