Age-appropriate chores for your kids.
They may complain, procrastinate, and do a poor job when given chores, but don’t give in, because chores are good for kids. They teach responsibility, the value of hard work, and how to perform simple life skills. Many college-age kids today don’t know how to do their own laundry, load a dishwasher, or change the sheets on their bed. Why? Because Mom and Dad always did everything for them, and they weren’t taught how to do chores by themselves. You want to raise self-sufficient, capable, responsible, smart kids who turn into self-sufficient, capable, responsible, smart adults, so make your children do chores.
At age 2 or 3, children can begin learning simple ways to help around the house. As children grow, they can move on to new chores that fit their abilities. And every day until they move out, your children should have chores.
The younger you start kids on chores, the better. Little kids like to help Mommy and Daddy around the house. Toddlers can help clean up toys off the floor and put them away. They can be given a feather duster to “dust” furniture. Young kids can throw dirty clothes into the hamper and help put folded clothes into their drawers.
Around ages 4 and 5, children can move on to new chores. Kids at this age are motivated by rewards, and chore charts and stickers work well to this end. In addition to the toddler chores, preschoolers can help set and clear the table and load the dishwasher. They can help match socks in the clean laundry and carry piles of clean clothes to the bedrooms. Also at this age, kids can start making their beds and cleaning their rooms with a little parental help. Feeding and watering the pets is another great chore to give kids.
From ages 6 to 8, kids can add new chores to their repertoire. While they might start giving resistance to chores, you can set simple rules such as no screen time or playing outside until chores are done. In addition to the toddler and preschool chores, kids at this age can start helping in the kitchen with meal prep.
This age can help sweep, vacuum, dust, wash dishes, fold the laundry, and clean windows and mirrors. They can collect trash from around the house and take the trash out. Kids this age can help carry in the groceries and put them away. Give them chores outside like pulling weeds or raking leaves.
Don’t give up when your kids complain about chores. If they’re too busy with afterschool activities, they can do chores on the weekends. Kids at this age can learn how to do the laundry, make simple meals, load and unload the dishwasher, clean toilets, change the sheets on their bed, clean out the car, and mop floors.
Middle and High School
Teaching responsibility and follow through is important at this age. No matter what resistance you encounter, middle and high school-aged kids should help out around the house and in the yard. If they don’t know how to do any of the chores listed above, they need to learn how. Kids at this age can clean the bathroom, make a meal, iron the clothes, wash the car, mow the grass, and care for younger siblings.
Allowance or No?
Should you give kids an allowance for doing their chores? Opinions vary. Chores should be expected of every member of the family whether or not they’re paid, but allowances can help motivate and reward, while teaching money management skills.
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