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15 Chore Ideas for 4-Year-Olds

15 Chore Ideas for 4-Year-Olds -- Love these practical ideas for teaching your children to enjoy doing chores. Plus, some chore ideas you may not have thought of assigning to a young child. Great list!

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:

20 Chore Ideas for 7-Year-Olds

10 Chore Ideas for Toddlers

What chores do your 4-year-olds do? I’d love to hear other ideas!

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86 Comments

  • Missi says:

    My four year old is a Chore Star in our home! Some that I didnt see mentioned:
    He flushes the toilet in the kids bathroom every morning (my kids are really bad about not flushing!)
    Wipes the table down after meals
    Brings down the dirty laundry for me 🙂

  • amanda says:

    Love this list – there are some I hadn’t thought of before. When I’m mopping my girls (2 and 4) like to use handheld scrub brushes while I use the big mop. Perfect because then I don’t have to bend down so much…

  • Samantha says:

    Thank you for this list! I have been thinking about giving my 4 year old chores, but wasn’t sure where to start and now I do!

  • Jennifer says:

    I will give my daughter a bottle of vinegar water and a window cloth and she will go to town cleaning windows and mirrors. Granted I have to go back over them but she loves it!

  • Jamie says:

    My 4 1/2 year old LOVES to wash windows and mirrors..

  • Steph says:

    I’m no mom – in fact, I’m still in college! But I’m amazed you can get your four-year-old to do these things willingly! Great parenting!! =) I hope I can pull this off too someday.

  • Jennifer says:

    Love your post. I’m wondering if you know where your dad got those mops. That is a chore my kids would love to do…and I would love help with.

  • Sarah J. says:

    love this! my boys (2&4) work together to clean out the dishwasher. but i’m totally going to start working with my 4 year old to clean the bathroom (especially since my little boys are most of the reason for the mess!) 🙂 thanks for a great post!

  • Krystyna says:

    My son just turned four and some of his chores involve taking care of our pets. One of his chores is to give the dog water. I don’t let him fill the bowl directly. He fills a cup and pours it in the bowl. I also let him give the dog treats, and he can open the door to let her in and out.

    Thanks for the suggestions on other chores!

  • Jennifer S says:

    4 year olds are at a stage where they love rules. Anything you can explain to them in a logical, here’s-how-it’s-done way really works for them. (They’re also very good at tattling when someone isn’t following “the rules” 😉 My kids at 4 have really done well with picture chore charts. They can’t read, but I explain the process and draw the pictures to correspond, and after only a couple sessions with my help they can remember (or follow the pictures) and do a good job with their chore. They have always gotten such satisfaction from sticking that cheap, simple little foil star sticker onto their chore chart! It builds their self-confidence and focusing skills, and I’m always amazed at how helpful it is for me to have even those small tasks accomplished! (Putting away the silverware while I unload the other dishes is my current 4 year old’s favorite job. Other chores on her chart include putting her pj’s away, getting dressed, brushing her hair and teeth, and eating breakfast. When each chore is done she gets to mark it off, and now it’s become a routine she’s really good at.)

  • Cristel says:

    I taught both of my boys (4 & 13) to turn the washing machine on, with the powder and putting the clothes in very early. Now my 4 year old jumps up, grabs his chair and does it himself. It’s great! He loves to wash dishes (plastic ones), alongside me as well. They both love cooking so much I’m almost irrelevant in the kitchen haha

  • Chris says:

    We got a small vacuum at the thrift store (it’s like a dust buster with a handle) for my little one to vacuum.

    We must have a tall trash can (or short kids). There is no way my 5 year old could take out the kitchen trash. The bathroom trash though, that can happen.

    Wipe down door handles and clearing the table is left to the 3 year old though. They fight over who gets to dust though lol.

  • Hope Henchey says:

    This was so helpful! I’m so glad I found it. Thank you!

  • Jess says:

    We have a step ladder under the washing line..
    My 4yo boy loves climbing the ladder, and pegging his own washing out and bringing it in.

    He matches the colours of the pegs and counts EVERYTHING

    and enjoys practicing his shot by throwing his clothes into the basket..

    Yes you do have to do some re adjusting or help him hold some things, but all in all he does a pretty good job!

  • Elena says:

    I am a mother of kids from 1,3,5,7,9,and 10yrs old i have dificulty of hot to punish and what to do when they wont do their chore what should i do

    • Raquel says:

      I suggest to take away what they love to play with around the house. Stick with it… They should not be allowed to do notung but their chorus. Set up time to do chorus. This way they know is time to do just that chore. It all takes time to get them in schedule mode. Think of it like butt camp for them and you are the solider learder. 🙂 I also found it helpful to write on a paper with each childs name and write their chorus. They i would place it on the wall where they see it ever day. Also a list of respectful rules for the home. This will reinforce what you want to happen in your home. I hope all this helps.

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