Chores can be a great way to teach your children how to take care of their home when they are older, as well as a good way to start teaching them responsibility. If you're wondering what kind of chores to give your 5-year-old, here's our definitive list of 15 simple chores that you can start your kids doing at this age, and ways to encourage and reward chores.
Related: Age-appropriate chore list for kids
What are the benefits of chores for 5-year-olds?
Lots of parents wonder about the benefits of giving kids chores. Chores can be great to teach your children responsibility and give them a sense of community. It's also a great way to prepare them for adult life and encourage good habits about cleanliness, both for when they're living at home and when they move out on their own. On top of this, completing chores can give them a great sense of pride and accomplishment in a job well done.
What to expect when you’re giving chores to a 5-year-old
When you're giving your child chores, it's important to keep a few things in mind:
- Be patient: It's important to be patient when your child is doing their chores. They may not be able to do them as quickly or as perfectly as you would like, but that's okay. They're learning, and they'll get better with practice. If your child is struggling with a chore, offer help and encouragement, but don't do it for them.
- Show your child how to do what you’re asking them to do: A great way to help your child learn is by showing them how to do the chore you're asking of them. Once they've seen how it's done, they'll be more likely to be able to do it on their own. Go through the motions with them the first few times so that they know what's expected, and then let them try it on their own.
- Chores won’t be perfect, accept that: As your child does their chores, they're going to make mistakes. It's important to accept that things won't be perfect, and that's okay. As long as they're trying their best, that's all you can ask for. Remember, the goal is to teach your child how to take care of their home and instil good habits, not to have a spotless house.
- Keep chores simple: When you're assigning chores to your child, it's important to keep them simple. If a chore is too complicated, they may become frustrated and give up. Choose chores that are age-appropriate and that you know your child can handle.
- Give one chore to do at a time: When your child is first starting out doing chores, it's best to give them just one thing to focus on at a time. Once they've mastered that chore, you can start adding in additional chores. This will help them feel less overwhelmed and allow them to focus on doing a good job.
- Praise your child for a job well done: When your child does a good job with their chores, be sure to praise them. This will encourage them to keep up the good work and do their best. You can also give them a small reward, such as a sticker or a special treat, to show them how proud you are of their efforts.
Chores for 5-year-olds
Here are our top ten chores for 5-year-olds. These are all great choices, though you should consider how many chores your child should do when picking some from the list, after all, you know your child best.
- Make the bed: This is a great daily chore to get your child to do. It's very simple and they can directly see how it benefits them. Plus, this will give your 5-year-old a better sense of how their bedroom is their own personal space that they have to take care of.
- Dust: This is another very simple job, especially if you give them a duster with a handle so they can reach higher places like surfaces and bookshelves. Though some higher-up spots will still be out of reach, that’s where you can come in and help to show them chores are a shared responsibility. It's worth being cautious with polishing or dusting spray or delicate ornaments for your child's safety.
- Set the table: Helping with communal chores can give your child a feeling of responsibility within the family. It's important for kids to understand that everyone in the household works together to make the house run smoothly. You can also combine this with their pre-dinner routines such as washing their hands.
- Clear the table: You might want to make sure that kids only help clear the smaller plates and glasses rather than any serving dishes, as these might be too heavy for younger children.
- Get out ingredients for cooking: If you’re doing some cooking, then this is a great opportunity to teach your 5-year-old about measuring. Let them help you get the right amount of ingredients out and explain why we need to be precise when we cook. This is also a good time to talk about healthy eating and different food groups.
- Put items into the fridge when finished cooking: Helping to put food away is another great task for a 5-year-old. This will teach them about cleanliness in the kitchen and how to properly store food.
- Clean up spills with a cloth: Kids are bound to spill things, so it's good to have them help clean up any messes they make. This will show them that they need to be careful with food and drinks and that accidents happen, but that it's important to clean up afterward.
- Clean their room: This can help give your child a sense of control over their own space. Once they clean their own room, your child may be a little bit more aware of the messes they make and should be more helpful when it comes to cleaning up in general. This is a particularly good lesson for them to carry into adulthood.
