Some reading this might think that a five-year-old child is too young to do chores. A child could actually begin doing chores at five or even younger if you think about it.
No, we're talking about full on must-dos that have to check off a list in order to get an allowance or special privileges. We're looking at small, helpful tasks you can do together when the time is right and your child is in a good place emotionally to help.
Chores are essential in creating a sense of purpose in your child. A child who has no chores misses out on an opportunity for a sense of accomplishment.
Responsibility is what you’re trying to teach your child by having them do helpful things around the house.
Face it, life is full of work, and no one is too young to begin working on that. By teaching your child the value of hard work early on, you’re giving them the mindset required to be successful later on in life.
That said, we only have one childhood and we need to remember that. So it's important that “chores” for a five year old be fitting with their age and emotional and physical levels.
Here are some chores that your five-year-old can do safely and that you can actually have some fun doing together or overseeing:
1. Empty Small Trash Cans
Do you have small trash cans in your home? We’re talking about trash cans that might be in the bathroom or your home office.
If so, emptying those trash cans is a perfect task for a five-year-old since they are small and are often filled with lightweight trash.
2. Make Their Bed
A child who learns how to make their bed and does so in the morning starts the day off on the right foot. You don’t need to go over the top and make sure that you can bounce a quarter off of your child’s bed.
Have your child make their bed look neat and not like a total mess and consider it a victory.
3. Put Away or Gather Dirty the Laundry
Laundry is always a chore that most people dread. Why not make it a little easier on yourself by having your child put away the clean clothes or gather dirty towels?
You take the clothes out of the drier, fold them, and have your child put them away. Or if easier, give them a basket to collect the items for the next dirty load.
4. Wipe Window Sills Clean
A damp rag is all it takes to clean the window sills. Cleaning the window sills is a simple task that requires little skill, but it will make your child feel as if they’re helpful around the house.
5. Pick up and Put Away Their Toys
Some will immediately say that a five-year-old should already know to pick up their toys and put them away.
You’re right about that, but many kids and grown-ups alike forget to put away their toys. A child must know that everything has a place, and it’s essential that things are put there.
This is also a good first step to helping them learn how to tidy their rooms regularly.
6. Do Simple Tasks in the Garden
If you have a garden, it’s good to put your child to work in it. You can have your child pull weeds, look for debris, or even use a little watering can to water plants.
A five-year-old can also do things like pick tomatoes and whatever else is ripe.
7. Unload the Silverware from the Dishwasher
You probably don’t want your five-year-old to take out your nice dishes from the dishwasher. The last thing you want is to have to clean up a broken plate off of the floor.
There is no risk of breakage when it comes to taking the silverware out of the dishwasher. If you put knives in the dishwasher, you will want to remove them before asking your child to take out the silverware.
8. Put Water and Food in the Pet Bowl
If you have a cat or a dog, it’s probably because of your child. It seems that children are always eager to get a pet, but never want to take care of it.
Having your child fill the pet’s water and food bowls is a good way to inject a little responsibility into their lives.
9. Carry Groceries from the Car to Inside
Obviously, you aren’t going to want your child to carry in a 50-pound bag of potatoes. But, there are plenty of things such as packs of toilet paper, paper towels, and other lightweight items that your child can carry inside from your car after a shopping trip.
Out kids always love to carry the fresh fruits and veggies with their hands.
10. Clean up Spills with a Sponge or a Rag
Kids and spills go together like peanut butter and jelly. Teaching your kid to clean up a spill is a must since it’s going to happen quite a bit.
The child must understand the importance of cleaning up the spill as fast as possible, so it doesn’t cause any long-term damage to whatever surface the liquid is on.
11. Getting Dressed in the Morning
You might as well have your child pick out their outfit too. There is no reason why a five-year-old can’t dress themselves.
Your five year old may need a little help choosing the appropriate clothes for the weather, but other than that, there’s no reason for them not to be on their own.
12. Taking the Recycling to the Curb
Some cities make you separate the recycling from the trash. If your city does this or allows you to separate it on your own, let your child take it to the curb.
You can carry the heavy trash bags while your child brings the recycling. A good side benefit from this chore is your teaching them about the importance of recycling.
13. Clear Their Plate after Eating
Even the hungriest little kid will have debris on their plate, such as chicken bones or other things. A good chore is to have your child clean their plate after eating. It’s a quick and simple task, but it’ll make washing the dishes so much easier.
14. Help Get Ingredients While You’re Cooking
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the refrigerator or the pantry, a helping hand is helpful to have while cooking. Children love to help in the kitchen, which is one of those tasks that they can do without any problems.
Of course, you aren’t going to want to ask for items in the freezer or anything in the pantry that would require them to stand on a chair to reach them.
Don’t Put off Having Your Child Do Chores
It’s a big mistake to put off chores at five years old because you’re going to make your child lazy. As you already know, your actions now will have a impact later on in life. Start your kids young, make it fun and this “hard work” on your part will pay off.
You’re not harming your child by asking them to do chores; you’re hurting them if you expect them to do nothing.