Chores For 5 Year Olds

Chores For 5 Year Olds
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If they are trying, that’s key because eventually they’ll get better. Capitalize on ANY enthusiasm they have. And try not to overly criticize.

15 Chores For 5 Year Olds That Are Actually Helpful

Mamas, if there’s one thing thats been worth some effort, it’s getting my kids to help with chores. There are plenty of chores for 5 year olds around our house, even though I didn’t start till recently. I’m guilty of not expecting enough of my kids because I’ve been a human vacuum for 5 years.

At first it was because they were too little to help, then it was because I’m just faster at it, and now…well…they’re no longer toddlers and it’s important to teach them to help!

Last updated January 2023

A 5 year old boy folding wash cloths on the floor next to his sister

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Why 5 year olds need chores

Right now I’m more about starting habits, and I think giving them chores helps them see mommy isn’t their servant. It also teaches them responsibility and follow through.

Don’t panic if your kids don’t do any chores yet, because you can start anytime. The best time to start is as soon as they are able. Kids need age appropriate chores for a few reasons.

  1. Teaches them being part of a family means helping
  2. Decreases entitlement and helps them not to be spoiled
  3. Starts a work ethic
  4. Teaches them to do a job well and not half way
  5. Introduces consequences of being messy (more to clean or put away)
  6. Allows them to be praised for doing a good job

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Be realistic when you ask your 5 year old to do chores

It’s hard for me to ask my kids to do some things because I can do most things faster and how I want it! It’s more work to teach them in the beginning because it can mean more spills and patience I don’t think I have some days. But here’s how I expect it to go at this age.

1. Chores won’t be done perfectly, and that’s ok

When it comes to 4 and 5 year olds doing chores, effort and a good attitude is everything! They be sloppier, spill when clearing their plate, or sort clothes into the wrong bins. They’re just kids!

If they are trying, that’s key because eventually they’ll get better. Capitalize on ANY enthusiasm they have. And try not to overly criticize.

2. Do one small task at a time, and be specific

This is super important! If I say “Clean up the living room”, they are clueless and overwhelmed. It works way better if I kind of stand by giving one instruction at a time. Here’s how we might clean up the living room before nap time:

  • First put all the dress up in the bin.
  • Great job! Now put the pillows on the couch.
  • Great job! Next put any kid clothes in a pile.
  • Awesome now run those to your room and put them in the right bins.

3. Do a chore when I ask

Since kids often don’t feel like helping, I think it’s important to do it when I ask and not just if it seems fun. Because eventually chores won’t be fun! When a little kid discovers they can help with something for the first time, they are eager and excited. But at some point they will prefer not to.

If I say, “Come unload the silverware please” I’m fine if he asks, “Can I finish this first?” but I’m not fine if he says, “After I finish this.” To me, there’s a difference.

4. Obedience is important

We love using Steve Green’s Hide Em In Your Heart DVD to teach our kids bible verses to music, and one of them goes, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1. It’s a great way to get kids to start thinking about doing what is right.

I highly encourage you to get the DVD if you want to teach your kids memory verses about sharing, helping, doing good to others, and about Jesus’s love. And, it’s a DVD so hello they will love it! (Beware of some impressive 90’s hairstyles and outfits though).

Peter and I were taught (and I agree!) that ultimately obeying your parents is to:

This, of course, assumes a safe and loving parent child environment. I loved the advice that I received from pastor Mark Driscoll’s parenting series in proverbs, which is that kids can ask you “why” after they have done what you asked.

I think this will set a good pattern for life and helps me know that I don’t have to explain my reasons to a 5 year old first.

Teach kids how to do chores correctly

Try not to assume they know what you mean when you ask them to do something that’s not habit.

For example, I asked my son to put away a pile of his clothes I found in the living room. He disappeared with them obediently, and later I went in to find that same pile in his room next to the door. He obviously needed me to explain what I mean when I say put clothes away…so now I clarify that clothes get put in their bins. (Each kid has 1).

