Go to chores for:
- Kids aged 2-3 years
- Kids aged 4-5 years
- Kids aged 6-7 years
- Kids aged 8-12 years
- Kids aged 13-15 years
- Kids aged 16 years and above
Should children help around the house? Or should they just be kids and enjoy their childhood playing and learning?
When it comes to chores for kids, parents are divided. Some say children should not be burdened while others say kids should learn to do things around the house to grow into self-sufficient adults. Here, MomJunction tells you why it is a good idea to get the kids to help around the house. We also give a list of age-appropriate chores for kids.
Chores For Kids – How Important Are They?
Many parents believe that housework is not for a child. While we agree that children should not have to bear the burden of managing the house as an adult does, we believe that it is important that kids help around with the household chores. Here’s why:
- Helping with the chores in the house makes kids develop important life skills that they will need as adults.
- Children learn to be responsible when they are given chores. They also learn about taking ownership, especially owning up to their mistakes.
- “You don’t know how it feels until it happens to you.” Same way, children do not understand how difficult it is to manage a household until they start helping you. They may even begin to respect you for all the work you do at home.
- Completing a task given by the parent can be an accomplishment for the child, no matter how small the task is. It could fill them with pride.
- It is possible that children may use their logical and reasoning skills to complete a task, in order to avoid the consequences of not finishing the chores.
- Getting the children to help you with chores will also free up some of your time and help you relax.
- When helping with chores at home, teamwork is another thing kids will learn as they understand how tasks can be shared and assigned to different members, based on their abilities.
- Children can pick a few life skills such as planning, budgeting, cooking, washing, and managing a home.
- When your child is bored, a chore can keep them busy in a productive way.
Chores can also teach kids about work ethics, honesty, and hard work. When you give your child a task and expect them to finish it, they learn that punctuality and sticking to deadlines matter. When you reward the children only after they complete their chores efficiently, they learn about the importance of working hard to earn something. And, the fact that they need to have proof of their work to earn that reward will teach them the importance of honesty.
Now, let’s take a look at different chores that children can do.
[ Read: How To Teach Kids To Be Responsible ]
Chores For Kids By Age
Kids aged 2-3 years
Chores for children aged two and three?
Of course! Children at this age are enthusiastic and keen about things. Introducing them to little chores at that age can be a great idea. And the best way to do this is through demonstration.
- Pick up toys: The simplest of all chores is to pick up the toys and put them back in the bag or basket! And we think that two and three-year-old children can do this with ease. All you have to do is show them how it is done and they would willingly follow in your steps.
- Throw diapers in trash: Similar to the first task discussed here, throwing diapers in the garbage is also an easy chore. However, do not forget to teach the child as to what goes into the trash and what goes into the toys basket.
You can also teach the child to use a cloth to dust things and clean spilled water. Show them how to do it once, and the next time they spill water, give them a cloth, and they will know what to do!
The little ones can also assist you in making beds – they could help pull the sheets and set the pillows on the bed when you make their bed!
By the age of four, children are better at understanding the importance of placement of things. This means that they will quickly understand where and how to put things in order.
Kids aged 4-5 years
[ Read: Good Habits In Children ]
Children aged between four and five have more skills and abilities and are as willing as the younger ones to help their parents. They also start to enjoy team activities, which means they are more likely to enjoy helping you than by doing a chore by themselves.
- Kids at this age can do more than just pick their toys up from the floor. They can sort the toys, stack them up if needed, and put them away in different boxes. So get them to do this every day, and you will be helping your kids learn an important rule of organization: a place for everything, everything in its place.
- Older kids can also help you set the table. But give them simple tasks such as placing the mats, plates, and cutlery on the table. Four and five-year-old kids should not be made to carry dishes containing hot food or beverages.
- As they would set the plates, kids can also clean the dinner table by taking the plates off the table and putting them in the sink. Getting the children to use or operate the dishwasher at this age is not safe.
- Another simple task that your kids can do is sort out the whites and the colored clothes for laundry. They can even help you put the clothes in the machine, but they are still not ready to operate the washing machine all by themselves. So, be with the kids when they are around the machine.
- Dusting with a cloth or wiping the dirt off the counter using a clean cloth is another thing that the child can learn to do at this age. However, this may not be a good idea for kids who have asthma or any dust allergies.
- Straightening books on a table or shelf should be taught at this age. Four and five-year-old children may not be capable of cleaning their rooms yet, but they can learn to organize their bookshelves and the study tables.
