Teaching your kids to do chores at a young age is the key to developing a good habits in your children. Last year I shared age appropriate chores for kids based on my own family’s experience. Summer is a great time to get kids into the habit of doing chores. With more free time in the morning and evening good habits can take hold before the school year begins again. This year I have a printable available for those who want to use it as a resource in their home.
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This is a really good guide. Also take into accout if you have developmentally delayed children. You just moved the chores backyards. Great guide thanks for sharing
Thank you. I was just thinking I need to get my 3 and 5 year olds into some chores. How many would you give to a child? Do you have a good chore chart printable?
Not sure if anyone has responded to you (I just stumbled on this website looking for more ideas for my six children), the rule of thumb for how many chores to give to your children is 1 for every year of their age.
Thanks for sharing! I have a 3 year old and have been looking for ways for her to help out… good to have a guide 🙂
Thank you so much for this!! My 3 year old already helps me with several things on this list. It’s nice to add a few more that I didn’t think of. Of course at his age we make it a game and he thinks its fun! In fact he loves to feed our dog (with supervision). Thanks again!
This looks like a really good list! Thanks so much!
I’m all for teaching kids about chores, but some of the toddler and preschool chores seem like a stretch to me, unless they are merely helping. A 4 year old washing dishes? I find it hilarious that that is the only one on that list that says “with supervision.”
Yeah, how many dishes are you prepared to lose for the sake of getting them involved and learning life skills? Nice idea. More trouble than its worth though.
I used to be more concerned with material items then the lessons my kids learned from me also. But then I realized that was me being a selfish parent. I seemed more concerned how their accidents would inconvience me rather then the lessons they needed to learn.
We just put away the breakables & got stainless steel & plastics! It was so freeing to let so some of my perfectionism go for the sake of my kids. I encourage you to try that also. Besides, you are making great memories with them when you interact with them.
Thumbs up! Great way to look at it (:
Read a little , romney… she said plastic cups, silverware, and tupperware FYI thats practically indestructible.
When taught early that dishes are to be respected and not thrown, children will be careful. Yes, you may end up losing one or two, but in my house my husband breaks more dishes than the children ever have. Montessori & Waldorf schools teach this–all dishes used for snacks, meals and kitchen play are glass–no dumbing it down.
Actually, my children at this age do these chores. They may not do it to a mom’s standard, but its getting them used to doing chores so that one day they can meet moms standard.
Agreed. I believe this list is expecting too much from kiddos. One chore for every year of a child’s age is what is recommended.
Toni Anderson says
Sandra, the printable is a list of chore suggestions according to age. It is not expected that a child that age does all of the chores. 🙂
I’ve been looking for one – this is great, thank you:-)
Yes, a 4 yr old can wash dishes. My dad put me on a chair at the sink and had me washing dishes @ 2 years old! He also did not tolerate dirty dishes. When my younger brother turned 2, he got to start rinsing while I washed, by that time I was 4.
I did not start that young with my kids, but now I wish I had! maybe they would be used to doing it and not whine so much!
i am concerned about 2 of the items. Only children who are older should clean windows, especially if it some height above the ground such as an apartment! Wiping toilets also best for the next age group , they tend to have a better understanding of bacteria and hygiene, which is vital for this activity, irrespective of maturity for their age. my now adult children needed to do chores.they did all these listed. We had a saying in our home, that not just one person made a mess, so not only one person needed to help look after the home. The whole family chipped in for chores, so it was everyone’s responsibility. It is important for children to learn to be self efficient adults, able to do basic housework.I disagree with Romney, my kids learnt to wash dishes by doing safe items initially (plasticware,cutlery besides knives).It is gradual increases to what they can do. If you do it for them, they won’t learn
My almost 2 y/o can already do over half of the 2-3 yr things 🙂 It’s so fun watching them ENJOY helping you!! (and watching them learn to be more help than their dad, LOL)
busy kids=happy mom says
Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m all about teaching my kids responsibility so they can be successful adults. I love that you have “big kid” jobs for little kids too. The little ones are the one anxious to take part and WANT to help! I’m trying to take advantage of that now… these are also “life skills” the ones they don’t teach in school. Great post – pinned it! thank you!
