I adapted this post "15 Chore Ideas for 3 - 8" from http://moneysavingmom.com/
I think sometimes we loose sight and think that it's "supposed" to be easy to get kids to do chores. Not likely, at least not in my house. I stretched out the age of the original post because I think if you harness that early interest in modeling you around 2.3 - 3 years old you can get them to fall in line with these expectations. I have stock phrases about chores: "This is a part of being in our family", "We all do chores", "Let's list what I do, what you do and what daddy does". "Would you rater do one of my chores today?” We have agreements made during our family meetings and with those chores I simply state the one word that our daughter has agreed will be her chore: "Shoes" (shoes go in her room not thrown off in the living room). "Backpack" (it needs to be by the sink so the lunch can be unloaded). "Towel" (should not be left on the floor outside of the bathroom. We typically clean on Saturdays and all pitch in at the same time. I let a LOT go. Right now there are piles of her clothes sitting on the couch, they might get put away later tonight while I am making dinner. If no I might say "dinner will be served when your clothes are put away and the table is set". Lastly, from positive discipline "take time to teach" we don't come pre-programed to know how to clean. Calmly teach the chore and be supportive as your little ones become more competent. Let me know how it goes in your house!
1. Pick Up Their Room — Make sure you show your child exactly what a clean room looks like. And if their room is really messy, I’d suggest working with them to clean it and giving them one specific project to work on at a time. Young children are often still learning the concept of staying on task, so you want to make sure you don’t overwhelm them by giving them too large of a task to accomplish then they are ready to tackle.
2. Vacuum – If you have a vacuum with an attachment, they can use the attachments on furniture or small areas in your home.
3. Water Plants — Use a plastic watering can (we found ours at the dollar store or you can make one from a milk jug) to make it fun and easy for small hands.
4. Fold Washcloths, Hand Towels, Underwear, & Other Small Items – I often will sort these out from the big laundry pile and make a small pile for each child to fold, based upon their folding abilities.
5. Sort & Fold Socks — Sorting and folding socks can be a fun job for little people. And you can teach matching, colors, and counting with it, too.
6. Put Away Laundry —try not to stress out if it’s not perfect by the time it gets to the drawer.
7. Dust/Wipe Down Surfaces — kids are great at cleaning baseboards, small floor areas, wiping down cupboards, or dusting surfaces. If you have a feather duster, they might have fun trying that out, too!
8. Wipe Down Sink/Toilet — Cleaning wipes work especially well for young children to use. Or, you can spray some nontoxic cleaner onto a rag and let them wipe down the sink, toilet, or floor in the bathroom.
9. Empty Trash — 4-8 year-olds are usually big enough and strong enough to tie up the trash bag and haul it out to the garage or back door.
10. Wipe Down Door Handles — Give your child a cleaning wipe or a damp rag and have them wipe down all the door handles. This is a favorite chore at our house!
11. Clear the Table – Teach your children to clear their plates after each meal (don’t get too frustrated when they need to be reminded! Be kind and firm, use one word “plate”)
12. Rinse Dishes/Load Dishwasher –stand on a chair at the kitchen sink and rinse non-breakable dishes (be sure to remove the knives and other sharp or dangerous objects before letting them do this). They can also help to load silverware and other non-breakable dishes into the dishwasher.
13. Simple Meal Prep - Pour cereal/milk, make toast and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and pop popcorn on her own. She also often helps me when I’m cooking.
14. Set the Table — Teach your children how to set the table correctly from the time they are young–it’s a skill many adults still don’t know!
15. Mop —child-sized mops, or just use rags. It can be fun to crank up the music and dance around with rags under your feet.
Children at this age are probably able to dress themselves, brush their teeth, and comb their hair. If they are not doing these things on their own, I’d encourage you to start by teaching them those "chores".
P.S. Don't be "in service" to your child all the time. If they demand you to fetch them food, toys, or their backpack don't do it. This may sounds simple but I know I have to watch this tendency in myself. Wait for them to try again (to ask you nicely) and at first you may need to remind them that you will not respond when you are ordered around. Now, if you are ordering them around that double standard will likely need to be addressed if you would like more compliance. Please feel free to comment or write me directly with suggestions for my next blog post.