Which chores are okay to ask your children to do, and at what ages?
We all want to teach our children to take care of themselves... eventually. But how do we know which chores are okay for them to learn, and at what ages?
Hi there - I copied this for you from my household management file, from these notes, I drew up chore charts for my kids. The older ones are included in the process and just love getting more responsibility!
Just as a further note - kids need to also know why they have to do chores, since I explained to them that I am preparing them for life as an independent adult, they tend to be more positive about the whole thing. I also reward them for their chores with points and when they have enough, they get rewards :)
Hope it helps..
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids
Help make beds
Help feed pets
Pick up toys & books
Help set the table
Pick up clothes
Help clear the table
Take laundry to laundry room
Use the handheld vacuum
All of the above plus:
Make their bed
Set the table
Help clean their bedrooms
Clear the table
Help unload dishwasher
Help put away groceries
Empty garbage cans
All of the above plus:
Clean their bedroom
Take care of pets
Take out garbage
Fold & put away laundry
Vacuum & sweep
All of the above plus:
Clean the bathroom
Load dishwasher & wash dishes
Wash the windows
Help with cooking & meal planning
Wash the car
Mop the floor
Rake the yard
Run washer & dryer
All of the above plus:
Clean the kitchen
Change the bedding
Mow the lawn
I have 5 children. 13, 9, 7, 5, 3. They all chip in. My 3 year old doesn't have any set chores but she will go up to the chore chart and pretend she is reading it to do her chores. She will "help" put away the kid dishes because she sees the older ones do it. I have her help to what she can clean her room that she shares with her 5 year old sister. But I obviously don't expect much. The rest have daily chores (from after meals to getting things ready for school, etc.) To Sat. chores when we actually "clean". I can't pick up after them all, it's just too much and I'm doing a disservice if I don't teach them for when they are on their own or married with their own children. And boys are capable of many things too...not just the girls!
I think it is important for them to learn to do things for themselves. My son is 9 and my daughter is 7, they pack their own lunch in the mornings, empty the dishwasher and clean their rooms and put their laundry away. I feel it is important for them to know that being a part of a family means all pulling together to get stuff done, for example I could spen all day Saturday cleaning the house or we could all chip in get it done by lunchtime and spend the afternoon having fun out and about somewhere.
Great list. My two, almost 5 and 16 months help a lot. Although the almost 5 year old is not into helping or doing much of anything these days.
Debbie Seale- Really????? Report her to docs really. All kids want to help, so let them. Its not about letting kids be kids its about giving a hand. Its not hard to take an extra few seconds to put clothes in/out of the washer/dryer if your child wants to help. So report me too because my 16 month old helps with laundry and dishes at times.
I start having my children help as soon as they show interest. My daughter that is 21 months will throw a fit if I don't let her throw something away. If I am cleaning up the living room and ask her to pick up a piece of trash and put it in the trash bag, she does it. I agree that children need to begin at an early age and pick up age-appropriate tasks. This same daughter also likes to help with putting the laundry in and taking it out of the washer and dryer. If she is capable and willing, I'm going to let her do it!
I think ALL kids should begin helping with chores as early as they can take out toys and walk! Teaching them to put their toys away when they are done playing with them is a great way to get them started. I have a friend that does not believe that boys should have chores because it isn't up to them to keep the house clean when they are adult men; it is their wife's job. BUT what if they never get married? Chores should start as early as possible and kids should know everything from dusting, to doing dishes, to cooking, to making the bed, to ironing, to cleaning a bathroom THOROUGHLY, and beyond!
There are 4 kids in our household 11, 8, 5 and 15months. With the exception of the 15 month old they all have chores right in line with what is on the list. There is no reason that kids shouldn't help out. I work full time and if anyone thinks I am coming home to clean up my kids room they must be on drugs. Even at 2 or 3 my kids had to help with certain things and as they got older they got chores to match.
Right now my 11 year old is responsible for cleaning the kitchen after dinner and doing 1 load of laundry a week, plus helping us with any other laundry that needs to be done. She also helps watch her younger siblings.
The 8 year old cleans the cats litter box, cleans the kitchen after breakfast (he is just starting to learn how to do the dishes), makes his bed and takes out the trash.
Our 5 year old is responsible for feeding our cats, taking out the recycling and making her bed.
All that while also being responsible for cleaning up after themselves nightly.
