Do your children care for themselves according to their age and abilities? Would you like to boost their self-esteem and character? Inside you’ll find age-appropriate chores that instill the “I can do it myself” attitude.

Childhood Wisdom:

“When Heidi was 5 her mother decided to give her $1 a week if she kept her room clean. Week by week Heidi saw the amount in her money jar grow. One week Heidi didn’t clean her room. Her mother told her, “You won’t get a dollar.”

Heidi looked at her jar, took out $1 and handed it to her mother saying, “That’s okay, Mom. You clean my room and I’ll pay you a dollar.” – Kidwarmers

Heidi’s mom had the right idea. By teaching Heidi to clean her room at an early age, she was teaching Heidi competence, responsibility, and self-esteem.

I used to tell the parents I counseled, “Never do for your child what your child can do for herself.” Of course, I know things can get in the way like the choice between waiting for your child to do her chores and getting to an appointment on time.

Below are age-appropriate chores to teach your pre-school child. They build a sense of competence, responsibility, and character –ingredients of self-esteem.

Age-Appropriate Chores for Pre-School Children

When your young child is ready to learn, teach him to:
Brush his teeth.
Dress by himself.
Put his toys away.
Make his bed with your help.

This means you must take time from your busy schedule to teach your child what he needs to know. Avoid trying to speed things up by doing his chores for him. If you take over his chores, he won’t achieve a sense of competence. He’ll become weak and you’ll become stressed. He needs to depend on himself for the chores he can do.

One more thing, avoid being picky. When your young child does pretty well, accept his efforts. Don’t complain about every little thing unless you want tantrums and tears. Instead compliment him on what he does well, “Joey, you pulled the covers off the floor. Good for you.” If the pillow is messy, ask him, “What do you think you could do about the pillow?” Let him straighten it. Praise him again with, “Good job, Joey. It looks great!”

Competence in young children is the “I can do it myself” attitude. This is an important quality for building character and self-esteem.

How to Get Your Child to Do Chores:

I used positive chore charts to motivate my boys. I also gave allowances.Some of you may be against allowances. That’s fine. I viewed allowances as helping my boys learn how to spend money wisely. If they bought candy, it was soon gone. If they saved their money like Heidi did in her money jar, they could spend it on something of value or pay me to do their work…just kidding.

Why not build a sense of competence in your boys and girls with age-appropriate chores? Start when they are pre-school age. If you do, you’ll be building self-esteem and character too.

Author's Bio: 

Jean Tracy, MSS publishes a FREE Parenting Newsletter. Subscribe at and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

If you liked these parenting tips, pick up Jean's Chore Chart Kit at: You’ll find a chore chart with age-appropriate chores for your elementary school children.

Subscribe to Jean's Parenting Blog at and pick up one practical parenting tip you can use immediately with each posting. Leave your ideas too.