Reasons why your 5 year old won’t do his chores

This is a list of chores for 5 year old boys, which means a short attention span and a tendency to get sidetracked over here. I’ll share a few ways I’ve accidentally forced failure over here.

First, don’t give too many directions at once. This almost always leads to my son forgetting something or doing it wrong.

Second, get eye contact. Sometimes it’s hard to know if I’m being ignored or if he didn’t hear me because he was playing or looking at a book. Saying, “Look at me” or “Look up for a minute” helps me to know he’s paying attention.

Third, consider how your clutter is affecting your kids. I am trying to think through what is worth picking up. It’s overwhelming for kids to look at a room full of trains, magnetic tiles, dolls, dinosaurs, etc and be expected to clean IT ALL let alone sort it.

For example: Legos are brilliant, yet I cannot get my 5 year old boy to clean up every little piece. I can barely do that, and even when I do it can take me 30 minutes. It’s overwhelming to me, and I can’t stand doing it. Which is why ours are now put away for a special day or when he’s older. And maybe I need to get rid of half the storage bin full.

Age isn’t everything

Boys just develop a little slower than girls. My 3.5 year old daughter is capable of most things my 5 year old son can do, but he would not have been that capable at her age. He was more clumsy, and had a harder time with dexterity, directions and finding things.

15 Age appropriate chores for 5 year olds

Here are 15 ways 5 year olds can start helping at home with chores without stealing their childhood.

1. Unload the silverware

I was surprised one day when my 3 year old wanted to help, so I let her stand on a chair and she sorted them perfectly. She’s my detailed one. I immediately realized her older brother (then 4.5) could share those duties. Now they take turns!

2. Pick up toys

You’ve probably been doing this for a long time now. If not you are bending over about 50 extra times a day more than you should be LOL! I keep a toy bin/coffee table in the living room and in their bedroom to make it easier.

My sister in law has something she calls a 10 second tidy, and it’s such a smart idea and we have used it when I remember, with success!

A few times a day she will prep the kids that she’s going to count to 10 while they pick up as fast as they can. She counts really slowly and can clear a lot of items off the floor quickly without it being super overwhelming for the kids!

3. Run to get diapers

My 3 and 5 year old have been doing this for a year and a half since their brother was born. Sometimes I think I totally take advantage of their fast legs but they still seem to love helping!

Update Aug 2019: Having the kids run and get me items saves me SO much time every day, but it got a little unfair for my middle child (now 4.5 year old). She pointed out that I ask her to get things more often than I ask my 6 year old son. Sadly, it’s completely true so I’ve tried to make sure I’m evening it out.

It hit me that I ask her more because she’s really good at finding things and my now 6 year old is slow and often unsuccessful at finding things.

Anyways, I caution you not to burden one child with more work just because they are better at it or they may become resentful.

4. Sort clean clothes into bins

The clothes situation got better when I ditched folding most things like pants or pajamas and instead tossed them into 3 bins. One bin for each kid, and we put pants, socks, undies, and pajamas in those.

Since my kids will often take everything out of their bins when getting dressed, a daily job has been for them to sort their clothes back into the right bins.

I hang everything else and need to work on teaching them to put shirts on hangers.

5. Set the table

We only recently started this with silverware and cups. And sometimes I’ll set a pile of plates out and have them put them around.

Our dinner table is pretty informal at this point and often the table never even gets set. I’ll just grab plates as I’m dishing up the kids from the stove and have them wait at the table. (I know, so not the old fashioned sit down all at once and pass food around).

6. Clear their dish after meals and put away items into fridge

This just takes a reminding after breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner to put their cups and plates in the sink. If they can’t reach that but have steady enough hands they can set it on the counter. It’s a habit my son does without being asked now, wahoo!

Same goes for things that get put away in the refrigerator. If you are not super picky about what goes where, then 5 year olds should be able to help put away dipping sauces, milk, etc.

7. Hang coats and line up boots

We recently screwed some coat hooks by the door and made a little place for them to line up shoes underneath (like last week). Nothing fancy. But now every time we come in the door I say “Put your coat and shoes where they go!”