- Get dressed and pick their outfit: As kids get a little older, they should start to be more independent when it comes to getting dressed. This includes picking out their own clothes and getting dressed by themselves. This will teach them about taking care of their own clothing and how to dress appropriately for different occasions.
- Tidy away toys: This is another way to teach children how to tidy up after themselves. While a few toys might not seem like too much to tidy, as they get older, it'll be important for them to know they should tidy up their own messes.
- Separate laundry: While a 5-year-old is probably too young to actually do the laundry, they can help separate washing piles. For example, separating lights and darks, or separating delicates and general washes. If you ask them to do this while you're putting the laundry into the washing machine you can also start to explain how to wash clothes and get them to repeat the instructions back to you to check that they understand.
- Move laundry from washer to dryer: You can also get your 5-year-old to help you move laundry from the washer to the dryer, airer, or washing line. This is also a great time to show them how to hang out clothes for when they're old enough to help with all the different parts of doing laundry.
- Fold laundry: Larger items are probably hard for a younger child to fold, but underwear, socks, and some of their own clothes are small enough for most children to manage. This is a great chore that you can share with your child, where you can fold larger items alongside them. Doing chores together will make it seem more fun and less like something they want to avoid, and it helps them see how much you do around the house as well.
- Empty out small garbage cans: While no one likes emptying garbage cans, this is a great way to show your child that sometimes unpleasant things have to be done for the good of the household. You can also use this to teach them more about hygiene. Larger, heavier trash bags or food waste might not be suitable for younger children to empty, but smaller garbage cans or paper recycling should be fine.
- Help with easy areas with vacuuming: If your child is old enough to be able to use a vacuum, then this is a great way to get them to help with cleaning. Start with an easy area like their bedroom or a small rug and let them build up to bigger jobs. This will also teach them how to use the vacuum properly and how to move small items of furniture to vacuum properly.
How to make chores fun for 5-year-olds
Chores aren't usually much fun, but there are plenty of ways you can make them more enjoyable. You could turn chores into a game or use a sticker chart to track when your kids do chores. You could also think about giving your child a bit of extra allowance for doing chores. Not only will this encourage them to do chores, but it will show them the benefit of hard work.
Related: Making chores fun
Chores that we don't recommend giving to 5-year-olds
Not all chores are suitable for 5-year-olds. Heavier or more dangerous tasks such as using a ladder, handling knives, or dealing with electrical items are all best left to adults. If you're not sure whether a chore is suitable for your child, it's always best to err on the side of caution and leave it to someone else. Here are some chores that we wouldn't recommend giving to 5-year-olds:
- Take out the garbage: While taking out the garbage might not seem like a big deal, it can be quite heavy and there are often sharp objects inside — so it's best left to adults. Smaller trash cans and paper recycling, for example, should be safe.
- Cleaning the bathroom: Cleaning the bathroom is another chore that's best left to adults. Not only are there potentially dangerous chemicals involved, but the risk of slipping on wet surfaces is also quite high.
- Unload the dishwasher: Unloading the dishwasher might seem like a simple task, but there are often sharp knives and other breakable items inside. Plus, items in the dishwasher may still be hot, which could present a scalding hazard.
- Help with the cooking: Helping with the cooking is a great way for kids to learn about food, but it's best to leave the more complicated tasks to adults. Things like chopping vegetables or using the stovetop are best left to those with more experience. While measuring and stirring are great tasks for kids, make sure they're supervised at all times.
Make paying your kid's allowance for chores easy with GoHenry
You can use our paid tasks feature to easily pay your kid's allowance when they do chores. Simply set up a paid task and select the amount you want to pay them on your GoHenry app. Your child will be able to see this on their app, and they can tick it off when they're done. Once you confirm, the money goes straight to their GoHenry prepaid debit card for them to spend. Plus, with our in-app Money Missions, your child will have bite-sized lessons and quizzes to teach them about jobs & earning, saving habits, and spending wisely, meaning they'll know what to do with the money they earn from chores.