Kids and chores don’t technically go hand in hand. In fact, they are like magnets of the same charge that won’t ever seem to match up. For parents, asking kids to do their chores is harder than training the family dog to sit and stay.
I remember my mom telling us exactly that every time she asks us to do dishes especially when we start pointing fingers on who does what.
Kids and chores are far from a perfect pair. Incidentally, it could be one of the worse pairs. But, we don’t stop trying to teach our kids the little bits of chores they can do. I mean, you don’t want your kids to grow up not knowing anything about keeping a house, right?
How will they survive on their own when they get to college?
Teaching them chores will prepare them for independence and it never hurts to start early. Studies show separating kids and chores result to a spoiled child.
Having said this, we’ve come up with a list of kids and chores by age to help guide you what your toddlers can help you with as early as now.
PS: there is a handy summary you can PIN for your reference later at the bottom of this article.
Kids and Chores: Age 2-3
Toddlers still cannot do as much as your 4-year-olds can. They can’t help with bigger stuff because they are not completely balanced and have no complete grip in their hands.
Incidentally, there will come a time when you notice that they become curious of the things other people around them do. As soon as you see these curiosity triggers, you can teach them to do bigger stuff.
In the meantime, the following are chores you can teach your toddler:
- Put Toys Away – every time they finish playing, guide them in picking up their toys and putting them away in their proper places.
- Help Make Their Beds – they’ve most likely seen you arrange their sleeping cots every morning and by the time they’re 3 years old, you can easily teach them to help you out.
- Throw Away Diapers – amazingly, I have taught my nieces and nephew to throw their dirty diapers after changing them and they pick it up really easily!
- Feed the Pet – most assuredly they have seen you do this and are always fascinated by this. Guide them how to fill your pet’s food tray. Just make sure you are around when they do this otherwise, your child might give one weeks worth of food!
- Put Clothes in the Hamper – easy as 1-2-3!
Kids and Chores: Age 4-5
Kids and chores at the age of 4-5 would be the best time to really drill the willingness to do chores in their habit. At this age, your little one would want to try everything you’re doing or be mommy’s little helper. They would be so curious that they don’t realize their curiosity turns into drive and desire.
In the event that this happens, do not hesitate to let them try and participate.
Here are some chores you can have your 5-year-old help with:
- Any of the chores above
- Make Their Beds – since you’ve taught them a couple years back, this chore would not be difficult for them at all. Just be firm with the necessity to do it especially make a habit out of it.
- Get the Mail/Paper – one that is not difficult at all but must be accompanied during the rainy season or winter. They would be hyperactive to accomplish their chores that it may cause accidents.
- Clear Their Spot on the Table – this may be a simple chore but it will make a whole lot of difference to you when they’re older. You won’t have to keep yelling at them to put their dishes in the sink.
- Weeding – kids love pulling on stuff so why not make your gardening easier by having really energetic kids help with your weeding?
- Watering Plants – a watering can may be too heavy for them but a spray bottle would be something they would enjoy. In fact, they’d look forward to this chore especially if you creatively explain why plants need water.
- Learn to Do Dishes – of course, you’re not going to have them wash a whole load of dishes but if you feed them from a plastic bowl or plate and with plastic utensils, you can teach them the basics of doing them.
- Wipe Spills – if you have a 4 or 5-year-old and an infant, your older child can feel a sense of pride when you let them help you take care of their younger sibling by letting them do these small things. They will feel you trust them enough to give them something to do.
Consequently, there are more chores your 5-year-old can do in your consideration, and you can teach them as many as you want and as early as you want. So, make a list to help you and your child remember.
Kids and Chores: Age 6-7
I would not want to be a killjoy but honest to goodness, this age is the worst age to start teaching them chores. All they have in their mind is playing. If you’re only starting at this age, you’re in for one heck of a fight.
By this year, your kids are old enough to handle bigger chores which may involve more physical labor such as the following:
- Any of the chores above
- Sweeping the Floor – a few years ago they would be too short to handle a broom. But now that they’ve grown taller, sweeping would not be as difficult of a chore as others would be.