Prior to this, we had a shoe bin in the coat closet, which worked ok. However my kids cannot do coat hangers well yet or reach the bar so coats were always on the floor waiting for me to hang them up.

8. Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or toast

This was a total shock when I walked into the kitchen one day and my 4.5 year old had just spread peanut butter on bread, found the jam, and made his own. My mind was blown because I’d never considered letting him try!

Yes, I’m faster. But on days I don’t want to streamline 3 sandwiches I’ll let him make his own! Your 5 year old should also be able to butter his own bread or toast, and can be taught to use a toaster safely.

9. Carry groceries from car to kitchen

My husband initiated this and I love it! Instead of sending the kids inside while mom brings mega loads in, each kid has to carry something. Usually this is met with groans and “it’s too heavy” (as they carry up a box of Kleenex)…

Anyways, I have visions of a sweet teenage son carrying in ALL my groceries! 😉 Wow I just realized that’s only 8 years away. Please make time slow down!

10. Get dressed and pick out an outfit

My daughter could get dressed, do zippers and buttons around age 2-3. My son was only coordinated enough closer to age 4! Anyways, this is pretty life changing to have 2 kids be able to put on a shirt and pants, and their own socks and shoes.

I still catch myself dressing them when I am in the need for speed. But normally it’s their job. And if I want to make sure their outfit coordinates for some reason, I’ve still got to go and supervise.

11. Clean up spills with a rag

Since spills happen all the time, I keep the rag drawer low in the kitchen and ask the kids to help clean up spills. We never shame for spills but try to say, “Spills just happen”.

We also just keep one at the table during meals which helps save time when a spill is pouring down onto the floor.

12. Fold rags

We just started this (my son is newly 5 and daughter is 3.5). We had a couple teaching sessions on the living room floor about how to fold a wash cloth in half and then half again. To my amazement it was pretty easy for both of them!

They kept saying, “Wow this is so fun!” And, “I wish we had some more!” I know that will wear off when it’s standing between them and Paw Patrol, but hey they can do it!

13. Put lids back on markers and paper scraps in garbage

Crafts are a huge part of the preschool age, but I was getting burnt on cleaning up afterwards.

I about wanted to throw out our markers because of how much time I was spending every day putting 10-20 marker lids back on multiple times a day. I know I know, don’t tell me, it’s my fault for not making them do it.

Now I do make them do it, and I only allow about 5-10 colors out at a time. And when they cut with kid scissors, I ask them to toss scraps from the floor to the garbage. They do a pretty good job, and then I do a final clean up.

14. Peel carrots and snap green beans

My 3.5 year old does this perfectly you guys! It’s so odd to me. And my 5 year old does a pretty good job, although last time he did keep peeling one until it was a limp and bendy thin carrot, haha!

I’ve taught them how to hold it safely and how to always push away from their hands. Anytime I’m making a soup, I’ll let them do this (it’s a treat to them still).

Just make sure to have them start 10-15 minutes before you need 5 carrots or you will be waiting…

15. Get out cooking ingredients

If you have any ingredients in the lower cabinets, pantry, or fridge your 5 year old can probably find them and get them!

A lot of times they want to help in the kitchen but I’m not always in the mood to have them do the scooping. Getting ingredients, pans, and measuring spoons is one way they can help.

Chores I don’t have my 5 year old do

There are a few things I’ve seen people recommend that I don’t ask my 5 year old to do. They include:

Take out garbage

I can barely lift our heavy garbage bags down the stairs to the bin outside so I’m curious as to how other 5 year olds do this. However, we do have mini bins in the bathrooms they could start dumping into the big kitchen can.

Clean any part of the bathroom

I use chemical cleaners and don’t want my kids around them so this is a no no for me for now. Also, they’re 5. They can experience the joy of cleaning bathrooms when they are way older, in my opinion.

Sort clean clothes from dirty

I’m really picky about NOT washing more than I need to, because it can literally double or triple my laundry. So only I put clothes in the dirty clothes, or they can piece by piece if I have checked it first.