I’m sorry but I just think this list is absurd. I’m all for kids doing chores but you also need to let kids be kids and not to adult things like clean a toilet. I had a strict dad growing up and always had chores to do but never did I have to clean a toilet. I have been looking for a chore chart and was very excited when I saw a friend post this, then I read it and am absolutely against it!
Then only do the ones you agree with… there are a lot of good things on this list. And they don’t need to be done everyday. My kids (3 and 5) do alot of these already – clean their places off after dinner everyday(put away plates, cups, throw away their napkins) and other things like make their beds once a week. They can still be kids, but they are also learning to be responsible for themselves and learning to be part of a family and part of a society. My kids still have lots of fun and play often and yet they know that Mommy is not a maid and our house is easier to get cleaned because they are learning to clean up after themselves. it seems like you are against the whole list because of the toilet thing- she is giving you ideas- not saying you have to follow it exactly.
My kids are 18m and 3. The 3 yr old has done the ones on his list, and a few more, since he was 2. The 18mo is just starting, but can already clean up her own messes.
They LOVE to help, and are so pleased and proud of themselves when they do any of these tasks. They are part of the household, and as such, should contribute. Please know that this is not punishment, it is responsibility.
My chore growing up was cleaning the bathrooms and toilets- never did I once think as a child that it was un-childlike. I may not have enjoyed it, but it taught me responsibility. My mom was no-nonsense and worked full-time- so we all pitched in to make the house flow- toilets included.
Agree totally. This has been doing the rounds at work and no one believes it’s for real. I searched its source and was amazed to see it was genuine. Quite unnecessary…and yes I have children, all grown up now who ‘helped’ from a young age and learnt as they went. They aren’t bonsai trees!
Good luck getting a toddler to do anything to a decent standard! Trying to pressgang a small child into service makes twice as much work if you ask me – firstly as you have to supervise them and secondly when you sneak back and do the job again properly. The things I’ve found in the laundry basket already…and thats without encouraging him to put stuff in there.
If you think it isn’t worth it to take the time to supervise a child and then “do it right” if it isn’t good enough, I think you are a lazy parent. How can a kid learn if you don’t care to teach them? My kids do stuff like this all the time, and I don’t care if it isn’t perfect.I’d rather them learn to start to contribute and clean up. And the big deal from people about cleaning toilets? Why is it such a big deal like its the worst job ever? It takes all of five minutes, its not like you have to spend an hour with your arm inside the stupid toilet. My 2 yr old has been clearing the table and helped unload and load the dishwasher- and he’s never broken anything. Guess you’d be shocked to know that he uses glass mugs,cups, and plates too! And can you guess how many he’s broken? Absolutely zero. He’s been using glass entirely at dinner ever since he was out of babyhood enough to know not to throw his plate to the ground. The only reason he ever uses plastic “kid” dishes at snacks and stuff is because he likes the Buzz Lightyear and Cars dishes his grandmother got him for Christmas. Learn to trust your kids a touch more, supervise them, and you will be amazed at what they can do.
No, toddlers won’t do things to your standards, but letting them help at the stage when they are eager to do so makes training them later so much easier. I had my toddlers folding washcloths and towels starting around 2. Of course, they were ridiculous by adult standards, but I was more concerned with my children’s development and character than how my linen closet looked. 🙂
And now they all do their own laundry. 🙂
Katie H says
I like this list. My kids may not be able to do all the things listed (and I may not have time everyday to suffer through it 😉 but it’s a great list to aim toward. I forget how capable kids can be if given the chance.
Thank you for posting your ideas for age appropriate chores! It’s so nice to have another resource to consult so I don’t have to start from scratch. I think that’s key here. It is a resource. Some people may want to use it as is. Others may want to use only some of the ideas. Every home is different, and every child is different. That’s why I loved teaching. I was able to experience so many different styles that the kids would bring into one classroom. I now have a 7 month old, a 4-year-old, and a 7-year-old. They each have chores to do, and this list just gave me some more ideas. I think that if we simply say “Thank you” to someone for sharing their ideas, and be the parent that our own kids need us to be, there is no need to criticize.
I used to teach pre-k3 & heard from parents so many times “My child can’t do that.” Um, yes they can & will if you give them the chance.
& who cares if something isn’t done perfectly? I am anal about the way I fold the towels & put them into the cabinet. If my kids do it & it’s not the way I do it, who cares? The towels are still folded & put away.
