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Household Chores for Every Age

Household Chores for Every Age

Words Sally Wadyka

Kids can do more around the house than you think. Here are some ideas for age-appropriate chores your children can take on at every age, plus advice on how to get them onboard.

If binge-watching Marie Kondo on Netflix has inspired a cleaning and decluttering frenzy in your home, it’s time to get the kids in on the action. With more hands helping out, your next round of spring cleaning will be a breeze—and you just might feel tempted to do it every season, year-round.

By getting your kids to pitch in around the house, you’re prepping them for adulthood—with a head start on valuable skills like cooking, cleaning, organizing and doing laundry. That goes for very young kids too: Even toddlers are capable of doing carefully selected, age-appropriate chores.

You may be surprised by how eager even the littlest members of your family will be to pitch in. “Young children actually have an intrinsic motivation to help out, and they enjoy the feeling of responsibility it gives them,” says Suzy Burger, M.Ed., a parenting coach based in Boulder, CO.

Still, that doesn’t mean your kids will necessarily become cleaning superstars right away. The key is to let your kids gradually learn how to do their chores. Guide them when necessary, praise their efforts and make sure the chores are open to discussion. “Talk about whether they feel the chore is too hard, if they’d rather do it at a different time of day, or if they need help with it,” says Burger. “Letting them help problem solve and take ownership of the task is all part of the learning process.”

You know your kids—and their abilities—better than anyone, but here are a few chores that children can generally take on starting at various ages.

Chores for Kids Ages 2 to 3

Little kids love to feel helpful and capable. You can build their confidence by assigning them tasks they can easily accomplish, such as:

  • Putting toys away (POP Containers are a great way to organize small toys)
  • Stacking books
  • Putting dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Dusting (with supervision)

Chores for Kids Ages 4 to 5

Slightly older kids can take on more challenging tasks. They may still need help doing these jobs, but let them try:

  • Making their bed
  • Bringing in the mail
  • Setting the table
  • Clearing plates (especially kid-friendly dishes that won’t break)
  • Emptying silverware from the dishwasher
  • Watering plants
  • Putting away clean laundry

Chores for Kids Ages 6 to 7

School-aged kids are ready for more responsibility. Get them involved in the daily running of the household by assigning them tasks like:

  • Clearing the table
  • Pulling weeds in the garden
  • Sweeping up crumbs in the kitchen (A small brush and dust pan will be easiest for small hands to maneuver)
  • Folding dish towels and other simple laundry items
  • Washing non-fragile dishes

Chores for Kids Ages 8 to 9

Kids this age can handle more complex tasks with multiple steps. They can take on:

  • Feeding pets
  • Helping put away groceries
  • Taking out trash and recycling
  • Cleaning the table and kitchen counters after meals
  • Loading the dishwasher
  • Helping prepare and pack lunch (and making kid-friendly recipes like these easy banana muffins)

Chores for Kids Ages 10 and Up

Tweens and teens are ready (if not super motivated!) to make a serious dent in the household chores. Work with them to identify tasks they find most palatable, such as:

  • Washing the car
  • Doing laundry
  • Walking the dog
  • Vacuuming
  • Raking leaves and doing other yard work
  • Cooking simple meals

Is your kid ready to get more involved in the kitchen? These kid-friendly cooking tools are a fun and safe way to help expand her repertoire.

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