Help your home stay clean and more organized while building confidence along the way! Here are 10 ways kids can help at home.
Raising responsible kids is a balance between having fun and providing opportunities for them to learn and grow. Today I wanted to share some chores for kids that I have implemented in my home. Because keeping a household functioning properly takes a lot of work. But if we all work together, things run more smoothly, and everyone – even the kids – benefits!
How kids can help at home – 10 Chores to Build Confidence
1. Make their own bed.
One of my favorite ways that kids can help at home is with their laundry. There is something so nice about having all the beds made each day that makes my home feel pulled together… even if everything else is a disaster. So I implemented a rule (it’s more like a tradition now) where each child starts making her bed at age 5 every day – and I mean every day. (You, too, also have to make your bed to set a good example!)
When my daughters make their beds, I never touch them – no matter what. If you go and make the bed “better”, your child will feel like their efforts weren’t quite good enough. And you’ll be amazed by how fast they get good at it!
Three of my four daughters have now crossed into the world of bed-making, and it’s just something we do in our house – there is no whining anymore. My third daughter actually couldn’t wait to make her bed on her 5th birthday. She ran in and woke me up that morning, dragging me out of bed to show me her room.
Being able to make your own bed is a sign that you’re growing up! And having beds made in each room really makes a huge difference in making your home feel organized – and you didn’t have to be the one racing around making them all! We all win!
A Note About Baby Blankets:
Our girls also give up their blankets at age 5 (as I mention in this post with 10 things to think about before your child starts kindergarten ). So, if they can show us that they’re grown up enough to make their beds and sleep without a blanket, they can get their ears pierced whenever they’re feeling brave! That’s our deal. Turning five is serious business around here. 🙂
2. Bring Laundry to the Laundry Room.
First, remove all hampers from your kids rooms. I know this might seem counterintuitive, but removing our kids’ hampers from their bedrooms has helped our home stay much more organized! Each night, they need to walk their dirty clothing to the laundry room (or my husband or I will grab it from them when we tuck them in). It takes just a bit of effort to walk everything to the laundry room, but then all the dirty clothing is in one place. Their rooms stay so much neater, and it’s easier to keep track of the laundry as well.
3. Sort Laundry
Another favorite laundry tip: label a divided so your kids can help you sort correctly. My kids walk into the laundry room, and they can correctly sort their clothes, even before they can read. When they are little, they actually think it’s kind of fun. Matching the colors is like a game to them!
4. Put Laundry Away
Are you the laundry fairy? One day I realized that I was just that. My kids would open their drawers, and clean clothes would magically appear. So I began stacking their laundry on their beds; now they are responsible for putting it away. I don’t think that’s too much to ask after I’ve washed and folded it all! (Until about age 5-6, they might need a little help, though, or your folding will be a waste of time as they shove everything in their drawers!) I get my work done more quickly this way, and it teaches them to pitch in. Our family is a team, and I want them to understand that.
5. Stack Laundry Vertically in Drawers
Something I implemented years ago was to avoid stacking your clothing in piles and make everything is visible. Almost every drawer in our house is arranged this way now (including my own!), and I can’t begin to tell you how great it is! For kids, especially, it helps them see exactly what they want so they aren’t rummaging through their drawers frantically in search of something. You can also fit a lot more in drawers this way! Kids also will wear a larger variety of their clothing – they won’t just keep returning to whatever is on top.
6. Everyone Dresses Themselves
I am a huge fan of encouraging my kids to dress themselves as soon as they’re able (there are a lot of crazy outfits between the ages of 3-6!). And as I said above in #4, I also ask them to put their clothing away. But they can’t do either of these things if they can’t reach their stuff! Take a look around your child’s room – if you store most clothing up out of their reach, maybe you can move some things around to help them become more independent – and that helps you get time back in your day, too!
7. Hang Towels to Dry on Low Hooks
Just as you want your kids to be able to reach their clothing, it would help them if they could hang up their own towels as well. When we did some renovating recently, we installed hooks for the kids down low. They’re no longer throwing their towels up toward the towel bar (where everything often ends up in a wet heap on the floor)! You can also dry more towels at once this way (and more thoroughly), which allows the towels to be used a few times – and that cuts down on your laundry, too! (Are you seeing a pattern here?!)
8. Kids + Dishes
Another way that kids can help at home is with dishes. In keeping with the “can your kids reach?” theme, it’s also helpful if you store your kids’ dishes down low. Your children can then help set the table, unload the dishwasher, or even simply grab a cup to get water for themselves. The more you teach your child to do on his/her own, the better off you’ll both be!