I have 4 kids - 5 year old twins (boy and girl), a 4 year old boy and a 3 year old boy. They all take their dirty clothes to the hamper, put away their clean and folded socks and underwear, straighten their beds, take their dishes from the table after meals and pick up their toys. They have been doing these things since the age of 3. I am trying to teach them that if they get something out, they need to put it away when they are finished with it and to clean up after themselves. The twins love to help unload the dishwasher - mainly putting away the silverware. They also like to help with the laundry - sometimes putting the sorted clothes into the washer or moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer and helping fold the clean clothes(I have to re-fold a good portion of them when the kids aren't looking, but I am not going to tell them no when they want to help). My oldest son frequently asks if he can mop the floor and my daughter loves to dust with the swiffer. The younger two like to help load the dishwasher. There is still lots of fun and play time. I think it is a good idea to start early with them so that when they get older it won't be so hard to get them to do chores.
i wish i'd done this from the ages of 2-3 yrs as i'm now learning what a battle it is, my kids do nothing around the house to help, they are 8 and 11 years old, they scream snd shout when i ask them to put their belonging away when they can't find clean clothes its my fault as i've not done the washing as i've told them time and again i've asked them to bring me all your dirty washing and i get a pile of clean washing with maybe 1 dirty sock in it i can't even see their bedroom carpets for the mess in their rooms i'm going to make a chore list using this guide line to help get them to tidy up after themselves and hopefully i'll gain some respect from them too
You need to start young. My daughters are 4 and I've had them cleaning up their stuff since they were two. I call it clean up and we sing a song and clean up so they learn what they need to do.
First of all I got tired of cleaning up after my child. I make her pick her clothes up.
She is mommys helper. She helps with the dishes, she puts her clothes away after laundary.
She is to clean her plate after she eats. Mommy has to remember she is just a kid too. I just want to teach her to be responsiable bc Im not doing everything for her. I think it is a great start. Its better to teach them while their young. They say.
This is so helpful Ms. Jennifer... thank you so much for sharing. =)
Fantastic, what a great list! Children need to be taught at an early age that being part of a family envolves helping out. As for the crazy lady, have fun being a maid the rest of your life!
My husband & I created a list of chores that are expected because we are a family & we take care of each other & our household. Similar to the one below. Then we created with the kids "extra chores" for which they can earn money. These are a choice if they say no when the chore is offered, they don't earn the money. Extra chores (again consider the age in relation to the chore)...the the 12yr. old if he cuts the grass, rakes, or edges he can earn money,again, if he chooses not to do them he doesn't earn the money. The amount we assigned each extra chore is between $.50-$2.00 this way we don't go broke in the process of teaching them to earn money they can spend on what they want like that ice cream from the ice cream truck come summer (which are expensive!) or that new toy/video game!
It's important to start your kids early or they'll be like mine and whine every time you ask them to do something. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having kids help as soon as they can. You're crazy if you think expecting your children to be responsible warrants a report to the doctor!
My 4 year old puts her clothes in the hamper and she loves to dust and use our swiffer sweeper. She also has to clean her place after a meal (they make her do that at school as well). She also helps me fold the laundry by sorting the socks and handing me things to be folded. My 18 month old puts her shoes away when I ask her too. They both love helping and I let them when they can.
My kids are 5 1/2 and almost 4. For the past year they have been responsible for putting toys where they belong, putting clothes away (dirty in basket, clean hung or folded and in the closet), clearing their mess after meals. They get no money or rewards for these, they are expected of them. Extra chores to make money include cleaning out a vehicle, cleaning their bathroom (chemical free) cleaning the living room, cleaning the coat closet out, putting away towels or pretty much any thing else I think theyre capable of and ask them to do. Sometimes they wash dishes but I spend a lot of time settling fights over whos turn it is to wash so I dont let them anymore.
I also have 5 children 14, 12, 5, 4, 17 months and they all help. My 17 month old has been helping her 14 yr old brother unload the dishwasher for a few months now. She knows where everything goes and what she can not reach she points to. My 14 year old has autism and is nonverbal yet he does laundry, can cook simple meals, unload dishwasher, help to take care of the pets and a number of other things. I figure if they show an interest in something from a young age let them take part. Much less hassle down the road. Am I still the mom? yes, do I still have lots of things to do in my household? yes. Like rewashing the windows and floors the 5 and 4 year old wanted to do, so they did.