Make their beds

Their beds consist of a crib mattress, pillow, and a large fuzzy microfiber blanket that they play with every day. Sometimes it’s a fort, or just a blanket for the couch. Either way, it’s not practical to have them make their beds with our set up.


Haha, secret’s out now. I just don’t dust. We don’t have any shelves at kid level and they would break our cheap plastic blinds if we dusted those. I remember dusting my mom’s special figurines she had on display from Germany. We have nothing like that here. We vacuum, that’s it.

Additional chores for 6 year olds (or capable 5 year olds)

  • Bring recycling to outside bin
  • Wash windows or mirrors
  • Put outgoing mail in mailbox and put the red flag up (my now 6 year old is the only kid tall enough)
  • Learn to crack eggs
  • Learn to pour & flip pancakes. This awesome tool makes it easy.

Try out a visual chore chart

Since most 5 year olds can’t read yet, you may consider trying out a chore chart that uses pictures! There are ton on Etsy, and I also made my own as well that comes with a pink/purple option, a blue/green option, and a rainbow all in the same download.

You can see my chore chart , and I explain a few ways to use it based on if you have a laminator or not.

My 5.5 year old has one (she adores knowing what she has to do and what’s left for the day).

My 7 year old has one too, but we mainly use his to list his daily homeschool subjects as well as expected chores that day.

chore chart laminated in pink, blue, and rainbow

Things to teach your kids to do for themselves as soon as you possibly can

I get so overwhelmed hearing the phrase “mom I need” SO many times a day. Usually it’s a sign I need more sleep, some alone time, need to say “not now” more, or just teach them to do it! If you feel overwhelmed, read 8 things I’ve stopped doing to be a less busy mom.

A few examples of requests I still get from my 5 and 3.5 year old:

  • Can I have some milk? (We have taught him how to pour if it’s not a full gallon).
  • I’m hungry.
  • Can you turn up/down the volume? (We showed him how)
  • Where’s my …? (Go look for it)
  • Can I color?
  • I need wiped! (Haven’t taught him that yet…)
  • My hands are sticky. (Go wash in the sink)

There’s no way to know if they are too little to do something unless you just try it. Teach them once and see if they are coordinated enough. The most helpful things my kids have learned to do so far are:

  1. Filling a cup of water from the bathroom sink. I leave a cup and stool there.
  2. Getting a spoon/fork from a drawer.
  3. Putting on their own clothes and shoes. Boots are a wonderful thing that even little kids can put on alone.
  4. Where to put coats and shoes when we get home.
  5. Hand washing. All the sticky hand requests are no longer your problem. Wipes are perfect for outings and they get them out of my backpack.
  6. Buckle up the car seat.

Should you start a chore reward system?

We don’t but will someday! Chores and “helping mom” is new enough that it’s still pretty exciting. And when it’s not so exciting, like picking up toys or carrying a grocery item from the car, they have to anyway.

Other things are not as big of a deal to me (like if they don’t want to get ingredients out while I’m making banana bread). As the mom I’m still figuring out what to expect and if it’s something that matters to me.

I’m trying to pay attention to the heart of it all here (easier said than done!) Like:

  • Are they obeying first time quickly?
  • Are they starting to understand being in a family means helping?
  • Do they act like mom will do it all if they don’t?

I think eventually I’ll have a daily and weekly chore list for each kid. Here are 10 printable chore charts if you are looking for one. We are just transitioning from “mom is my slave” to “I have two hands that can pick up after myself”. LOL!

How do you teach your kids to do chores?

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Free Printable Chore Chart for 5-6 Year Olds

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Chores ideas for 5 year old

Chores ideas for 5 year old

Getting a 5 year-old to do chores can feel like trying to get cats to march in formation. Between a complaining child and your already-packed schedule, you may wonder if it’s even possible.

Well, good news: it is 100% possible! And one thing that helps is a simple chore chart.

