Kids That Contribute—Chores For Every Age
Household tasks are an essential part of every home. As moms, sometimes we feel like the chores never end—and that’s probably because they don’t! And while our kids often contribute (a lot!) to the endless laundry and random messes, they can also be fantastic little helpers. Don’t underestimate your little one’s ability or desire to help around the house.
Kids LOVE to feel like they are contributing. Chores are a great way to teach responsibility and help your little ones have a sense of purpose within your family unit. Know that it’s never too soon to begin giving your little one chores to do—even if it’s just picking up her toys.
A Side Note On Allowance
We wanted to take a moment to address allowance since it often goes hand-in-hand with chores and household responsibilities. Allowance can be a wonderful way to teach your kids about money management, but it’s our suggestion that the allowance isn’t tied to daily or weekly chores.
There should be basic tasks that your little one is expected to do as a member of your family. If you do want to tie the allowance to “earning” it through chores, try setting a list of basic expectations and tying the allowance to additional tasks (cleaning the bathroom, mowing the grass, vacuuming) that may fall outside of their regular chores.
How to Manage Chores
It is important as a parent to teach your child how to do things the “right” way, but when it comes to chores, don’t expect perfection. It’s better to encourage the effort they put into their chores than the actual outcome of how the chores were completed. Having a more relaxed approach will encourage your little one to find comfort in chores without feeling that their input is never good enough.
And on that note, we know it can be difficult in our busy lives, but consistency is key to success. You may be able to pick up toys or fold laundry better and faster, but that defeats the purpose of your child working through this learning process. Try to be consistent in your expectations of them and don’t do their chores for them even if it is easier in the moment. In the long run, you’ll have much more productive children!
Don’t forget to be generous with praise! Even though chores are expected to be done without reward, we all love to hear when we’re doing a good job, and kids are no different. Letting your kids know what they are doing well is a fantastic (and positive!) alternative to pointing out their flaws or mistakes. When they feel like they are doing a good job, they will be more likely to maintain those positive behaviors.
Chore Ideas Based On Age
Keep in mind that these suggestions build upon each other. Older kids are able to do any of the listed chores up to their current age—and may be able to do more based on their maturity. While we begin at age two, it’s NEVER too early to introduce “chores” to your little one once she starts walking. Ask her to pick up toys, throw something in the trash can or put something where it belongs to begin the building blocks of responsibility.
Chores for Age 2-3
- Pick toys up and put them where they belong
- Put food in the dog or cat’s food bowl
- Put dirty clothes in a basket or hamper
- Straighten up books or movies
Chores for Age 4-6
- Help clear and wipe table after meals
- Assist in unloading the dishwasher
- Make their bed
- Empty small trash cans and replace the liners
- Help make dinner
- Wash non-breakable dishes at sink
Chores for children ages 7-9
- Sort and fold their own laundry
- Sweep hard floors
- Set and clear table
- Weed and rake leaves in the yard
- Load the dishwasher
- Put away groceries
- Make own snacks
Chores for children ages 10+
- Unload dishwasher
- Clean bathroom
- Wash car
- Cook simple meal (with supervision!)
- Iron clothes
- Wash and dry laundry
- Clean kitchen
- Change their bed sheets