What Chores Should Your Child Be Doing? - Blog

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What Chores Should Your Child Be Doing?

Published Date: 07/09/19

Every parent dreads the chore wars. The back and forth over whose responsibility it is to do what and what’s fair or unfair often leaves many parents exhausted and dreading the next round. And at the worst part is that at the back of your mind you just know that this is a battle you have to fight almost every day.

If you want to get ahead of it all, it is a good idea to be proactive as opposed to being reactive. Ask yourself, what chores are my kids capable of doing? What chores are important for them to learn?

Before you can answer these questions, you need to understand that there is a big difference between a chore and a life skill. A chore is an activity that benefits the household as a whole, while a life skill is an activity that prepares children for living life on their own. Therefore, taking out the trash is an example of a chore, while learning to save or stick to a budget are examples of life skills.

Age appropriate chores are important because they teach responsibility and hard work. They are a great way to help kids feel needed, important, develop good work ethic, and learn how to be independent and less entitled.

Ideally, children should start doing chores from the moment they develop the ability to understand and follow instructions. Typically, this is from the age of two onwards. However, it is important to keep in mind the fact that every child matures at a different pace. Also, how often they need to do these chores is your prerogative as the parent. Assign the chores and determine the frequency, whether daily, weekly, or biweekly.

child washing dishes

Another very important thing to note here is that no child knows how to do any chore naturally. They need to learn from you first. So show them how to do the chore, let them make mistakes as you supervise them, and with time, they will learn to do these chores by themselves with zero supervision.

It is also important to mention the fundamental value of a chore chart especially if you are just starting out with kids who are not yet used to doing chores. The chores you start them off with do not need to be big. The most important thing is to simply get started and work your way up. Chore charts help you do just that. They keep things simple. And the best part is that they can be personalized, so if you do not want to download a free pre-made one from the internet, simply sit down for a few hours and create your own family chore chart.

That being said, here are the age appropriate chores for children:

AGE 2 TO 3
Personal Chores
•    Assist in making their own beds
•    Assist you to pick up their toys
•    Get their own diapers and wipes from their storage areas
•    Throw away their used diapers and wipes in the bin
Family Chores
•    Take dirty laundry to the laundry basket
•    Throw trash in the trash bin
•    Put books on the bookshelf
•    Fold washcloths
•    Help clean up spills and do simple wiping and sweeping
•    Dust low-height furniture
•    Help you to refill a pet’s water or food bowl

AGE 4 TO 5
Personal Chores
•    Learn to read the family chore chart
•    Dress themselves up
•    Make their own beds with some help from the parents
•    Bring things inside from the car and take them to the appropriate rooms
•    Pick up their own toys and put them away
•    Wash their own hands
Family Chores
•    Help set the table
•    Help clear the table
•    Provide supervised help in food preparation
•    Water the plants
•    Weed the garden
•    Help carry in lighter groceries
•    Sort laundry by color
•    Match clean socks after the laundry is washed
•    Answer the family phone with parental supervision
•    Be fully responsible for feeding the pet and refilling the water bowl
•    Dust various surfaces around the house with supervision
•    Hang up clean towels in the bathroom
•    Clean their own rooms with supervision
•    Dry mop the floor

AGE 6 TO 7
Personal Chores
•    Learn to use the family chore chart by themselves
•    Make their own beds every day
•    Brush their teeth every day
•    Comb their own hair
•    Choose their own outfit of the day
•    Write thank you notes without supervision
Family Chores
•    Water, feed and exercise the pet
•    Peel potatoes and carrots
•    Vacuum various rooms around the house with supervision
•    Wet mop the floor
•    Dust various surfaces around the house with no supervision
•    Fold laundry with supervision
•    Put away clean laundry in drawers and closets
•    Put away dishes from the dishwasher
•    Help prepare food with supervision
•    Clean their own rooms
•    Empty indoor trash
•    Answer the family phone with parental supervision

AGE 8 TO 11
Personal Chores
•    Take care of their own personal hygiene with no supervision
•    Keep their bedroom clean
•    Do their own homework with no supervision
•    Be responsible for their own belongings
•    Write thank you notes for gifts without supervision
•    Wake up using an alarm clock
Family Chores
•    Learn to use the washer and dryer
•    Wash dishes
•    Wash the family car with supervision
•    Prepare simple meals on their own
•    Clean the bathroom with supervision
•    Rake leaves
•    Put laundry away with supervision
•    Take the trash to the curb for pickup
•    Test smoke alarms with supervision
•    Screen phone calls to the family phone and answer when appropriate

AGE 12 TO 13
Personal Chores
•    Take care of their own personal hygiene
•    Be responsible for their own belongings
•    Do their own homework without supervision
•    Write invitations and thank you notes
•    Set and use their own alarm clocks
•    Change their own bed sheets
•    Keep their rooms tidy
Family Chores
•    Change light bulbs with supervision
•    Change the vacuum bag
•    Dust various rooms in the house
•    Vacuum the house
•    Clean bathrooms
•    Do dishes
•    Clean mirrors
•    Mow the lawn with supervision
•    Babysit
•    Prepare a simple family meal

AGE 14 TO 15
Personal Chores
•    Responsible for their own personal hygiene
•    Be responsible for their own belongings
•    Do their own homework without supervision
•    Keep their rooms tidy
Family Chores
•    Do assigned housework with no prompting
•    Do yard work without prompting
•    Babysit
•    Make a grocery list
•    Buy groceries with minimal supervision
•    Serve a family meal with no supervision
•    Wash windows

AGE 16 TO 18
Personal Chores
•    Responsible for their own personal hygiene
•    Be responsible for their own belongings
•    Keep their rooms tidy
•    Responsible for earning their own spending money
•    Responsible for purchasing their own clothes
•    If they drive a car, they are responsible for maintaining it
Family Chores
•    Do any house chores as needed
•    Do any yard work as needed
•    Make a grocery list
•    Buy groceries
•    Prepare a family meal
•    Serve the family meal
•    Deep clean the house as needed
•    Deep clean any house appliances as needed
•    Do simple repairs around the house with minimal supervision

Final Thoughts

Here are a few tips to help you become more effective when it comes to chores:
•    Do not insist on perfection. Adopt a relaxed approach to how well your kids do their chores and be patient as you correct them and show them how to do it better.
•    Do not delay and think that your kids are too young to do some things. Start them out with simple tasks and work them up to more complex ones as you assess their abilities. Your kids will definitely surprise you.
•    Praise them when they do something well. Be sure to praise them as they do the chore instead of waiting until it is done. This way, you will build positive momentum and they will enjoy doing the chore more.
•    Be consistent. Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to chores. If they have to do something daily, make sure it is done on a daily basis without fail. If they know that they have no choice but to do something, they will be less likely to put it off for later or to let someone else do it for them.

This list of chores is only meant to be a guide showing you the types of chores typical kids at various ages are capable of completing. It is up to you as the parent to train them on how to do them well and to determine how often they will need to perform each chore. In the end, these chores will teach them personal and family responsibility, allowing them to grow up to be all rounded members of society.

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