Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How young is too young for your kids to start cleaning?

Most kids want to help, so let them.
Most kids want to help, so let them.

Your house is a mess of toys and diapers, but you're not sure how much help you should expect from the little person who made most of that mess. Does this sound familiar? Rest assured, you can get your young children involved in helping out around the house; it's just about finding age-appropriate chores for them to do. You wouldn't necessarily hand your toddler a mop, but if he's able to get his toys out of the toy chest, then he's old enough to start learning how to put them back. The good news is that toddlers love to help. They enjoy learning new things and making use of those newly discovered legs, so while you may not have the most useful assistant, at least she'll be an enthusiastic one.

Kids mature at different paces, so what may be effortless for one 3-year-old may be too challenging for another. It's about knowing your child and his or her capabilities. Most 2- and 3-year-olds should be able to help make their beds and pick up toys with supervision, but they're not quite ready for a chore chart. Four- and 5-year-olds can handle light cleaning tasks with less supervision, like clearing the table and hanging up towels but it's not until you get into the 6- and 7-year-old range that you can probably count on having some chores done that are more helpful to you, such as sweeping the floor and putting away laundry. Hopefully at that age, they'll still have that can-do toddler attitude.