Having a physical list of routines and tasks gives children clear expectations to follow. Think about how satisfying it is to check things off your to-do list.

In my experience, it’s the same for kids!

They love the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing their chore chart.

After reading this post, you’ll:

  • Know how to get your 5 or 6 year-old to do chores
  • Have several age-appropriate chores in your arsenal
  • Get a free printable chore chart perfect for 5-6 year olds

Just want the chore chart? You can download the free printable chore chart for 5 year olds at the bottom of this post.

free picture chore chart for kids


Your initial motivation for getting your kids to do chores is probably to teach responsibility. Plus, you want to include your kids in taking care of the house.

Cause, as you’ve probably declared to your family (as you pick up everyone’s messes): You are not not the maid!

But in reality, giving your children chores now does more than simply teach responsibility. It sets them up for success later in life.

Research has shown that children who do chores are more likely to grow up to be successful adults. When kids grow up doing chores, they grow into adults who are more adjusted, have better relationships with family and friends, and have more successful careers.

In the Harvard Grant Study, which followed 74 high achievers (including President Kennedy) found that 2 factors influenced happiness and success later in life: love and work ethic.

And how do you instill work ethic in kids?

When children do chores, they are participating in keeping the household running smoothly. They become an essential part of something bigger than themselves.

Doing chores gives kids a sense of accomplishment and boosts self esteem because they feel competent and capable.

Here are just some of the benefits of chores for kids:

  • Teaches responsibility
  • Helps children feel competent
  • Teaches self-reliance
  • Gives kids a sense of self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives
  • Helps them be successful later in life

While teaching children chores takes plenty of patience, research shows that your efforts will be well worth it.


So how do you get started introducing chores to your kids? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start young. Research shows that embracing toddlers natural desire to be helpful leads kids to contribute around the house without complaining as they grow up.
  • Tasks shouldn’t be overwhelming. Start small. Break down a task and start with just giving part of the task. For example when unloading the dishwasher, start with just unloading and sorting the silverware. When it comes to laundry, start with folding washcloths.
  • Model. We all know very well that our kids do what we do, not what we say. When we ask them to do any chore, we should first model and explain what we’re doing. Show your kids what needs to be done and how to do it.
  • Give positive feedback. When they do something correctly, say “You did it”. This is such a powerful phrase in motivating children as they feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Gently guide. To help your child continue mastering the skill, you can say “I love that you’re helping out. It means so much to me. Let me show you what we can do to make sure it gets really clean next time.”
  • Offer choices. When children have choices, they feel like they have control and autonomy over their lives. Giving them 2 or 3 choices will make them more willing to get busy on the chore of their choice.
  • Be patient. Starting out, helping your child do chores will always take longer than had you just done it yourself (sometimes MUCH longer). But the payoff is massive. For both of you.
  • They grow to be happier, more successful adults and pretty soon you’ll have very capable help around the house as they master the tasks. So take a few deep breaths and remind yourself of the long term reasons behind instilling a work ethic in your child.
  • Make it Fun. Turn on music or make it a game. Not only can chores be fun, but they can be relationship building as we work with our kids to take care of our homes.

chore ideas for 5 year old


As most children start school at 5, this chores chart is built around a school day where kids need to pack and unpack a backpack, read, etc.

These tasks are basic daily responsibilities that are age-appropriate for a 5-6 year old. Here are the listed chores/daily tasks:

Morning Chores

  • Brush teeth
  • Clean up breakfast (take dishes to sink, help clean up breakfast messes)
  • Get dressed
  • Get backpack ready

Evening Chores

  • Homework & reading
  • Backpack put away
  • Clean up dinner
  • Clean up room & toys
  • Dirty Clothes in hamper

Extra Chore

While the chores above are basic responsibilities for growing school-aged children, children benefit from doing chores that contribute to the greater good of the household. For example:

  • Setting the table for dinner
  • Unloading the silverware
  • Matching clean socks
  • Sweeping a room

The “Extra Chore” allows you to add on a chore of your choice each day to help keep your house running.