At this age, the focus should be on teaching the child one skill at a time and not about making them self-dependent.
Kids aged 6-7 years
At ages six and seven, children are more independent and can do some small things for themselves. They are also capable of carrying out tasks around the house safely and efficiently. With their developmental milestones in mind, we have prepared a list of chores that your children aged six and seven can carry out easily.
[ Read: Common Child Behavioral Problems ]
- Younger kids may need a little help carrying all their things, but most older kids do not. Not only can you ask your older kids to bring their stuff from the car into the house, but also take the kids’ help to bring groceries or other things. However, remember that they are still young and cannot carry heavy weights. So, assign tasks that do not require them to lift heavy objects.
- When your children turn six, teach them to make it a habit to make their bed in the morning. They can even help out the younger siblings with it.
- Folding the laundry is not as easy as sorting the laundry. At age seven, children have better hand and eye coordination and can concentrate better, which makes it easier for them to fold clothes neatly and stack them up in the closet.
- Bringing the newspaper in and collecting the mail are chores that kids at this age can do with ease.
- While your six-year-old is still not ready to operate the dishwasher, he or she can certainly take the dishes out of the dishwasher, wipe and dry them, and put them back in the crockery cupboard. However, we recommend that you supervise when the kids are handling delicate objects such as china or glassware.
[ Read: Ways To Teach Kids About Money ]
- Your seven-year-old kids can move up one step and wash their dishes in the sink. Teach them to clear the plate of any leftover food and then use a sponge and dishwashing detergent to clean the plate.
- Your six-year-old may not be capable of doing the laundry all by himself, but he can certainly help you with a part of it. If you have a washer and dryer separate, you can teach the kid to put the clothes in the dryer once they are washed.
- Feeding the pet is an easy task for a kid who understands proportions and the concept of time. Children aged six and seven can be given the task of feeding the family pet every day. Just make sure that you give the child clear instructions about what to feed, how much food to give, and when to give the food.
- While full-scale gardening or operating a watering hose can be a challenge at this age, you can teach the kids to water indoor plants using a pail of water and a mug.
At first glance, it may not seem like there’s a lot that the kids can do to help you. The things that your little ones can do may seem trivial to you, but for them, it is a big accomplishment.
Kids soon turn into pre-teens and while they will still listen to you, understand that they may want to add a bit of their element in everything they do.
[ Read: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen To You? ]
Kids aged 8-12
Preteens, or children aged between eight and 12 years, may want to spend more time with friends and less time doing chores. But this is also the age when they learn to cooperate, look for approval from adults, and are enthusiastic to take up new challenges and accomplish them. They are more independent and can handle a few tasks all by themselves.
- Preteens can wash dishes. They can wash the dishes by hand, or you can teach them to use the dishwasher. Make sure you tell them how to and how not to use the dishwasher to ensure safety and efficiency of work.
- They may be capable of handling the dishwasher by themselves, but a few supervision sessions are a must.
- Raking leaves can be a time-consuming but straightforward activity that you can assign to a preteen. The plus side is that this physically straining activity doubles up as your child’s much needed physical activity for the day.
- Older kids should be taught to take responsibility for their belongings. So, if your child owns a bicycle, they should be able to care for it well. From washing the bicycle to maintaining it and getting it repaired, the child has to handle everything.
- A simple, yet not so appealing, task is taking the trash out. This chore is best left for the preteens and teenagers, for they are strong enough to carry the bags and put it in the right trash collection bins.
- Besides feeding a pet, a child aged between eight and 12 can also be given the task of walking the pet (in case it is a dog), bathing it, and grooming it.
- Vacuuming is also a simple task that preteens can handle. It is easy and does not need to be done every day.
- Mopping floors, using a cloth or a mop, is also a chore that the older children can handle. This task, however, requires some amount of physical stamina and strength to be done well.
- Making a basic meal is a survival skill that all kids need to know. Preteens are old enough to make their sandwich, boil cereal, and cut fruit. They can also safely use a stove to boil an egg, make hot chocolate or toast bread. However, we recommend that you ensure the safety of the child by supervising when they are in the kitchen.
The older the kids get, the better they are at completing chores efficiently, with little or no help from you. Keep reading to know about the chores you can have the older kids do around the house.
