Here is a list of age appropriate chores for kids, listing chores kids can do at various ages along with easy tips to manage your family’s household chores.
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids
As kids grow up, it is important to teach them important life skills they will need when they grow up and move out of your house and if you haven’t already started, the time to start is now!
Children need to learn to do daily tasks as much as they need to do anything else in life. Sometimes parents want to rescue their kids from the “torment” of having to help around the house, but it is a huge mistake that will lead to having entitled teenagers and, later, adult children who will refuse to grow up, get a job and move out of your house.
Teaching kids how to maintain their part of the household and assigning them age appropriate chores reduces your stress in the home and will give them much more confidence at their own ability to be successful in life. I always started my children young witn very simple tasks and increased their responsibilities and the complexity of their tasks as they got older.
As they got older, my husband told the kids that our job is to make sure we equipped them to be able to survive on their own by the time they were 18. Not that they needed to move out at 18, but just that we need to be preparing them to grow up and be able to take the reins of their own lives when the time comes. Teaching them useful life skills will help them learn and grow and also avoid the fear of being responsible for themselves when they become adults.
A lot of times, parents are overwhelmed trying to figure out age appropriate chores for kids. We’ve created a list of age appropriate chores for all your kids. Right now we have 5 kids and we rotate the chores each week so the kids are doing all of their chores and one child doesn’t get stuck with the same chores all the time. We did add in things like planning meals but you could add these types of chores for your older kids to start learning how to cook.
3 Year Old Chores
- Get dressed
- Put away pajamas
- Brush teeth
- Wash face
- Comb hair
- Make bed (Use a sleeping bag that matches the decor in their room as a comforter. This makes it easy. Then, you also have a sleeping bag handy when needed.)
- Pick up the bedroom.
- Put clothes in the laundry hamper.
- Help set the table.
- Clear dishes from the table, help load the dishwasher or help with washing dishes. They can rinse and put dishes in the drainer.
- Empty small wastebaskets.
- Help hang wet laundry on the clothes rack.
4&5 Year Old Chores
Don’t let the kids go out and play, get on the computer or watch tv until their chores are done for the morning.
All of the chores listed above plus:
- Bring in the newspaper and mail.
- Unload the dishwasher.
- Help set the table.
- Clear dishes from the table, help load the dishwasher or help with washing dishes. They can rinse and put them in the drainer.
- Haul wood for a wood stove or family fire pit.
- Pick up the yard before older kids mow.
- Empty small wastebaskets.
- Help hang wet laundry on clothes rack.
- Dust their rooms.
- Help fold small laundry like washrags and underwear.
- Put away folded laundry
- Feed animals
6&7 Year Old Chores
Again, don’t let the kids go out and play, get on the computer or watch tv until their chores are done for the morning!
Everything Above Plus:
- Dust their rooms.
- Take out the garbage.
- Sweep the porch.
- Sweep floors.
- Go through toys and get rid of what they don’t want anymore.
- Pick up the yard for older kids to mow.
- Wipe down the bathroom sink.
- Pull weeds.
- Help fold the laundry and put away their own folded laundry.
8&9 Year Old Chores
All chores above plus:
- Start ironing easy items like pillow cases.
- Clean sliding door glass and windows and mirrors.
- Clean fingerprints from doors and walls.
- Help fold the laundry.
After Age 10 They Can Start:
Everything above plus:
- Changing their own sheets
- Clean the bathroom
- Clean up the kitchen
- Scrub floors
- Help wash the car
- Yard work (mow, weed, put down mulch)
- Start to cook and bake and make their own breakfast
- Walk the dog.
Don’t let them go to work or out with friends until the chores are done.
Everything above plus:
- Babysit younger siblings.
- Wash and vacuum the car.
- Do their own laundry.
- Plan and cook full meals.
- Wipe down fingerprints off of the walls.
- Mow the entire yard.
How We Do Chores At Our House.
We set up a “chore week”.
We have chore charts on the refrigerator and then the chores rotate each week. We have “My Week” written on one of the chore charts and the kid whose “week” it is gets to decide when there are arguments about who gets to sit in the front seat, who gets what dessert, etc. We have”My Week” on the chore list of the child who is responsible for loading the dishwasher that week because that is the “worst” job according to the kids.
These are the chores that we do every day (except the shower and tub, which get done once a week). Then the extra stuff like mowing and car cleaning we just add in on Saturday as needed.
