For years I’ve talked about the importance of age appropriate chores for kids on this site. It took me a while to realize that I couldn’t do it all and I needed my kids to pick up after themselves and help out a little.
After I realized that my kids were capable of doing chores at a very young age I implemented daily and weekly chores in our home. Vital to our success was assigning age appropriate chores to each child.
Reader Nikki asks….
Can you write posts about each age – what you have them do total? I am not naturally organized, so this would help me implement gradually.
I’ve always believed it has more to do with ability than age. Some of my children were ready to use the stove at eight or nine and others I’ve felt needed more time to mature. Only you know what your child is capable of doing when it comes to chores.
Remember to keep in mind your child’s age, ability, and maturity when assigning chores around the house. Most importantly, young children need supervision while doing age appropriate chores for two reasons. First, you want to make sure they are learning the correct way to do each chore and second you want to make sure they are not doing anything that could harm them or the house.
Finally, don’t mistake laziness for inability. I’ve found that the earlier you give your child age appropriate chores the more they can do at a younger age. Most children are very capable, you just need to motivate them.
I’m sharing with your our family’s chore list. Remember, because the two-year old can do the chores on the list doesn’t mean she does all the chores on the list. I use the list as a guide when it comes to assigning chores. Each child does one to two age appropriate chores each day depending on the size of the job.
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids
Toddler (ages 2 and 3)
- Pick up/ put away toys
- Unload the dishwasher (silverware, plastic cups, tupperware)
- Dust with a feather duster or microfiber rag
- Swiffer the floor
- Put clothes in the dirty clothes hamper
- Collect dirty clothes
- Help get clothes from washer to dryer
- Put clothes away
- Make bed
- Wipe cabinets
- Wipe baseboards (soapy water)
Preschooler (ages 4-5)
- Any toddler chores
- Load the dishwasher
- Vacuum couch/ chairs/ cushions
- Take out recycling
- Set table
- Clear table
- Wash dishes (with supervision)
- Clean windows
- Wipe out bathroom sinks (baby wipes work great for this chore!)
- Match socks
- Fold dish towels
Early Elementary (ages 6-8)
- Any toddler and preschool chores
- Meal prep (wash produce, find ingredients, simple cutting with butter knife)
- Wipe bathroom sinks, counters, toilets
- Hang out laundry
- Collect garbage
- Get mail
- Fold/hang laundry
- Clean microwave
- Rake leaves
- Any previous chores
- Make meals
- Take garbage/ recycling to the curb
- Wash/ dry clothes
- Clean toilets
- Mop floors
- Vacuum out cars
Middle School (12-14)
- Clean tub/ shower
- Make full meals/ meal plan
- Clean out fridge/ freezer
- Mow yard
- Wash car
- Supervise younger children’s chores
High School (15-18)
By the time my children reach high school age I expect them to have the ability to do any chore around the house. While they don’t do everything I know they are capable in all areas of home management.
When a child becomes proficient at a chore it is time to pass that chore to a younger child. I take the lowest common denominator approach to chores in our house. This means the youngest child who is able to do the chore gets the job. When the child is learning their chores they are supervised by a sibling or a parent.
While our family isn’t perfect when it comes to chores, my kids are encouraged to work together to keep the house clean and organized.
My only regret is that I wish I would have given my kids age appropriate chores when they were younger. When I only had two young children it was easier to just do it all myself. Not anymore. Having kids that can help around the house keeps the house cleaner and frees up more time for fun activities as a family.
Finally, remember to keep it fun! Most little children WANT to help out around the house. Assigning small chores like the ones listed above allow your kids to feel like a contributing member of the family. Put on some fun music, sing a favorite song (we use to sing the Clean Up song from Barney) and work together to make it enjoyable for everyone in the family.
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