Yesterday, I posted about 10 Chore Ideas for Toddlers. Today, I’m going to share some chore ideas for 4-year-olds.
Why 4-year-olds? Well, because I happen to have a 4-year-old right now. However, don’t feel like these chores are only appropriate for 4-year-olds. They’d probably work great for children of other ages, too.
3 Important Things to Remember
1. Children Need to Know What You Expect of Them
If you don’t show your children how to do a job well, you can’t expect them to know how to do it right. Before asking them to do a chore on their own, work alongside them a few times showing them specifically how to do it.
2. Don’t Expect Them To Do It Well–Especially At First
It often takes a lot of repetitive teaching, gentle correcting, and practice before a child can do a job well. Don’t expect perfection–especially when they are young. What matters is that they are putting forth effort and trying their best.
3. Praise 10 Times As Much As You Correct
It’s easy to want to focus on pointing out all the things a child does wrong and where they need to improve. Instead of dwelling on what they didn’t do right, focus most of your energies on praising those things they did well. Encouragement and affirmation go a very long way!
Looking for more ideas for teaching children to serve? Get the Teach Me To Serve: 99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others. This ebook includes 99 ideas for ways preschoolers can serve in the home, in your neighborhood, in the community, and in your church. Many of the ideas were very original and a number of them I highly doubt I ever would have thought of on my own.
15 Chore Ideas for 4-Year-Olds
Children at this age are probably able to dress themselves, brush their teeth, and comb their hair. If they aren’t doing these things on their own, I’d encourage you to start by teaching them those chores.
1. Pick Up Their Room — Make sure you show your child exactly what a clean room looks like. And if their room is really messy, I’d suggest working with them to clean it and giving them one specific project to work on at a time. Young children are often still learning the concept of staying on task, so you want to make sure you don’t overwhelm them by giving them too large of a task to accomplish then they are ready to tackle.
2. Vacuum – If you have a vacuum with an attachment, they can use the attachments on furniture or small areas in your home. Kaitlynn also can vacuum one room, with a little help from me.
3. Water Plants — Use a plastic watering can (we found ours at the dollar store or you can make one from a milk jug) to make it fun and easy for small hands.
4. Fold Washcloths, Hand Towels, Underwear, & Other Small Items – I often will sort these out from the big laundry pile and make a small pile for each child to fold, based upon their folding abilities.
5. Sort & Fold Socks — Sorting and folding socks can be a fun job for little people. And you can teach matching, colors, and counting with it, too.
6. Put Away Laundry — When the girls help with laundry, I have each of them put away their own laundry plus sometimes some towels. It’s amazing how much more quickly things get put away when multiple people are working together!
7. Dust/Wipe Down Surfaces — 4-year-olds are great at cleaning baseboards, small floor areas, wiping down cupboards, or dusting surfaces. If you have a feather duster, they might have fun trying that out, too!
8. Wipe Down Sink/Toilet — Cleaning wipes work especially well for young children to use. Or, you can spray some nontoxic cleaner onto a rag and let them wipe down the sink, toilet, or floor in the bathroom. Kaitlynn is also learning how to clean the toilet with the toilet brush, with my supervision.
9. Empty Trashes — 4-year-olds are usually big enough and strong enough to tie up the trash bag and haul it out to the garage or back door.
10. Wipe Down Door Handles — Give your child a cleaning wipe or a damp rag and have them wipe down all the door handles. This is a favorite chore at our house!
11. Clear the Table – Teach your children to clear their plates after each meal (our children are still working on doing this without needing to be reminded!)
12. Rinse Dishes/Load Dishwasher –A 4-year-old is usually old enough to stand on a chair at the kitchen sink and rinse nonbreakable dishes (be sure to remove the knives and other sharp or dangerous objects before letting them do this). They can also help to load silverware and other nonbreakable dishes into the dishwasher.
13. Simple Meal Prep — Kaitlynn has learned how to pour cereal/milk, make toast and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and pop popcorn on her own. She also often helps me when I’m cooking.
14. Set the Table — Teach your children how to set the table correctly from the time they are young–it’s a skill many adults still don’t know!
15. Mop — My dad got the girls child-sized mops for Christmas and they love them. And while Kaitlynn is still working on perfecting her mopping skills, she does a pretty good job at mopping a small area.
Have you heard of My Job Chart? It’s a free, easy-to-use, online chore chart and reward system for organizing and motivating your kids to learn first hand how to Save, Share, and Spend.
We have used this program in the past when we had some children who were feeling unmotivated to do their chores. We were amazed at how well it worked and would definitely recommend it!
Looking for other age-appropriate chore ideas? You might find these chore lists helpful:
What chores do your 4-year-olds do? I’d love to hear other ideas!