age appropriate chores for kids to teach them responsibility

Age Appropriate Chores For Kids To Teach Them Responsibility

Doing chores not only helps kids develop structure and give mom and dad a helping hand around the house — it also teaches responsibility.

And if you’re not sure your kiddo will be willing to chip in, don’t worry, we’ll take care of that bit too..

age appropriate chores for kids to teach them responsibility
Image via Shutterstock

According to parenting expert Jim Fay, each of us in the family needs to feel needed and know we’re making a contribution — this includes kids.

“But they can’t feel that way if they don’t have chores and make contributions to the family,” Fay says.

University of Maryland psychology professor and author of Raising Good Kids in Tough Times, Roger W. McIntire, says, “A child has to have some responsibilities.”

So how do we include kids? Create a chores chart.

“Create a list of every job it takes to keep a family going,” Fay says. To make it even more fun, have kids pick out the chores they would most like to do. That being said, make sure everyone has an age-appropriate chore.

age appropriate chores for kids to teach them responsibility
Image via Shutterstock

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The next step is to divide the chart into three columns. One is for the list of chores and whose chore it is; another is for deadlines; the last one is for making a checkmark when the chore is done. Put the chart where everyone can see it and let everyone follow through on their own assignments.

It may even be easier to have two charts: one for daily household chores and one for weekly household chores.

Before you start your chart, remember to be specific with instructions. For example, telling your child to clean a room is vague. Instead, instruct your child to put away clothes in a closet, place books on a shelf, put the toys in the toy box, etc.

In addition, it may be helpful to ease into chores with children, especially if this is a new routine. One way you can ease into the process is to first model how to the chore step by step. Next, you can allow your child to do it. The next move would be to have your child do the chore as you supervise. And then, when your child has mastered the chore, allow them to handle it independently.

Last but not least, be flexible with reminders as well as deadlines. While you want to complete a task without micromanaging, it may be helpful to use the “when/then” technique. For example, “when your room is tidied up, then we can go for a walk.”

age appropriate chores for kids to teach them responsibility
Image via Shutterstock

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The next phase of the chore chart? Allowance.

Most parenting experts, surprisingly, support not giving your child an allowance for chores. This is because chores are about responsibility as well as learning about learning household tasks. The focus in not about earning money. And while, kids do need to learn how to handle money, doing chores they’re supposed to do anyway is not recommended.

It’s also important to note that younger kids may be less inclined by money and decide to not do chores at all, if allowance is an incentive.

However, for older kids who already know how to be responsible, money can become a more efficient motivator for doing extra chores on top of their expected, daily tasks.

And so, without further ado, here is an extensive and age-apporpriate list of chores for kids of all ages. Keep in mind that preschoolers are able to handle either one or two (simple) one-step or two-step jobs, while older children can handle more.

Chores for children ages 2 to 3

  • Put toys away
  • Fill pet’s food dish
  • Put clothes in hamper
  • Wipe up spills
  • Dust
  • Pile books and magazines

Chores for children ages 4 to 5

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Make their bed
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Bring in mail or newspaper
  • Clear table
  • Pull weeds, if you have a garden
  • Use hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
  • Water flowers
  • Unload utensils from dishwasher
  • Wash plastic dishes at sink
  • Fix bowl of cereal

Chores for children ages 6 to 7

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Sort laundry
  • Sweep floors
  • Set and clear table
  • Help make and pack lunch
  • Weed and rake leaves
  • Keep bedroom tidy

Chores for children ages 8 to 9

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Load dishwasher
  • Put away groceries
  • Vacuum
  • Help make dinner
  • Make own snacks
  • Wash table after meals
  • Put away own laundry
  • Sew buttons
  • Make own breakfast
  • Peel vegetables
  • Cook simple foods, such as toast
  • Mop floor
  • Take pet for a walk

Chores for children ages 10 and older.

Any of the above chores, in addition to….

  • Unload dishwasher
  • Fold laundry
  • Clean bathroom
  • Wash windows
  • Wash car
  • Cook simple meal with supervision
  • Iron clothes
  • Do laundry
  • Baby-sit younger siblings (with adult in the home)
  • Clean kitchen
  • Change their bed sheets
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