Kids aged 13-15
Teenagers are stronger, sharper, and quicker than the younger kids. They pick up skills faster and can efficiently complete the tasks on their own. Considering the maturity, strength, and intelligence that an average teenager shows, we have listed chores that they can do easily.
[ Read: Tips To Make Cleaning Fun For Kids ]
- Cleaning the bath or shower is not an easy task. A lot of effort goes into scrubbing the floors, walls, basins, and tubs. Not to forget that this task must be done carefully using cleaning gloves and cleaning supplies, which only adults or older kids know how to use. Also, cleaning bathrooms is not a fun task, but one that needs to be done anyway. And that is something that teenagers should learn sooner than later.
- With a little supervision, you can teach your teenager to cook simple dishes such as pancakes, pasta, sandwiches, and even cakes. Baking is one of the things teens may enjoy, so you can make use of that to get them to help you in the kitchen.
- Teenagers can also pack lunch for themselves and their younger siblings, if any. They can also be given the job of cleaning up the kitchen after you are done with the cooking.
- Another task that needs to be done meticulously is cleaning the inside of a fridge. Teenagers can segregate and organize things in the fridge, which gives them an idea of hygiene that needs to be maintained in places where you store food. However, they might need a bit of guidance on how to do it in the beginning.
- Older kids aged 13 to 15 can also take on gardening tasks such as mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, weeding out the yard, watering the plants, and so on.
- By the time they are 16, most teenagers may drive around in cars with their parents. You must teach them the shared responsibility of taking care of the car, keeping it clean, washing the car, etc.
- As mentioned earlier, teenagers are capable of sorting and organizing things. So if you are bringing in the groceries, your teenager can help you put them away in the right places.
- Older kids can also be given the task of helping out their younger siblings in getting dressed, doing homework, and cleaning the room too. They can also babysit their little sisters or brothers when the parents are out.
- Teens can also help in shoveling snow in the yard or clearing the snow off the driveway.
Young adults living in the house can clean not just their rooms but the entire house with a little help from parents. When you want the house cleaned during the spring or summer break, or want to spruce it up for Christmas, you know who to rely on!
[ Read: How To Discipline A Child ]
Kids aged 16 years and above
By the time they are 16, your children are way more independent, and most probably have their own car and a part-time job. Here are some of the chores you can expect your older kids aged 16 years or above to do.
- Driving the younger siblings to school, soccer practice, or piano recitals, or to other hobby classes, is a task you can assign to a reliable and responsible older child every once in a while.
- Children of this age can also be given the responsibility of purchasing groceries and managing smaller expenses of the home such as paying utility bills, and buying their clothes and gas for the car.
- Do the laundry – from sorting, washing, and drying to folding clothes, teenagers of this age can do the entire laundry on their own.
- Teenagers can also be given responsibility to supervise the chores of younger siblings. However, teach them to have a helping and guiding nature, instead of a bossy one.
Teenagers can also be given the vital task of earning their spending money through these chores. They should be able to do their chores on their own and manage their budget as well.
Now that the chores list for kids is ready, here is a question for you. How are you going to get the kids to do these chores?
[ Read: How To Motivate Your Child ]
Encouraging Children To Do Their Chores
The only way to get children to do the tasks around the house is to make them seem less like a ‘chore’. And, a little reward now and then can also be a great idea. Here are other points to remember to encourage children to do the chores.
- Be clear about what they have to do. Give them simple instructions that are easy to follow and implement.
- Praise them for diligently adhering to the routine and completing their tasks every day.
- Offer help when needed and let them know that you support them.
- Have a special reward system, such as a reward jar that can be used to collect points for the chores they do. At the end of the month, the points can be converted to money or other goodies. However, tangible rewards should not replace skill development as the primary goal of doing chores.
- Create a chores chart for kids. That will make it easier for children to keep track of their chores and complete it on time.
- Give them a mix of mundane and exciting jobs to do around the house. A child who takes the trash out at night can be your special helper when you bake a cake or go grocery shopping.
- Do not give too many chores in one day. If the child has multiple responsibilities, divide them into different categories, and spread the tasks and deadlines through the week. Then, the child will feel less burdened and will be able to complete all the chores in time.
As mentioned earlier, the idea of getting kids to do chores in the house is to help them learn basic life skills that can help them survive in their adulthood. Being equipped with these skills will give them the confidence they need to live on their own as and when they have to.
Do you have any ideas or suggestions on assigning chores to kids? Share them in our comments section.
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