My husband’s grandmother says, “Many hands make light work.” I love that saying. All family members benefit when the housework is distributed. Children learn responsibility and priceless life skills by doing household chores. Kids chores don’t have to be a negative thing or a punishment. Young children and older children can actually have a great time doing household tasks. The key is to find the right chores that are age appropriate.
Having a Household List of Chores is a Great Way to Instill Work Ethic
Even simple tasks can teach young kids a sense of responsibility and work ethic, a new skill, and teach life skills at an early age. When the whole family works together, simple chores can also encourage and teach teamwork and bonding time. I can’t stress enough what an important thing it is to incorporate chores into your child’s life at an early age, to teach valuable lessons, important skills and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with hard work. So let’s get into this list of family chores!
Different Types of Chores for Different Ages
Once you have decided on which daily chores each child will do now, it’s important to re-evaluate periodically. New chores can be assigned as children get older, and younger siblings can take on chores that older kids were previously responsible for.
Best Chores for Kids of All Ages – Children Chores by Age
Toddler Chores (Young Age / 2-3 year olds)
- Pick Up Toys and put into toy bins/boxes/baskets
- Clear their place at the table by taking their plate and cup to the kitchen after a meal
- Carry their dirty clothes to the laundry room or laundry basket
- Handing hangers to you as you hang clothes
- Matching socks (make it a matching game!)
- Putting spoons and forks (after they are rinsed) into the dishwasher slots (my 2 year old loves to do this!)
- Sweep up small messes with a handheld sweeper and dust pan
- Loading clothes into the dryer. (My toddler loves when I hand him the clothes from the washing machine so he can place them into our front-load dryer.)
- Putting shoes into a shoe bin.
- Wiping the table or glass slider doors with a cleaning rag that only requires water, like these.
Preschool Age Group (4-5 Year Olds)
- All Toddler chores
- Make their beds
- Help put clothes away and hang their own clothes on hangers
- Take recycling out
- Load dishes into the dishwasher and/or help rinse dishes before loading
- Dust furniture
- Feed animals (For example, our daughter feeds the dog in the morning and our son feeds the dog in the evening. They both work together to take food and water to our chickens, and bring back the eggs).
- Water flowers and plants
- Wipe baseboards with damp rag
- Pull weeds
Elementary Kids Chores (Younger Kids / Ages 6-8)
- All Toddler & Preschool aged chores
- Set the table for dinner
- Wash dishes in sink
- Put clean clothes away on own
- Start the washer and dryer (I recently taught my 6 and 8 year olds how to do this!)
- Sweep floors
- Vacuum floors
- Get mail
- Roll trash cans to the end of the driveway on trash day, then bring them in afterwards
- Help put away groceries
- Help Bathe the dog
- Read off and cross off items on your list at the grocery store
- Take more responsibilities in the care of pets (clean out hamster cage, for example)
Older Elementary (Ages 9-11)
- All Toddler, Preschool, & Elementary Chores
- Help in meal preparation
- Clean toilets
- Clean bathroom sinks, counters, mirrors
- Walk dogs
- Mow lawn
- Shovel snow
- Help pack lunches
- Change sheets on beds
- Assist with yard work outside of grass cutting
- Write grocery list
Middle School (Ages 12-14)
- All chores from younger ages
- Clean showers/tub/full bathroom
- Mop floors
- Help supervise younger children
- Make their own breakfast, and maybe yours too!
- Do their own laundry, and maybe yours too!
High School Kids (Teenager Chores for Ages 14+)
- All kids’ chores listed above
- Clean House (you can have each child be responsible for a certain common living area like the living room, etc).
- Any and all household jobs, yard work chores, grocery shopping, all basic chores around the house and special projects.
Important Life Lessons from a Simple Chore List
The good news is, involving your children in chores creates vital life skills! It is our jobs as parents to teach our children practical skills which build our child’s confidence. Doing chores together can also increase the quality of your family life, ease the burdens on yourself as a busy parent, and foster a good relationship between you and your children through mutual respect.
Choosing to teach yours kids responsibility through tasks they can do on a daily basis, weekly basis, or monthly basis, instills a wide range of exceptional qualities in them from a young age. Even little things such as learning to be responsible for their own teeth, sounds simple but it’s a vital life skill that they will benefit from in the long run.
Positive Reinforcement for Good Behavior
Let’s talk about reward systems for chores. Some parents like them, some parents don’t. For some, a reward system is a good way to motivate school-age children to want to do new things that don’t sound like much fun. For others, child chores are just that: chores that are a hard and fast rule for the household and rewards are not warranted.
In my opinion, as a mom of three but no parenting expert, I say there is no right or wrong. There are no general guidelines that work for every single family. Figuring out what chore system works for your family, and your children, is a learning process.
We currently have set chores that our kids do daily, for which they receive no rewards (besides the feeling of accomplishment, right?). The traditional side of me has found myself telling him that their payment is that they get to live in our house and eat our food, and for that they most contribute to the efforts of our family unit. However, we do have some special chores they can do from time to time and make a little money. For example, my son used to do special yard work projects with my father-in-law and get paid (mostly in quarters) dependent upon his efforts and the time he stuck to it.
Ways You Can Reward Kids for Doing Chores, if you so choose:
Again, what works for each family is different. There is no real right or wrong, but there some ways that some parents reward children for chores, and some random ideas I thought of while writing this:
- A little pocket money for specific jobs if done well and on time
- Extra time to play video games
- Ice cream date at the end of the month if all chores are completed on time and with no complaints
- A week off of all chores at the end of each school year (if they got good grades!)
Final Thoughts on Kids Doing Chores
Kids are not going to do chores the way you do chores, and you’re going to have to accept that. If you take over, or redo their work constantly, you risk damaging their confidence and making them hate doing chores. Give them plenty of time to learn new tasks, and learn to let it go if it’s not perfect. Done is better than perfect. Repeat after me mamas, done is better than perfect. With a little time, they will get better as they learn. The best way to learn is to do, not to watch your mom do it for you.
Printable Chore Charts
A lot of parents have great success with using a printable chore chart. I prefer these magnetic dry erase chore charts for less paper and ink waste.
Printable List of Age-Appropriate Chores
Click the image below or click here to download this PDF printable list of age-appropriate chores for kids.
Other Posts You Make Like:
Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and Koa. I am a graphic designer, website developer and aspiring author. In this space, I share about everything from parenting, working from home, food we cook, and lots of things for kids! Learn more about me here.