Household chores your kids can help with

Teach your children valuable life skills. This is how you should go about it.

Encouraging children to assist with chores around the house can help them learn to be responsible and teach them valuable life skills.

In the long term, it will make your life easier. However, be prepared for things to take longer initially – and resist the temptation to do them yourself to save time.

In the kitchen

If you cook or bake with your children, getting them to help clean up afterwards is a good habit to get into.

Make washing dishes fun. For younger children, start with non-breakable items. Plastic plates, bowls and cups are ideal for honing washing-up skills.

  • Make sure the water is the right temperature for small hands.
  • Provide a sturdy, non-slip step for them to stand on so they can comfortably reach the sink.
  • Give them their own colourful drying-up towel and small washing-up gloves.

Ask your children to place their plates in the dishwasher or sink after each meal. Older children can also help to empty or load the dishwasher.

Show them how to wipe down the kitchen cabinet doors and countertops. Begin by filling an old spray bottle with water, give each child a microfibre cloth, then show them how to squirt and buff. Even if the results are not quite the same as when you do this job, a bit of extra help from them can help you stay on top of things. Alternatively, show your kid how to spray water onto a cloth to dampen it and then help with the dusting.

In the bedroom

Even very young children can put their pyjamas under their pillows and straighten their duvets when they get up in the morning. Older children can learn to fold their pyjamas neatly before putting them under the pillow.

Getting your children to strip the bedding off beds will help speed up the process of washing sheets and other bedding. Then, as they get older, show them how to put a pillowcase onto a pillow and tuck fitted sheet corners under a mattress. Once they have mastered these tasks, you can show them how to change a duvet cover.


Getting your children to take care of family pets is a great way to teach them responsibility. In addition to feeding cats, dogs, birds and other pets get them to help clean bowls, cages, tanks and beds.

Also, show your kids how to use lint rollers to remove pet hair from clothing and furniture. These are inexpensive and easy for even younger children to use.

In the bathroom

For some reason, getting children to hang up their towels after a bath or a shower is often a struggle. Encourage yours to hang towels on a towel rack or a hook placed at the right height for them rather than leave them lying on the floor.


Encourage your children to take good care of their clothes and shoes from an early age.

  • Shoes should be cleaned before being put away in the cupboard, especially if muddy or scuffed. Older children can polish their shoes and younger children can brush off mud or dirt outside using a cloth or toothbrush dipped in a mixture of water and washing-up liquid.
  • When taking off soiled clothes, get them to put all the items in the laundry basket. If the laundry basket is some distance from their room, consider providing a small laundry basket for each room. Then, when washing day comes, get everyone to bring their baskets to the kitchen or laundry area.
  • Let them sort the clothes into whites and colours. Explain that this is to prevent coloured clothes from staining the whites in the washing machine.
  • Get little ones to hand out the pegs when you hang the washing on the line. Then, when they are tall enough, let them hang out the washing.
  • Even young children can help match socks as they come off the line or out of the tumble dryer.

Green fingers

To motivate them to help in the garden, give each child a corner of the garden – or a container – to grow plants in and get them to help rake up leaves and sweep pathways and patios.

Make them responsible for watering the container plants indoors and out every week. Provide an appropriate-sized watering can and only fill it with as much water as your child can comfortably lift and pour. With very small children, place your indoor houseplants in the sink or on a tray so they can water them without flooding the floor.


Washing the car is great for getting the whole family to work as a team. Even small children can do small jobs like cleaning the hubcaps or wheel rims with a bucket of warm, soapy water and a sponge. Once your children have grown a bit, they can take over your job of cleaning the car roof.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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