We spend the first few years of our children’s lives helping them with everything. We feed them and clothe them, bathe them and burp them. Our babies need us. But as our children get older, they become more capable of helping out around the house. Part of preparing your kids for the rest of their lives is teaching them to clean up after themselves, so it’s a good idea to start giving kids simple, age-appropriate chores early on. If you’re wondering where to start, check out our list and start enjoying the added help.

Mother and daughter putting laundry away in dresser drawer in bedroom

1. Loading and unloading washing machines. This is one of the easiest things for young kiddos to do. Little ones as young as three can help with this easy task. Simply sort the laundry ahead of time, throw it in a basket, and ask your child to throw everything in the basket into the machine. When it’s time to switch, you might need to dig into the wet clothes yourself, but you can hand it off as they dunk it into the dryer.

2. Folding laundry. If you’re very particular about how laundry is folded (like, say, you’re doing the KonMari method of folding), you might want to skip this one. However, your child can certainly help with simple things like small towels (which usually only need to be folded over once or twice). Your child can also help you by pairing up socks and rolling them up. They use their matching skills for this and you get to enjoy doing other things for a change.

3. Putting away silverware. Most washing machines come with a handy basket for silverware. Pull this out once it’s done washing, and grab a step stool for your child to stand on and have a better look of the silverware drawer. Then, ask them to put away the spoons and forks in their appropriate areas. It might take them some time, but they’ll get it eventually. Just make sure the knives are all out of reach.

4. Picking up and putting away toys. Most children actually love to help and can be quite useful so long as their toys all have a home. Set up your child’s room so they can easily take out and put away their toys (preferably in some category that makes sense to them, like “balls” and “cars” and “art supplies”). You can also set up a timer so they can compete against themselves for the best time, or you can have a reward chart for them for keeping their room tidy.

5. Setting and clearing the table. While breakfasts might all be eaten in a rush, and lunches might be done separately, you might be able to get your kiddo to help set the table at dinnertime. Either hand them the plates (or get them a step stool to reach them themselves once they’re old enough), and have them distribute them along with silverware, cups, and napkins. As they get older, they can even help distribute food or pour beverages, and then clear everything back to the kitchen sink at the very end.

What are some chores you give to your young kiddos? Let us know with a tweet @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)