Research shows that when it comes to starting chores, the younger the better. And one sure-fire way to make implementing chores a whole lot easier is a chore chart.
Chore charts have 2 major functions:
- provide visual reminders of what your child needs to do
- Give your child a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when they get to check a task off their chart
And this free printable picture chore chart is perfect for helping younger kids—toddlers and preschoolers—start a daily routine that includes chores.
By the end of this post you’ll:
- Understand why chores help kids be happy and successful
- Know how to introduce chores to your child
- download the free picture chore chart pdf
- have a list of age-appropriate chores for young kids (2-4 year old)
Are you as excited as me? Good. Let’s get started!
WHY YOUNG KIDS NEED CHORES
As a parent, it can be a struggle to know exactly when to start your kids doing chores. And truth is, most of us wait too long to include our kids in household tasks.
In fact, most experts recommend starting chores when children are just toddlers. Why? Because toddlers are naturally helpful. Starting young means tapping into into that natural desire to be helpful.
And since toddlers are inefficient (yet adorable) little creatures, it’s going to take more patience and effort on your part.
But it’s worth it because not only do children who do chores more responsible and have more self-esteem, they also grow up to be more successful adults.
In fact, a University of Minnesota study determined that the best predictor of young adults’ success in their 20s was that they participated in household tasks when they were three or four.
And the Harvard Grant study (an epic study of adult success) found that kids who did chores where happier and more successful later in life.
So chores are GREAT for kids. And that fact that you’re even here on this page reading about it shows that you want to get your kids going on chores.
Which means you’re on the right track as a parent. Wahoo!!!
HOW TO GET YOUR KIDS TO DO CHORES
You know chores are important, but next comes the question of “How do I actually get my kids to do chores?”
Here’s a few suggestions to help you get started:
Include Your Child in What You’re Doing
As you do your daily tasks around your home, include your little ones. Tell them what you’re doing and get them to help in a small way.
This not only teaches them important skills, it also strengthens your relationship and provides sweet bonding moments.
Some ideas to get started:
- Let them measure and stir while you prepare meals.
- Have them help you divide out laundry by color
- Have them help you put clothes in the washer or move clothes from washer to dryer.
- Show them how to fold washcloths or dishtowels and allow them to practice while to tackle the other folding.
- Help them unload cups or silverware from dishwasher
- Get them a small hand broom and have them help clean the floor.
This may involve a mindset shift for some of us. Because in our quest to be efficient and do ALL THE THINGS, we want to barrel through and just get it all done ourselves.
But we miss organic opportunities to teach our children important tasks that help our households run smoothly.
Personally, changing my mindset and slowing down to think about how I could include my children had had such a massive impact in my house. My kids get so excited to help me with my chores around the house. And they blow me away by how capable they’ve become. And best of all, we’ve had some really awesome conversation while we work side-by-side.
As suggested above, kids learn best when they just learn part of a bigger task. Break down household chores into small tasks that they can manage.
If you’re picking up a messy floor, have them first pick up all the trash. Then move onto the blocks (or whatever). Breaking to down with clear instructions helps your child learn expectations.
Give Praise & Encouragement, Not Toys or Treats
The best reward for completing chores is feeling helpful and capable. It’s not toys or other tangible rewards.
In fact, a study of toddlers showed that young kids given a toy after helping were LESS motivated to help out again.
Kids want to feel needed and part of the group. Participating in chores and household tasks helps them feel like an important part of the family.
THE PICTURE CHORE CHART FOR PRESCHOOL KIDS & TODDLERS
This simple chore chart with pictures helps kids get on a daily routine and start participating in chores. The set tasks are all things that children should do everyday with the added “extra chore” to allow you to assign an extra daily chore.
The tasks listed are:
- Brush Teeth
- Make Bed
- Get Dressed
- Pick up Toys
While the chores above are basic daily tasks for small children, children benefit from doing chores that contribute to the greater good of the household. For example:
- dusting surfaces
- unloading cups & silverware
- folding wash clothes
- throwing away trash
The “Extra Chore” allows you to add on a chore of your choice each day to help keep your house running.
(A more comprehensive list of age-appropriate chores and chore ideas, check out the list near the bottom of this post.)
RELATED: Printable Age-Appropriate Chore Chart
HOW TO USE THE PICTURE CHORE CHART
This free picture chore chart (which you can download at the bottom of this post) includes the following:
- Instructions for use
- 3 different chore chart color choices
- list of age appropriate chores
- 3 different “check mark” styles to use on your chart
Personally, investing in an inexpensive laminator is well worth it as a mom. I caved and bought one a couple years ago and I haven’t looked back.
When setting it up your chart, I recommend the following 3 methods:
1) DRY ERASE MARKER METHOD
- Using a laminating sheet, laminate your sheet after printing.
- Then simply hang your chart in a convenient location.
- When your child completes a task, they can check it off with a dry erase marker.
- Then, you just wipe it clean as you start a new day!
This is certainly the easiest to set up. But having dry erase markers handy might not be the best idea for your little one. If not, read on!
2) MAGNET METHOD
- Magnetic board or cookie sheet (this magnetic clipboard is pictured)
- 6 magnets to use a “checkmarks” OR sticky-backed magnet strip with the printed out checkmarks (included in download)
- Optional: laminator and laminator sheet
- Print and laminate chore chart.
- For the magnets, you have a couple different options: you can just use 6 magnets as checkmarks (like these) or you can create your own magnetic checkmarks with a strip of sticky-backed flexible magnet.
- If you choose to make your own checkmarks, cut out the checkmarks (on page 5 of the download) and also cut 6 small magnet pieces from your strip. I recommend laminating the printed and cut checkmarks before attaching the magnet.
- To attach the magnet, peel off the sticky strip and apply to the back of the checkmark.
- Then, place chart on a magnet board in a convenient spot. Once the child completes a task, they can move a magnet to “check off” their chore.
- Move magnets to start each new day.
3) VELCRO METHOD
- After printing, laminate your chore chart.
- Cut out desired checkmarks (from page 5), laminate them, and then cut them out again. Once cut out, add a scratchy backed Velcro dot to the back of each one.
- Then, add a soft Velcro dot to each checkbox on the laminated chart.
- Hang chart in convenient spot and add Velcro dots as task are completed.
- As pictured, you can use a little envelope to store the Velcro dots.
A note about Velcro:
Velcro is made up of two sides that stick together—a soft side and a scratchy side. Two soft side or 2 scratchy sides will not stick together. They must be opposite.
So whether you do as I suggest and put scratchy on the checks and soft on the chart or do the exact opposite, you need to be consistent in order for everything to work properly.
AGE-APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR A 3-4 YEAR OLDS
- Fold washcloths and dishtowels
- Set table
- Unload silverware and cups
- Make bed
- Pick up Trash
- Brush hair
- Put toys away
- Put books away
- Dirty clothes in hamper
- Throw away trash
- Fill pet’s water and food bowls
- Match socks
- Brush teeth
- Sort laundry by color
RELATED: Printable Age-Appropriate Chore Chart
CUSTOMIZABLE PICTURE CHORE CHART
If you’re looking for something more comprehensive that you can customize to fit your child perfectly, then you may want to check out the Customizable Picture Chore Chart (pictured above) in The Incremental Mama Shop.
It comes with 10 different charts to choose from and had 36 different picture chore cards.
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRESCHOOL CHORE CHART
And there you have it! Everything you need to get your little one started on a daily routine that includes helping out around the house. Grab your freed download by signing up below. You’ll also gain access to an Exclusive Resource Library full of printables to help you get organized!
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Printable Age-Appropriate Chore Chart