Responsbilities for Little Ones

Laundry, housework, making meals, these seem to be never ending. In our family we call these responsibilities, everyone has responsibilities, daddy, mommy, and the little ones.

“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10


While these responsibilities feel never ending they are a necessity for a efficient and functioning home and family. I believe that including your little ones in these responsibilities teaches valuable lessons:

  1. How to work on a team
  2. That they are part of a family
  3. How to work hard
  4. Working together can be a time to bond
  5. Skills for cleaning, organization, and caring for what God has given us

So how does this work in our family? My little ones started to be part of the household responsibilities from day 1. Before they could roll over they spent time with me when I folded laundry or they bounced in their chair next to me while I did dishes. As they grew and began to walk they helped as a team pick up toys. As they matured their responsibilities increased. Here is a sampling of their current responsibilities (which vary by the day).

My 5 Year Old:

  1. Clears her dishes after eating
  2. Rinses dirty dishes for me to load
  3. Cleans up spilled liquids or foods
  4. Puts dirty clothes away
  5. Brings laundry to washer, loads and starts washer and dryer and puts clothes away
  6. Makes her bed
  7. Cleans up toys after quiet time
  8. Cleans up toys in play room
  9. Wipes down bathrooms in the mornings
  10. Assists with cleaning bathroom by cleaning sinks and baseboards
  11. Assists in cleaning windows
  12. Assists with making dinner (measures and mixes ingredients for crusts etc., browns meats, cooks eggs, cooks toast, etc.)

My 3 Year Old:

  1. Clears dishes after eating
  2. Unloads dishwasher
  3. Sets the table
  4. Cleans up spilled liquids or foods
  5. Puts dirty clothes away
  6. Puts away clean socks, underwear and pants
  7. Under guidance cleans up toys after quiet time
  8. Helps clean up toys in play room
  9. Assists with cleaning the bathroom

My 18 Month Old:

  1. Throws away garbage when directed
  2. Helps pick up toys
  3. Clears dishes with guidance

Responsibilities for your little ones may vary in your house. They are based on what needs to be done, the maturity of the child, and the time you have put into training your child. My children have always had an interest in “helping” me around the house, it is something we have made into teamwork. Before they could do much they would whirl around behind me “vacuuming” with brooms or mops or any other items we could find. They would “pre-wash” the windows for me with rags and spray bottles. As they grew I began to give them more responsibility, but we still did it together. When my 5 year old started rinsing dishes, I showed her how to do it and I cleaned the kitchen with her so I was there to help as she learned.

If you aren’t sure where to start, just give them something similar to what you are using, they will have fun copying you, they may even be helpful. Watch them and where they are, teach them and show them how they can be helpful. It may take more time, and may not be perfect, but the important part is the teamwork and their efforts. Sometimes when I open the silverware drawer the big and little forks are mixed and when the table is set dishes look a little crazy, but they did their best and they were happy, and had fun doing it, isn’t that more important than perfection?

We work hard, then play hard, we are team, we are a family:

 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Pre-washing the dishes so I can load them