Is it too early to give my child chores?

Toddlers and preschoolers love to help. You might start by asking your child to care for a plant. Caring for a plant is an age-appropriate way for your child to learn how to nurture and take care of another living thing. To get your child excited about his new responsibility, take him to a plant nursery and let him pick out his favorite plant (I recommend asking the salesperson for low maintenance options like spider plants) and a special watering can. If he is not interested in caring for a plant, there are many other age-appropriate “jobs” he might like to help you with. For example, he might enjoy transferring the laundry into the dryer, dusting, taking dishes into the kitchen after meals, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, feeding or walking the family pet, setting the table, or making his bed. To help him remember what “jobs” he has to do each day, make a chore chart and have him place a sticker or magnet over each chore he completes.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.