(A more comprehensive list of age-appropriate chores and chore ideas, check out the list near the bottom of this post.)


The free pdf chore chart for 5 year olds (which you can download at the bottom of this post) includes the following:

  • Instructions for use
  • 2 color choices
  • list of age appropriate chores
  • 3 different “check mark” styles to use on your chart

All these resources give you several options as you how to use this chore chart to best meet your specific needs. For these methods, I use a laminator and laminating sheets.

Sidenote: Investing in an inexpensive laminator is well worth it as a mom. I bought one a couple years ago and it’s been one of the best investments because I can laminate ALL THE THINGS. Flash cards, chore charts, cleaning schedules, kid’s activities, cleaning checklists…I use it all the time.

Okay, back to the chart. When setting it up, I recommend the following 3 methods:


Supplies needed:


  1. Using a laminating sheet, laminate your sheet after printing.
  2. Then simply hang your chart in a convenient location.
  3. When your child completes a task, they can check it off with a dry erase marker.
  4. Then, you just wipe it clean as you start a new day!

This is certainly the easiest to set up. But if you have small clever kids around, having a dry erase marker handy probably isn’t the best idea.

magnet chore chart


Supplies needed:

  • Magnetic board or cookie sheet
  • 10 magnets to use a “checkmarks” OR sticky-backed magnet strip with the printed out checkmarks (included in download)
  • Optional: laminator and laminator sheet


  1. Print and laminate chore chart.
  2. For the magnets, you have a couple different options: you can just use 10 magnets as checkmarks or you can create your own magnetic checkmarks with a strip of sticky-backed flexible magnet.
  3. If you choose to make your own checkmarks, cut out the checkmarks (on page 4 of the download) and also cut 10 small magnet pieces from your strip. I recommend laminating the printed and cut checkmarks before attaching the magnet.
  4. To attach the magnet, peel off the sticky strip and apply to the back of the checkmark.
  5. Then, place chart on a magnet board in a convenient spot. Once the child completes a task, they can move a magnet to “check off” their chore.
  6. Move magnets to start each new day.


Supplies Needed:

  • Laminator
  • Laminator sheet
  • 10 – ¾ inch Velcro dots
  • Cork board or similar (this one is pictured)


  1. After printing, laminate your chore chart.
  2. Cut out desired checkmarks (from page 4), laminate them, and then cut them out again. Once cut out, add a scratchy backed Velcro dot to the back of each one.
  3. Then, add a soft Velcro dot to each checkbox on the laminated chart.
  4. Hang chart in convenient spot and add Velcro dots as task are completed.
  5. As pictured, you can use a little envelope to store the Velcro dots.

A note about Velcro:

Velcro is made up of two sides that stick together—a soft side and a scratchy side. Two soft side or 2 scratchy sides will not stick together. They must be opposite.

So whether you do as I suggest and put scratchy on the checks and soft on the chart or do the exact opposite, you need to be consistent in order for everything to work properly.

free printable picture chore chart for 5-6 year olds


If you’re wondering what chores are appropriate for a 5 year-old, here are several suggestions:

  • Unload silverware & cups
  • Set the table
  • Clear table
  • Help prepare food (wash produce, measure, & stir)
  • Dust
  • Fold kitchen towels
  • Vacuum
  • Wipe bathroom sinks & counters
  • Match socks
  • Sort laundry by color
  • Put clean clothes away
  • Help carry groceries
  • Feed pets
  • Prepare simple snacks
  • Disinfect doorknobs
  • Match clean socks
  • Replace toilet paper roll
  • Fold towels
  • Rake leaves
  • Gather trash

RELATED: Printable Chore Chart by Age


Ready to get started? You can get the free printable sent straight to your inbox by signing up below.

chores for 5 year old


It’s time to get fired up about chores, my friend. Because chores not only help your kids gain self-esteem and learn responsibility now, they are so important in helping them become successful adults later.

And with your the free downloadable chore chart, you can get your 5 year old doing age-appropriate chores for your kid.

You’ve got this mama!