Age Appropriate Chores for Kids Aged 2-18

Age Appropriate Chores for Kids Aged 2-18

It's winter, everyone is going stir crazy between the freezing cold and covid precautions: If ever there was a time to roll out chore charts for your kids, it's now! What chores can a 5-year old be in charge of? How about an 8-year old? According to research, children of all ages can benefit both physically and emotionally from lending a helping hand.

Of course, little kids and big kids are different in what chores they can handle, and what motivates them to help. Keep in mind that all children are different and age is not the only factor when determining the right chore. In addition to age, think about maturity level, physical ability, and interest when selecting the right chores for your kids. Set your child up for success and choose an appropriate and doable amount of chores and timeline in which to complete them. When it comes to giving your kid chores, it’s important to give chores that are age appropriate. Believe it or not, kids actually like to be challenged, so you don’t want to give tasks that feel like “busy work”.

Ages 2-3:

Toddlers love to help with chores and while their help may not always be as helpful as we would hope, keeping their excitement and the habit of helping alive is worth the extra effort. It lends to building their self confidence and motivation moving forward in life. 

  • Make your bed/pull up covers
  • Pick up toys and books
  • Put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper
  • Help wipe up messes
  • Put toys in bins/boxes 
  • Put clean clothes away
  • Sort unmatched socks
  • Stack books on a bookshelf

Ages 4-5:

Preschoolers still feel the same desire to help their parents, because they are still learning through copying their elders. At this age, there are even some chores children can do without supervision. The reason for this increasing inability is that preschoolers have started to master the skills necessary to complete tasks unsupervised. Their hand-eye coordination will have increased, as will have their ability to follow more complex instructions.

  • Clear and set the table
  • Dust
  • Help out in cooking and preparing food
  • Carrying and putting away groceries
  • Swiffer the floors
  • Help load dishwasher
  • Use handheld vacuum 
  • Prepare simple snacks
  • Feed pets
  • Match socks

Ages 6-8: 

Although enthusiasm for chores may diminish for school-aged kids, they have other redeeming qualities that work well for chores. Most school-aged children have an overwhelming desire to be independent. Parents should understand that this age group will sometimes start “rebelling” against the idea of chores, as they learn more independence. With patience, however, they will understand they are still expected to help around the home. Reassurance and rewards for completed tasks will start keeping them motivated at this age.

  • Take care of pets
  • Vacuum and mop
  • Take out ​the trash
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Sweep kitchen floor
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Rake garden
  • Clean out weeds
  • Replace toilet rolls
  • Prepare simple lunches like PB&J sandwiches

Ages 9-12:

Kids at this age will appreciate a set schedule and expectations. If you can create a schedule or system with a little input from them, you'll have a smooth transition. It's best to find a system that works for your family. Then, parents can hold the child responsible and check just once a day to see that things were checked off the list or chart. This helps children learn not only self-reliance but how to be responsible for themselves when nobody is looking.

  • Help wash the car
  • Learn to wash dishes or load the dishwasher
  • Help prepare simple meals
  • Clean the toilet/shower/vanity
  • Wipe down mirrors
  • Operate the washer and dryer
  • Sweep porch
  • Walk dogs
  • Put groceries away
  • Bring in empty garbage can from the curb
  • Bring in mail
  • Mop floors

Ages 13-18:

Most teenagers are capable of handling nearly any chore in the home as long as they've been taught properly. One thing to be sensitive to is the cramped schedule of teenagers. Just as we get overwhelmed when we have too much to do, teenagers can find themselves struggling to maintain an unmanageable workload. This is the perfect age to start making sure your child is fully prepared for the eventuality of living on their own since those years are coming up soon.

  • Replace light bulbs and vacuum cleaner bags
  • Do their own (or the family's) laundry
  • Wash windows
  • Clean out​ the refrigerator and other kitchen appliances
  • Prepare complete meals
  • Prepare grocery lists
  • Change light bulbs
  • Paint walls
  • Iron clothes
  • Help babysit younger siblings
Children are capable of doing much more than parents might think. Even the youngest family members can help with household tasks as early as two, and by the time your child reaches their teenage years, they can do nearly any chore you can. Keep in mind that children mature at their own pace and not all kids will be capable of advanced chores at the same age. Likewise, some children may be ready for more difficult chores at a younger age. There are many benefits to giving children chores, and it also makes life easier for parents.

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