It’s always amazing to me when people are against children learning how to help out. Do we really need to raise a generation of kids who can’t take care of themselves? Children should learn how to do all of these things before they leave home. I always had chores growing up and never felt like I missed out on anything. I’d come home from school, do my homework and a couple of chores and I still had plenty of time to play with my friends or whatever. Kids don’t need to spend all day cleaning to do a couple of chores each day. My kids probably don’t average any more than 20 minutes a day on chores and picking up after themselves. I am not worried about them ending up on some therapist’s couch complaining about how that deprived them of their childhood. I’d be more worried if I raised kids who were completely helpless and expected other people to clean up after them. Years ago, when I went to college I was amazed at how many kids could not do so many basic things like cook an egg or clean a toilet. I am grateful that my mom gave me chores and taught me to be self-sufficient as opposed to raising a spoiled, over-grown child.
Smockity Frocks says
I LOVE this list!
My 8 children have all had chores like these from an early age and they are very capable, helpful, and secure in their abilities.
I can always tell kids who have THOSE parents who think they can’t expect their little precious to lift a finger. Their kids are the ones that are 8 or 9 years old and whining, “MOM! I’m thirrrrrrsty!” while my 2 year old is getting her own cup out of the cup drawer (which I purposely put low down) and, using a stool, filling it up from the fridge water dispenser.
Amen! Jackjack has been helping set the table since he was old enough to count how many plates we needed.
It always amazes me when kids can’t do basic stuff for themselves.
I think chores are great for children. It’s a great way to teach them a work ethic and they beg to help when they’re little, lol!
By age seven mine were cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, dusting, sorting laundry, folding laundry, dishes. They could do pretty much anything and loved to help. I have to say that I had my seven year old use a baby wipe to clean the bathroom with (even three year olds can do that with a wipe).
I started teaching them how to pick up their toys when they were just babies/toddlers and old enough to take a toy out of the toy box. I figured if they were old enough to take it out, they were old enough to put it back. So at “clean up” time I would take their hand and gently pick up their toys with it, while singing a clean up song.
My boys are college age now (one in college and one has graduated). They both have jobs work or worked their way through college and have a good work ethic. I still have them do stuff around the house, lol!
I love this! I always make my kids do their chores. My 3year old loves helping with his chores n more! My teens have way more responsibility! We need to have our kids learn to take care or where they live. Or else I do not want to see what their own place will look like as adults! I bet the people who disagree either don’t have kids or are OCD! Just my opinion
That is awesome! Thankyou so much – this will give me a really good guide.
Man my 3 and 5 year old do some of the 12-14 year old stuff. Really, you can get your kids involved wherever you can to help out.
A word of caution. I have read various books about getting kids to do chores. One recommended NOT having young children near an open dishwasher. This was based on a friends experience of having a child fall into the dishwasher, and a prong pierced the eye, going into the brain and killed the child.
I would also recommend that you not ask a child to do a chore that they cannot do standing from a stable place. If they have to climb up on something to do the task, they are too unstable. However, if you can set things up at a lower level where they can work, by all means. I rearranged my kitchen so that the plates and bowls were at a lower level to make taking them out and putting them back feasible.
We have our kids start early doing chores. They even have a tiny vacuum of their own. They like to help and the older ones understand that they are part of a family and families work and play together. We get so many compliments about how smart and well-behaved they are. I agree with Smockity Frocks, you can always tell. I even have a friend who wishes her mom had her do more chores because she had to learn how to do a lot of things as an adult and look like an idiot while learning.
Love it!! Thanks a bunch!!
I believe kids should do “chores” trust me. I own apartments and am appalled at the cleaning skills of the ADULTS that live there. However, I find a lot of flaws in this list. It does not account for physical strength and size of a child. I have two girls who love to help, but how can a 49 lb 9 year old lift a bag of garbage into a tote? Many communities do not leave bags at the “curb” anymore. I appreciate the “guideline” of this list and have improved my chore chart at home. IMHO, it definitely needs tweaking to get with the times.
