Most of our kids are capable of helping around the house from a very young age. Many of us don’t ask though because the truth is that doing it ourselves is quicker and easier. Assigning age appropriate chores however is about much more than getting the work done; it’s about teaching your child about responsibilities and contributing to the household. Set up a chore chart to hold your kids accountable and make it fun. Remember to be patient knowing the tasks will not be done the way you would do them!
So…what chores are appropriate at what age?
At this age, you can teach your child to help out in small ways. They will learn they are expected to help around the house and as they age can be given more complex tasks. Have your little one help you with the following tasks:
Throw diapers into trash.
Put laundry in the hamper/washer.
Put toys away.
Put books on the bookshelf.
Help feed the family pet.
Kids’ ability to help with chores independently increases with age. Assign more complex jobs to them as they navigate through preschool and begin elementary school. The following tasks are appropriate at ages 4-7:
Help set and clear the table.
Help wash the car.
Make their bed.
Help put away groceries.
Put nonbreakable (not knives!) items in the dishwasher.
Switch laundry from the washer to dryer.
Pack up their backpack for school.
At this point your child will be able to help more and do so more independently. Responsibilities change from tasks affecting just them to those that help the entire family. Think about adding some of the chores below to their schedule:
Set the table independently.
Empty/load the dishwasher.
Clean their room.
Take out the trash.
Help cook dinner.
Fold and put away laundry.
Feed the dog/cat.
Help rake leaves/shovel snow.
Age 11 and Older
Kids generally want more independence overall once in middle school, and therefore you can ask them to take on larger scale chores. Keep in mind that all kids develop differently, so the age when you ask your child to step up their contributions to the household may vary. You will know when your child is ready to do more. Below are some ideas:
Clean their bathroom.
Clear the table and put dishes in the dishwasher.
Cut the grass
Wash, fold, and put away laundry.
Walk the dog.
Bake/cook with limited supervision.
Why are chores important for kids?
Giving your kids chores helps build self-esteem and provide a major source of accomplishment. It teaches the importance of completing an assigned job. Additionally, requiring help around the house helps emphasize the value of cleanliness and organization, which will not only benefit your children in many ways into adulthood but will help decrease the chaos in your house as they grow older. Perhaps most importantly, asking your child to help with chores gives the sense of being part of the household “team” and the importance of working together for everyone’s benefit.
With what chores do your children help around the house? We’d love to hear from you!