- Washes the dishes/loads the dishwasher
- Wipes the bathroom sink and mirror
- Shakes rugs
- Dries and puts away dishes/unloads the dishwasher
- Cleans the toilet
- Helps the younger kid pick up toys
- Clears and wipes the table
- Empties and takes out the kitchen trash
- Cleans the shower
- Clears and wipes the bar
- Empties bathroom trashcans
- Cleans the tub
- Cleans windows and mirrors
Child #5 (6 yrs. old)(He is not in the family chores rotation yet and just has his own chores.)
- Unloads silverware from dishwasher (He can’t reach to unload the the other dishes yet.)
- Empties office and bedroom trashes
- Feeds the dog
Additional Tips for getting kids to do chores:
- If kids are too young to read, use pictures instead of words on their chore charts.
- Make a list for jobs that need to be done on Saturday like weeding, mowing, etc.
- Make it a game to get kids to help out.
- Set the clock for 10 minutes and have everyone clean up during that time.
- Tell the kids to pick up 10 things and put them away.
- Pick a color and have them put that color away.
- Let toddlers help. Our two year olds loved to go put things in the laundry basket, put toys in their rooms and put blankets and pillows in their beds. Teach them young!
- If one system doesn’t work, then try another. My friend Becky has an different way of dividing up chores and I think it’s a great idea. If one system doesn’t work then try something else!
- Don’t control how kids clean up. If they are really trying their best, then just let it be. If the bed is made but has wrinkles, leave it. If they are young (2-4 years old) and they put away the silverware but the small and large forks get mixed in together, just straighten it out later. Don’t be too perfectionist with them or they will become discouraged. As they get older, teach them how to do it properly. Continually help them so they can learn the right way. I go in and help clean up their room with them when it looks like a bomb went off. Every night before bed, I help by telling them to put away the few things that need to be put away so they don’t just throw them on the floor.
- Break down the tasks. Don’t tell kids “clean up your room” or clean up the living room. Tell them, “I want all the dolls put away”, “all the clothes”, etc. You may not get the entire room clean, but it’s a start. Do this with kids up to around 8 or 9 years old. Make lists for the kids who can read.
- Make it easy for the kids to help. Put cereal on a bottom shelf. Put their cups, bowls and plates on a bottom shelf, keep a stool for them to use to help with dishes, etc.
- The kids don’t have to do their chores, but if they don’t, they don’t get to use the car, go out and ride bikes or play with friends, play on computers or whatever other thing they would like to do.
- If the kids still refuse to clean up after themselves, then take their stuff away and require them to “earn” it back. After a week, they get one toy back, the next another one, etc. If they have kept up with the chores faithfully for 4-6 weeks then they can have everything back. Of course, adjust this to their age as weeks can be nearly an eternity for younger kids.
- Another idea is to give kids an allowance that is in the form of credit. Every two weeks, allow them $10 or an amount that seems reasonable according to your finances and their ages. If something isn’t done, they get $1 (or whatever amount) deducted from allowance. Then, at the end of the two weeks, they get the amount that is left.
- You could also charge your kids for maid services. If you clean up after them, they get so much taken off their allowance.
- Make a list for your husband and kids for the days where there are extra chores like mowing. If they can see what needs to be done on a list, they are more likely to do it. It is a good feeling to see a check mark next to the item after it’s been completed. Be sure to tell your husbands and kids, “Thank You!!!”
- If you ask another member of the family to help, don’t criticize their work or tell them how to do it. The exception is when you are showing children how to do something. At that time it is appropriate to gently teach them.If your husband unloads the dishwasher for you and puts something in the wrong place, don’t say anything about it. Later, just move it back to the right place. When my kids were first leaning to unload the dishwasher they wouldn’t separate the little forks from the big ones. I would just go and put them in the right order later. You may say, “Well that’s not going to save me any time if I have to go back and fix it.” The truth is, it does save a lot of time because eventually they get it and you won’t have to do it yourself, but if you hound them, they will get discouraged and stop trying.If your husband puts the dishes in the dishwasher a different direction than you do, so what? Let it go. There are much bigger things in life to think about than stewing over how the dishes are put in the dishwasher. (All of you OCD/Type A Moms: NO, it REALLY DOES NOT MATTER! Don’t cause unnecessary stress in your family obsessing over trivial things.)
- After you are confident the kids have learned the chore, then start inspecting for a job well done. If it’s not done correctly, show them how to do it and then tell them your expect it done that way from now on. Let them know you will be checking on them.
- Draw a place setting for a plate, glass, silverware and napkin on a paper place mat. Children can easily learn how to set the table by following your drawing. The placemat can also be laminated so you can use it over and over if you like.
I hope some of these tips will help you start getting your house in order and teach the kids how to be responsible!
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