This is an awesome list. When my 10 yr old was 2, I started him out with some chores. Things got off track quickly. He became very easily frustrated by the things on the toddler list. It took until he was 7 for me to find the right eye doctor (a developmental optometrist) to figure out his vision problems (he got glasses at 2 1/2 for severe farsightedness). At age 7, he had double vision and could not see well up close, even with his glasses on because they were prescribed for the chart at 20 ft. I had long given up on chores for him because of the severe frustration overload he constantly had. He did vision therapy to learn vision skills he had not previously learned. A year later, he explained to me that he used to see in 2D but had learned to see in 3D through therapy. Now he IS one of those kids who whines too much, and he is NOT self sufficient enough. He also required OT, after vision therapy. Now that he has graduated from all therapy and has the skills to do all the things listed up to his age, he does not want to. It is hard to change those habits, and I regret that he developed a desire to do nothing for himself. It was not due to lazy parenting, though. If you start your children out trying chores at a young age, and they can’t do the things easily that are on their list, please take them to a developmental optometrist and an occupational therapist for evaluation. The earlier you find out and work on delays, if there are any present, the easier they are to overcome, and you can avoid a lot of the behaviors my son has due to years of compensating for skills he did not have. I’ve tried chore charts several times in the past, and we’ve always given up on them. I have new hope that this time around, we are going to achieve success. Thanks for giving me the list of ideas.
Leslie Coates says
Our job as parents is to teach our kids to become independent of us, gradually. It is a big, tough world out there, so the earlier they learn to take care of themselves and participate in meeting the routine needs of all of the members of a family, the easier it is for them when they leave the nest. Chores teach kids that they are not the center of the universe; that it is about the family, not just them. Chores also give kids a chance to experience success in small things, which leads to success in larger things. Being responsible for specific, age-appropriate chores is a good tool for this learning-to-become-independent process. It produces capable, responsible adults who do not expect other people to do for them what they should do for themselves. It easier not to teach your kids to do chores, because teaching is very time-consuming and sometimes frustrating, but if you fail to do it, you fail as a parent in this very important area.
Rubiena Duarte says
I agree that kids do need to do chores as it teaches them responsibility. Your list is great, especially the age break-down. I have shared it on my website http://www.supermomadventures.com today with a link bank to your page. My blog is more about parenting and balance for moms but I think this ties in great on giving parents some tips to guide their kids on appropriate chores.
Toni Anderson says
Thanks! I appreciate it.
Love the suggestions. I do believe some people need to lighten up with some of their comments. They are suggestions for each age group. My 2.5 yr old is asked to bring me his dishes from the table so that I amy wash them. My 5 yr old washes (has been since 4) and my 4 yr old rinses. She has been helping her sister since she was 3. She is allowed to wash too, but mainly due to how their ages fall …. the oldest washes, then middle one rinses and the little one clears the table. This is not an everyday deal… but only 2-3 times a week. I learn to slow down and they learn to help out. Oh and they are not paid to do chores. I don’t get paid to make my bed or take out trash.
I’m all for kids doing some chores, but this is like a how to train your mini slave list! Let your kids enjoy being a child and not your personal house cleaner. Uncool!
really?? It’s a list of suggestions for their ages, not “hey, have your 2 year old do all this in a day”. My guess would be your little darling will be the child that at age 10 still can not fix their own breakfast, get their own drink or wipe their own butt. Sorry, but I like to raise successful children who can function on their own once they start school. Im going to take a wild guess and say you also don’t believe in spankings and are still breast feeding a ten year old?? Good grief, my 16 month old loves to help me unload the dishwasher! takes twice as long, but she has fun and guess what… it is teaching her at an early age to HELP. she also throws away her own diapers. (call CPS, she touched the trash can) she even helps puts laundry into the dryer. Amazing what these little slaves can do! And she enjoys every min of it
First off, lady up top #12, really?! Nobody asked you for your opinion. This is a fun neat teaching technique for children of different ages and every parent has their own way and thoughts on raising their children. Teachingour children responsibility and hygiene Should certainly be at the top of the list. and if it’s too difficult for you to take the time to teach thembecause you’re too concerned about a dish breaking or because you have to fix something after you should stop being lazy! Have a great Day!
I think this is trash.First of all children are not slaves for your use. Second a child will have many years of hard labor when there older why not give them a break when there young. Think about how many years a person is in the work force compared to thier childhood. Let them be children before they have all the responsibilities of life when older!