Can Preschoolers Help Clean?

by Melanie Edwards on February 1, 2010 · 18 comments

in preschoolers, Wahm

Today I found myself home with my baby girl but also needing to clean. She didn’t go to preschool today, but I knew that I couldn’t let her being home get in the way of cleaning. This is a busy and short week for me due to the upcoming trip to Blissdom, so it is important that I stay on track.

So, I asked her to help me clean. This way we’d be doing it together and she’d feel involved. Plus, it helps her learn there are things to take care of around the house and that it’s good for all to pitch in as a family.

Obviously, young children have limitations when it comes to cleaning and helping around the house. What chores are preschool friendly, then?

  1. Fold clothes: You can ask your preschooler to fold his/her clothes or even some towels. Since their clothes are so tiny anyway, they’re perfect for little hands to fold. My girl is also able to fold small towels, like kitchen towels. And, it doesn’t matter how they’re folded. I mean, really, if her shirts aren’t perfectly folded and lined up, life will go on.
  2. Sweep: She may not be able to sweep the entire kitchen, but if she can sweep up a smaller area while I do something else, it helps. This works especially well if you use a swiffer, since all they have to do is push the stick up and down.
  3. Clean bathroom sink: The first time I saw my daughter cleaning the sink in her classroom, I was amazed. “What are you doing?” I asked her. “Cleaning the sink! It helps my teacher.” I had no idea she knew how to do that! Now, she can run a sponge or rag around her bathroom sink while I clean the toilet.
  4. Wash dishes: This started at my mom’s house. My daughter decided to ask her abuela if she could help her wash the dishes. So, my mom brought a stool by the sink, gave her a sponge and a bowl of soapy water, and said have at it. Since then, she’s done it a couple of times at our house too. Of course, we don’t give her the extra greasy or messy dishes, but she can safely wash a few cups and small plates.
  5. Clean tables: My daughter’s been doing this since she was about two years old (maybe even earlier). It’s the easiest thing for her to do; she just has to swipe a paper towel over the table after I’ve sprayed it with some child-safe cleaner.

I’m sure there are many more household tasks and chores you can find that your preschooler can help with. If they’re anything like my daughter, they’ll love being able to help out. Just this morning she said that helping me clean was her “favorite thing to do in the house.” Now, mind you, her “favorite thing” to do changes from hour to hour, but still, for her to say it means she really does enjoy helping.

What chores have you found your kids can help with around the house?

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1 elsa odette February 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Gian loves to clean with the swiffer. He takes out all the trinkets I have decorating on the table, cleans those too and then puts everything back … not as I had it but like you said, life goes on. I still though have a hard time with him folding his clothes, maybe it's a boy-thing? I guess as time goes by, I will find out. 🙂

2 modernmami February 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm

hmmm maybe. Do you mean it's tough for him to do or tough for you to let him do it?

3 pchanner February 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm

That's right, put her to work.

4 modernmami February 2, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Ha! Ty will soon be joining you.

5 Lisa Allen February 2, 2010 at 5:40 am

My grandson is now 20 months old and he can retrieve just about any common thing for me, glasses, paper etc. and he can throw away trash. I agree, it gives him a sense of belonging and accomplishment. He is so proud to help Grandma.

6 modernmami February 2, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Don't you just love seeing their little faces light up as they actually do work? I love seeing her so proud of herself.

7 ohamanda February 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Lydia loves to make her bed…which is just putting her blanket & stuffed rabbit on the bed in a semi-orderly fashion. She has now started putting the silverware away when I do the dishes. And she adores dusting. Thank goodness. Because I hate it. 😉


8 modernmami February 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Making the bed! Of course…that's a great one for them. And yes, dusting is good too. I try not to let her do it too much because she tends to get congested rather easily, but it's a super easy chore for the young ones to do.

9 rockandrollmama February 6, 2010 at 5:50 am

Dusting? What is this dusting you speak of?:)

I love how satisfied my kids are when they feel they're helping- I try to squash my urge to go after them and “straighten” their effort, even if it's not perfect- I want them to feel that their contribution is valued. They make their beds, and as hard as it is for me to leave a crooked blanket, I do.:) (Hmmmm- Maybe I should make MY bed sometime!)
Great post.:)

10 modernmami March 3, 2010 at 6:52 am

It's hard to squash that urge to “fix” it for them, isn't it? But, like you, I love the sense of accomplishment I literally see on her face when she's helping out.

11 pixielation February 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Mine love to wash dishes. And it's not even something we do very often, since we have a dishwasher – and if I do handwash then it's glass and delicate. But I sometimes get her to wash some things that are unbreakable just so she can do it.

12 modernmami March 3, 2010 at 6:52 am

Lately, washing dishes is what she's all about. I just give her the plastic cups or her small bowls/plates.

13 modernmami March 3, 2010 at 7:52 am

It's hard to squash that urge to “fix” it for them, isn't it? But, like you, I love the sense of accomplishment I literally see on her face when she's helping out.

14 modernmami March 3, 2010 at 7:52 am

Lately, washing dishes is what she's all about. I just give her the plastic cups or her small bowls/plates.

15 Musica September 4, 2011 at 3:28 am

Preschoolers can learn many skills…including cleaning!

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