- Sort Laundry – color coordination will be very easy for them. So, you can have them sort the laundry during their free time of the day. Warning: you will see cringing faces as your kids sort between stinky socks and sweaty shirts.😂
- Help Make and Pack Lunch – have them help or make their own lunch.
- Rake Leaves – they use the back yard as much as any member of the family does so raking and piling up the leaves shouldn’t be too much to ask.
- Set and Clear the Table – a routine type of chore would be best at this age for retention.
Each child has a different sense of responsibility. If you feel like your child can be trusted with more responsibility, by all means, assign more. Just make sure the workload is equally distributed among your other kids as well to avoid friction.
Kids and Chores: Age 8-10
By these years, your kids are okay to handle more difficult tasks that involve small house appliances. They will be more than capable to turn things on and off, have commons sense not to burn the house down and be physically able for more lifting.
For example, the following chores are more than appropriate for their age:
- Any of the chores above
- Loading the Dishwasher – an easy task that requires caution but should be easy enough for an 8-year-old.
- Vacuuming – at the age of 8, they’ll find electricity powered items fascinating.
- Put Groceries Away – especially if they went shopping with you and asked you to buy personal treats that are not necessary 😜
- Help Make Dinner – like chopping and washing vegetables or stirring for you.
- Put Away Own Laundry – my mother still yells at us over this so imagine if you started early? 😜
- Walk the Dogs, Give them Baths and Clean Up after them
- Make Their Own Snacks
Again, equal division of workload is the key to a fight-free organization of kids and chores in the house. 😉
Kids and Chores: Age 11 above
At this point, there are no more excuses for your kids to skip out of chores – except when they’re sick or injured, of course. They are old enough and strong enough to do and remember their chores and maybe take on more.
So, without further ado, here’s a list:
- Any of the chores above
- Lawn Mowing
- Washing the Car
- Unloading the Dishwasher
- Cleaning the bathroom
- Loading and unloading the laundry
- Cooking simple meals
- Babysitting with Supervision
- Changing their own sheets
- Cleaning the kitchen
- Cleaning Their Own Room
Simple yet agreeable, right? Yes, you will get a lot of complaining and whining to the point you’ll start thinking their reverting back to being needy children. But, be firm with your authority. They’ll soon understand they need to have some responsibility too if they want to be treated like adults. 🙂
Kids and Chores: TIPS
To sum up, kids and chores are things that need time and patience to make work. If you are not new to parenting, you’d agree to this. If you’re a new parent, here are some of our tips to make chores a habit instead of a “chore”.
- Reward System – this will work especially for your hard-headed older kids. Offer to increase their allowance if they consistently do their chores for a whole month or something you know they’ve been asking for.
- Praise – for your toddlers and 5-year-olds, a sincere praise or a job well done goes a long way. They’re at the age where they long for attention so if you give it to them when they do something good, it will most likely stay in their behavior.
- Be Firm – immune yourself from whining, pouting and begging. Use your best judgment. Unless there’s no valid reason, don’t let them skip.
- Use a Chore Chart – use them while they’re still young because your teenagers will just ignore them since we hope that they already know them by heart! (wishful thinking)
- Reprimand with Love – yelling at your kids for not doing their chores will turn them into enemies instead of creating a desire to do better. Talk to them like adults. If you were their age, you wouldn’t want to do your chores also if you’re always being yelled at. Thank them for the ones their rights before pointing out their wrongs.
There’s no shortcut to making kids and chores go along. Your kids don’t come with an ejectable slot where you can just insert a programmed chip for them to do their chores. You have to start early and consistently.
Be lenient when you have to but always be firm. Reward what needs to be rewarded and reprimand what needs to corrected. Don’t expect them to get everything right on the first try. Be patient and willing to repeat yourself over and over while they’re still at the period of adjusting.
Increase your expectation as they grow older but always extend grace. Are your kids helping out? Would you like them to do more? Do you have tips that can help other parents? Leave a comment below!