A Look at Common Chores for Kids by Age and the Importance of Everyday Chores for Kids
One of the biggest barriers parents face when it comes to allowing their children to develop and become more independent is the notion that it’s “faster and easier just to do it myself.”
But you can help your child by having them participate in daily, weekly, and monthly chores. Teaching them the responsibility of chores early on is incredibly important since it helps them develop much-needed skills as they get older.
So here’s a look at age-appropriate chores and the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to getting your kids to help out around the house.
Teaching the Importance of Chores & Developing A Work Ethic
Giving your child the responsibility of chores teaches them to develop into responsible, self-sufficient people. By teaching kids to do chores at an early age, they can develop a healthy work ethic built on self-discipline and the ability to work hard, persevere, and tolerate frustrating situations.
If kids don’t develop these skills, a work ethic, and a sense of responsibility at an early age, they may not do well in school and at their jobs later on. And they may not be able to complete chores and tasks without resistance as they get older.
So help teach your kids to overcome adversity, delay gratification, and work hard for what they want by introducing chores at an early age.
Create A Chore Chart for Your Child (Or Find One Online)
Create a list of daily chores for your household and ask your kids to pick out the chores they like most. You can then create a chore chart or find one online to print out. Chore charts usually have the list of chores, the name of the person responsible for each chore, and the deadline for the chore to be completed.
Place your chore chart in a location where everyone in your family, big and small, can easily read it. If you want, you can have chore charts for daily chores, weekly chores, and monthly chores. Monthly chores for kids could be less pressing tasks like helping to wash the car or weed the garden.
Here are lists of chores by age using the most common chores for kids.
Ages 2 to 3
When teaching chores to young children, use a timer to motivate them to complete their chores before the timer goes off. Make chores more like a fun game and model this behaviour too.
Appropriate chores for young children ages 2 to 3 include:
- Get dressed—pull up elastic waist pants, put on shirts
- Brush teeth (with guidance)
- Put away toys
- Feed the pets
- Water the plants
- Wipe tables
- Dust furniture
- Help fold towels and match socks
- Help make the bed
- Help set the table
- Put their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper
Ages 4 to 5
Along with the chores listed above, kids aged 4 to 5 can also:
- Clean their rooms
- Collect and sort laundry
- Make their own beds
- Wash themselves in the bath (with your supervision)
- Help clean up after bathtime—hang up their towel, put their dirty clothes in the hamper
- Set the table
- Dust the baseboards
- Use a hand-held vacuum
- Put their dirty dishes on the counter
- Help wash and dry the dishes
- Help put away the groceries
- Help prepare snacks
- Help make their own simple lunches
- Pick out their clothes for the next day
- Get dressed
- Start learning to tie their shoes
- Help younger siblings with tasks like getting dressed
Ages 6 to 8
At this age, you can start introducing an allowance system for completing chores. An allowance can help kids work toward achieving their goals, like saving up enough money to buy a new game or toy instead of you having to buy these things whenever they ask.
You can also teach your kids to budget and wait to buy things until they are on sale. Making them wait a few days before making an impulse purchase can help them learn to save money and they may decide they don’t want to make the purchase after all.
Children aged 6 to 8 should be able to do the above chores and:
- Tidy their rooms daily
- Load the dishwasher
- Empty garbage cans
- Clean windows
- Fold and put away clothes
- Clean up after the pets
- Help rake leaves
- Weed the garden
- Sweep the deck, patio, or porch
- Help pack their lunch
- Work with you on their homework and do some on their own
- Brush their teeth without supervision
- Meet bath and bedtime deadlines
- Answer the phone
- Respond politely
- Help with dinner chores
- Bring in their belongings from the car and put them away every day
- Set and wake up using an alarm clock (with your guidance)
Ages 9 to 11
By ages 9 to 11, kids can do all of the above chores and the following chores:
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Walk the dog
- Take out the garbage and bring in the garbage cans
- Bring in the mail
- Keep their rooms clean
- Set and clear the table
- Shovel snow
- Help wash the car
- Tidy the family and playrooms
- Sweep and mop the floors
- Help with food prep
- Get ready for school on their own
- Take baths/showers and brush their teeth without supervision
Things to Avoid When Asking Your Children to Participate in Chores
Insisting On Perfection
No one is perfect, and there’s a good chance your child won’t be able to do their chores with your skill level. So take a relaxed approach to delegating chores and don’t jump in to do it “the right way.” That will negate the whole purpose of teaching your kids to develop a work ethic.
Delaying the Request
Starting chores early on will help your kids develop good habits. And it’s much easier to teach good habits at an early age than to break bad habits when they’re older. So even if you think your child is too young to start chores, remember that kids, even young kids, can do simple chores.
It doesn’t hurt to try asking your kids to do chores. You will probably be surprised to see that they are quite capable and willing to help out around the house, especially when you praise them and thank them for helping.
Not Enough Praise
Kids thrive on praise and positive reinforcement, not criticism or threats to motivate them. So praise your kids while they are doing chores. And if they manage to get their chores done early, especially in the morning before school, they can spend that extra time playing a game.
Being inconsistent with chores will not help your kids learn to take responsibility. If you are not consistent with delegating chores, or you give in when they whine and do their chores for them, you are teaching them that it’s okay to put off tasks since someone else will do their tasks for them.
Enforcing everyday chores for kids teaches them useful life habits, such as how to take care of themselves so they can live healthy, happy, and productive lives. So give your kids a head start in becoming responsible, self-sufficient people who have a strong work ethic and get them to start helping out around the house.