I have four kids...yes its a full time job! I was always overwhelmed and felt like I wasn't doing a good job at anything. I researched cleaning recommendations for frequencies and then came up with a plan using index cards. My friends loved it and I made them for them and eventually began selling them online. You can check it out at www.springcleanyearround.blogspot.com
It saved my life!! It has recommendations for chores children can do at their age too. I award them with video game/ipod time/computer games. No chores, no screen time! They beg for some chores!!
Hi , A very good question and one many parents aske themseleves often, how, when, and what! Firstly as a parent you are the most likely to know your child the best, so doing what other parent do might not be the right thing for your child. I would always sugeest you listen to your child,they have a way of showing you when they are ready and can clearly understand what is being asked of them.
For example a toddler will understand how to help put their toys away when finished playing, this does not have to be a demand ,it can be in many cases part of the game and a reward given for doing it, two year olds love to help as it gives them confidence and so many other skills while helping, helping to put rubbish in the bin, folding napkins, putting dishes in the cupboard can all be seen as helping games ,which can be encouraged with rewards. As your child gets older you should be able to 'negotiate' your chores and rewards with them, asking them for example to put their clothes away tidy, help to make their bed, and put their toys away. As I said not all children thankfully are the same and you as the parent will understand much better when you feel they are ready to tackle bigger chores, always remeber to give lots of praise for any effort to help and keep the reward chart age appropriate. Good luck !
I don't know at what age we gave chores, but the girls do have them.. They are slobs and so is their father.. However, he wants them to be responsible as I do. He is severely disabled with many auto immune diseases among other things. I was in a car accident 22 months ago and now have 4 herniated disc in my neck, carpal tunnel, Fibromyalgia, Plantar Fascitis.. No, I'm not depressed... Lol
That being said, we try to have the girls help as much as possible. We have two girls ages 5 & 7. They empty dishwasher after I remove all sharp objects, they fold some laundry, hang up as much as possible and put everything away. Take garbage out, but new bag in can. We make them put away their dishes after every meal, scoop litter box and feed cats.. The love to help daddy bake and cook (mommy doesn't).
I think it's important to learn to be responsible. You can only hope and pray that they do so when visiting anyone any where outside of your home. I can only hope that my girls are cleaner when their older, than they are now.
Thank you for the list.. I'm a teacher and plan on making one up using our Boardmaker software for pictures.. I can't wait:)
i think it is good to give chores my youngest is 6 but i have always made it fun even as little if i am doing the dusting i sprayed a bit of polish and they all had a duster they loved helping mummy its good it gives them self achievement i dont say you have to do your chores but it is a good way of having fun and now my 6 year old is always asking me if he can wipe up and my 8 year old likes to help now and then too... i like to make it a spending time together thing too i always help the younger ones tidy up their room then they enjoy it if you say go tidy your room they wont because thats an order it all depends how it is done it does teach responsability too also the mum on here that got told she was wrong to let her 2-3 year old have chores i dont think it is wrong at all as long as its made fun and not forced if you think about it when kids go to pre-school at 2 yrs 3 months they have tidy up time there .....chores can be fun and kids like to do them......until they hit the teenage years .... then you have a problem ...my teen will only tidy his room when he is creeping for something or wants something now at 16 he is old enough to be responsible for his own room i dont go in there but his only chore at the moment because of gcse's this year is to keep his room tidy and if he hasnt he doesnt get his allwoence at the weekends ...... cleaning can be a whole learning experience .... although things like making cups of tea i am paranoid about but i remember when i was in brownies at age 11 i was making cups of tea for my tea making badge although kids and kettles scare me at any age! ...ps my 6 year old knows how to put a wash in the washingmachine !!! and they both fight over who is going to put the washing liquid in and the fab conditioner who is going to turn the dial and who is going t press the button ...lol so make sure you have lots of patience when introducing kids to chores .....oh and they love helping wash the car xx
Love the List, thank YOU!
Toddlers needs to learn to put away their toys when done playing with them,at the age 5 they can take the trash out by 10 they can do dishes and their laundry ,some yard work or sitting siblings.
My daughters are 3 and 4 1/2 both of them have to put their dishes in the sink, pick up their toys, help when asked and put their clothes in the laundry bag after they have had a bath. So far I have not had any problem with them getting these done. Everyday they get a check mark on the chore sheet and at the end of the week they get a star. I have to figure out what they will get when they complete one side of the chore sheet. :)