As parents, our primary responsibility is to teach our kids important life lessons, show them the correct way to go about any task or activity, and ensure they are able to take care of themselves on their own one day. A great way to put your child on the right path is to start having them complete various chores at home. Plus you can make tracking their chores fun with the Chores for Kids free printable at the bottom of this post.
Chores can teach children so many important lessons. Not only can they help your kids learn the importance of personal responsibility, but they also show them how to set realistic goals and do certain things at home that will assuredly improve their life as they age and live on their own someday.
So let’s discuss the types of chores that are appropriate for children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers.
How Can I Get Kids to Do Chores?
Before we delve into the various types of chores that are appropriate for your kids, let’s first discuss the tricky task of getting your kids to do both start and finish their chores. It goes without saying that this will likely be a struggle initially. Remember to have patience throughout the process and do not throw in the towel too quickly. The points we’ll discuss will help your kid understand that the chores you are requesting of them are simply part of their own personal responsibility even if mom and dad can easily complete them themselves.
Consistency is Key
It cannot be overstated that, when you are asking your children to do their chores, consistency is key. Always let them complete the activity on their own. Don’t jump in and start taking over the task if they are taking too long or want to give up. If you asked your teenage son to wash the dishes, leave them in the sink until he washes them. If you outlined specific consequences of not completing chores, carry them out. By doing so, your children will quickly learn that mom means business and they cannot shirk their responsibilities.
This is a common mistake that many parents make. Even toddlers as young as 2 or 3 years old can help complete certain activities that will put them on the right path and get them more accustomed to doing chores. The younger they start, the easier it will be to get your children to do chores later on as they age.
Perfect is Not Necessary
Do not expect perfection from your child every time, especially early on. Showing effort and actually taking initiative is what’s most important. Without completing the task for them, you can still oversee some activities so that you’re aware of something that may need to be re-done once they finish and leave the room, for example, neglecting to clean a certain spot on the floor. Also, be mindful that for some chores, such as making beds or folding laundry, there isn’t always a perfect answer. If you judge kids too harshly for not achieving perfection every time, they will be certain to lose motivation and want to give up.
Kids want to know that they are doing a good job, so be sure to heap praises when they do so. Recognizing their efforts goes a long way to help them build confidence and drive to complete these activities. Each time they complete a chore on their own, do it the right way, or meet all the goals on their chore chart, say “thank you” and let them know that they did a great job.
Consider an Allowance
You’ll need to figure out the best solution for your family, but many parents have had great success with giving their kids allowances. Opinions differ, however. Some parents feel that by giving your kids an allowance, they will come to expect a monetary reward each time they complete a task that should already be expected of them. Other parents believe allowances teach kids the value of a good work ethic. The decision is up to you, but considering an allowance may be valuable, especially for older children and teenagers.
Chores Appropriate for Younger Children
Even children as young as 2 or 3 years old are actually able to do some smaller chores. It’s a good idea to start chores with your kids from the toddler stage so they are able to begin learning the value of personal responsibility as soon as possible. Of course, young children will not be able to complete every chore themselves, but they can certainly help with some things.
Chores for Ages Two and Three
Between the ages of two and three, simple chores work best. For example, you can have them start picking up a few of their toys when they’re finished playing and helping you move sheets around as you make the bed. While they may not be able to finish the chore on their own, let them help you as much as possible. Other appropriate chores for kids at this age include helping to clean up spills, pouring food in a bowl to feed pets, and putting away dirty clothes in a hamper.
Chores for Ages Four and Five
As they get older, your kids can start completing more chores on their own. For example, they can be expected to make more of the bed than when they were younger, pick up and put away items laying around in the living room or bedroom, and get mostly dressed themselves. You can also involve kids this age with kitchen and cooking activities, such as stirring a pot or helping to put dishes in the dishwasher after they’ve been rinsed. Get them to help outside too. They can assist with watering plants, raking up leaves, and even small gardening tasks such as pulling weeds.
Chores for School-Aged Children
By the time they’ve reached first or second grade, your son or daughter should already be comfortable with completing any expected chores. If you started early, they’ll also be well on their way to being able to handle helping out even more around the house.
Chores for Ages Six and Seven
At this age, your kids should be able to make their own beds from start to finish without any supervision. Again, it doesn’t need to be perfect, but you should be able to stop helping them at this age. Other chores perfect for six- and seven-year-olds include:
- Small cooking tasks (with supervision)
- Cleaning their room
- Writing thank-you notes
- Taking out the trash (with supervision)
- Folding clean clothes
- Vacuuming, mopping, and sweeping floors
Chores for Ages 8-10
At this age, your kids are starting to become more independent. As far as chores go, they should be able to choose their own clothes, help with doing the dishes and laundry, and make their bed and keep their room tidy each day. At this stage, a few more chores can be added, such as preparing easy meals from start to finish, cleaning bathrooms, and washing the car using soap and water.
Chores Appropriate for Pre-Teens
By the time your son or daughter reaches the pre-teen years (ages 11-12), they should already be completing many tasks themselves. For example, at this age, you should be able to expect your kids to wash their clothes regularly on their own. It may be wise to still supervise initially to ensure they are using the right amount of detergent and choosing the right setting, but, for the most part, they should be able to handle laundry without your help.
Other chores pre-teens can do themselves include:
- Dusting furniture around the house
- Laundering and changing bed sheets
- Vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping rooms
- Changing light bulbs
- Cooking simple meals for the whole family
- Doing more yardwork, including mowing the lawn
- Cleaning dirty dishes without help
- Cleaning mirrors and windows
Chores for Teenagers
When you have teenage sons and daughters at home, you will be starting to prepare them for adulthood. It’s crucial that you teach them as many basic domestic skills and responsibilities as possible before they turn 18. That way, by the time they leave for college or move out to live on their own, they know how to take care of both their home and themselves properly. Progressively increasing chores and responsibilities around the house can assist with this.
Chores for 13-Year-Olds
Once your kid enters their teenage years, you should start introducing them to basic life skills beyond just the chores they have already been completing for years. They should continue completing the standard chores such as making their own bed every morning, cleaning the dishes, and doing their own laundry. But, beyond these standard tasks, they should also begin doing things that they will be expected to handle themselves once they reach adulthood. Such activities include ironing their own clothes, cleaning out the vacuum cleaner, mowing the lawn, and even working on minor repairs around the house, such as changing light bulbs and hammering nails (supervised when needed).
Chores for Ages 14-15
At this age, you can have your teenagers help with even more home tasks. For example, a couple times a week, ask your son to plan out family meals, shop for ingredients, and prepare them all the way through. Your daughter could also benefit from babysitting kids in the neighborhood or washing outdoor windows. These aren’t just chores, they are life skills that will eventually help your teenagers take care of themselves and their own families one day.
Chores for 16 and Older
By the time your son or daughter turns 16, he or she should be able to complete any task around the home that you do. This includes washing cars in and out, doing any yard work, cleaning out the refrigerator, making a shopping list, going to the grocery store themselves, and deep cleaning all around the house. At this age, you could also start talking to your teens about the importance of financial literacy.
To help keep track, many parents find value in using a chore chart. You can introduce new chores to your children every week and add them to the chart. They do not need to complete all household duties, but they should be supporting you so that they can ultimately learn how to do these things by themselves. By the time your grown children are ready to move out, you will feel confident they have the right skills to succeed on their own.
Printable Chore Chart
Here is a fun way to track your child’s chores! Download and print this free monkey themed chore chart below.