9. Unpack and Keep Track of Their Own Backpack
I’ve found that it’s so important to have a designated place for kids to keep their backpacks. Mudrooms are great, but even if you simply place a chair in your entryway as your “backpack spot”, that will do the trick! One of the chores for kids we implement is that our girls are expected to unload their bags (I don’t need to go fishing for their lunchboxes each night – I ask them to bring them to the kitchen for me), and then they also pack up their bags each morning. When you have a set routine like this, it helps the whole family stay more organized – and it’s always great to start teaching your kids young to be responsible for their own things.
10. Label your Toy Bins
Among the 100+ organizing tips I share in this popular post, this toy bin tip is one of my favorites! I created some labels with pictures to help my kids put their toys away in the right spot – even the non-readers could just follow the pictures. I’m far from the “neat-police” when it comes to toys (I want them to be having fun!), but when the toys get completely mixed up, it makes it hard for the kids to play when pieces are missing, etc. This picture system has made a world of difference in our house – they can find what they need now (well, most of the time, anyway!).
Here are a few more chores for kids + ideas to keep your home tidy:
Household Tips + Chores for Kids
I hope you’re on your way to feeling more organized around your house! Your kids will soon feel proud and more self-sufficient as well! Good luck!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Christy is the creative mom of 4 and author of the blog Harvard Homemaker. Christy was a contributor to Somewhat Simple in 2015.
Such a great post! my son is 1yr old and I’m already trying to teach him to clean up after himself. Sometimes it takes more time than doing it myself, but I believe this is a good investment in future .
I totally agree!
Love this so much! My oldest just turned 5 and I love the practical ways you show how a kid his age Can help. Thanks!’
Super thanks!!! This is very helpful 😉
Fantastic article – just what I needed to read on this rainy Saturday morning! Especially love the backpack tips and laundry sorting – can’t wait to put this into use!
Thanks, Anissa! I hope a few of the tips work for you!
Great post!! My kids are in college now, but I REALLY wish I’d had some advice like this back when they were little!
It has taken me until middle age to learn some of these lessons, you are a super mom to have so much together and a giving spirit to share it with others 🙂
You are sweet, Carin. Thank you! Just like any mom, I feel like I’m hanging by a thread half the time, but I try my best! 🙂 Take care!
Christy- what did you study at Harvard? Just curious since it says you are a stay at home mom. You seem to love it so just wondering what you did before.
Hi Victoria! I studied psychology. I did particularly enjoy developmental psychology, so maybe that was a sign back then that I would really love all this mom stuff! 🙂
These are great tips! I just wish I was good at follow-through! 🙂
You can do it, Dorothy! 🙂 Thanks for the note!
Love this!!! My kids love to make their beds and we just installed lower hooks so they could hang up their own towels.
Kellee, I think you’ll love the hooks! We did it a couple years back, and I can’t believe how much neater the bathroom stays now! The poor things could never reach the towel rod before – not their fault! And the bed-making “rule” is one of my favorites – it’s become like a rite of passage around here! Thanks for the note!
Hey Christy, I am trying most of these things but have to remind the kids CONSTANTLY. They never seem to do it on their own and I’ve been at for at least a year or two. I drives me CRAZY. It has not become a routine at all. Heck, I still need to remind them to flush the toilet!!! Sigh. Also, I cannot remove the hampers from their room. Our laundry room is 2 stairs down in the basement and the kids won’t be going there when they’re upstairs getting ready for bed. I think it actually helped a little keeping dirty clothes of the floor by getting them their own hamper. But boy, how come nothing becomes a routine with my girls??? 🙁
Hi Cecile! Fun to “chat’ with you here at Somewhat Simple! 🙂 Maybe you could try having some consequences for a few of these things – like my kiddos can’t watch TV, etc. if their beds aren’t made. We moms always have to do some reminding, but I find that if you just keep trying and you stay consistent, eventually they really do stop whining (for the most part) and it becomes a habit – especially as they get older. My third (just turned 7) definitely needs the most reminding, but my older two (11 & 9) are pretty automatic with this stuff now. Good luck!! xo
Yes fun it is to keep in touch with you! My oldest (twins) are 7 so it might be their age that’s the problem lol. I’ll just keep at it and write down a list on the white board of things they need to do. Good one, no tv before it’s done! Ha! 🙂
Yes, the TV rule works wonders!! Take care!
Oh, I’m so glad! Thanks, Stephanie! I hope some parents out there find a few tips here that might work in their own home so they can feel more organized and get time back in their day! 🙂
LOVE this post Christy!!!! LOVE IT!!!!