Struggling to come up with a list of chores that kids can do safely? These age-appropriate tasks teach children important skills and self-reliance while also giving parents some much-needed help around the house.
Why Assign Chores to Kids?
Here’s some good news: kids can do a LOT more than you think! After all, just 100 years ago, kids as young as nine worked 70-80 hours per week in factories. While we can all agree that’s not acceptable, we should also recognize that kids aren’t as helpless as we often think.
When it comes to assigning chores to kids, you can avoid a lot of frustration and tears if you’re patient about the learning process. So, once you decide on a list of your kids’ chores, make it a routine part of their lives.
Kids Need Time to Learn New Chores
It takes at least four times for kids to go from learning an entirely new skill to mastering it — sometimes more. The payoff is that once they master the task, they’ll feel good about themselves, and you can feel confident they’re doing the job the right way.
- Have them watch/help you do the chore and explain why you do it that way.
- Have them do the chore while you watch and offer suggestions.
- Have them do it independently, then provide feedback.
- Have them do it independently, then ask them to review and correct their work themselves.
Providing plenty of positive reinforcement and praise helps keep them engaged in the learning process. Meanwhile, they’re picking up other essential concepts, too.
Chores Teach Important Life Skills
Pitching in around the house teaches responsibility. It also teaches kids the basics of cleaning, organizing, and even cooking — all things they’ll need to do for themselves in the future. After all, they don’t suddenly know how to do such things the day they turn 18 and move out of the house.
Seriously, you do not want your kid trying to learn how to run a dishwasher or broil a fish in the oven for the first time in their own apartment. That’s how home floods and fires start.
Chores Develop A Good Work Ethic
Kids who do household chores also learn a work ethic that’s critical to future success. Putting chore time before playtime teaches kids to meet responsibilities before goofing off, an important concept that will help once they’re adults having to pay bills. Besides, giving kids chores means that Mom and Dad have more free time to spend with them. See? Everyone benefits.
Using This Age-Based Chore List for Children
If you’re just getting started giving younger kids chores to do, start them off with ones from an earlier age group. When they’ve gained some confidence and skill, give them age-appropriate chores, and they’ll continue to learn.
As kids grow older, they also grow more skilled and stronger. So, in addition to the chores listed under their age group, they should have mastered the household tasks from earlier years.
Age-Appropriate Chores for Younger Kids
Toddlers (1-2 years old)
Put dirty towels in the hamper.
Help make beds (put pillows on, smooth covers).
Pick up dirty clothes and put them in the hamper.
Pick up toys, books, and games.
Wipe smudges off surfaces they can reach.
3 to 5 years Old
Dust baseboards with a duster.
Dust cold air returns with a rag.
Dust mop the floor.
Dust picture frames with a cloth.
Dust tables with a rag.
Empty the bathroom trash can.
Clean their room with help.
Strip bed linens.
Shake the dirt off the Welcome Mat.
Shake the dirt off the car’s floor mats.
Do basic food prep (rinse produce, tear lettuce).
Set the table.
Fold hand towels and washcloths.
Sort and roll/fold socks.
Stack magazines, books, and videos neatly.
Straighten and fluff sofa pillows.
Chores for School-Aged Kids
6 and 7 Year Olds
Sort the recycling.
Vacuum edges of rooms with the crevice tool.
Wash pet food bowls.
Clean bathroom sinks with disinfecting wipes.
Use vacuum attachment under beds.
Polish front doorknob and kickplate.
Help carry in groceries.
Clean spills in the refrigerator.
Clear the table after meals.
Neatly stack food storage containers and their lids.
Run the sweeper on the kitchen floor after dinner.
Unload the dishwasher.
Wipe appliance fronts.
Wipe cupboard fronts.
Move clothes from washer to dryer.
Help hang freshly-dried clothing.
Sort laundry by colors.
Ages 8 and 9
Help hang freshly-dried clothing.
Collect trash from every wastebasket in the house.
Water house plants.
Clean their room on their own.
Put clean sheets on beds.
Get the trash out of the car.
Clean the microwave.
Help cook meals (mix ingredients, cut vegetables, etc.)
Help put away groceries.
Put junk mail through the shredder.
Take out the kitchen trash.
Sweep front walkway.
Rake leaves and help with yard work.
Ages 10 to 13
Clean the inside of the windows.
Sweep/vacuum dusty window screens.
Vacuum entire rooms.
Polish bathroom mirrors.
Sweep the deck or patio.
Wash patio/deck furniture.
Make simple family meals.
Wash the car.
Chores for Teens
Ages 14 and Up
Wash windows inside and out.
Clean any room in the house.
Dust ceiling fans.
Plan a grocery list.
Do the grocery shopping.
Mow the lawn independently.
Babysit other peoples’ children.
Printable Chore Chart for Kids
I keep a copy of the printable kids’ chore list on our refrigerator door using the list. Initially, I hoped my son would volunteer to do more housework. But what kid loves doing chores? Mine doesn’t, so now it’s there to help me remember that he’s capable of doing more than eating everything in sight and leaving his socks in weird places.
- Any time my son complains that he’s bored? Time for a few chores.
- He left a huge mess for me to deal with? That’s okay — he can spend an equal amount of time doing a few chores.
- Does he want extra pocket money? No problem. Earn it with chores!
- Rough-housing resulted in breaking something? Okay, time for some chores.
- Is it cleaning day? Guess what?? You’ve got chores!
You get the idea.
Ready to give your own kids chores? Click the image below to get a printable list of age-appropriate chores you can print. Or, right-click it to save it to your computer.