If you’re a mother who feels like she’s doing literally everything around the house, including picking up after your very capable kids, we know how you feel. It makes some parents feel guilty to give their children mundane responsibilities like taking out the garbage, and some moms follow the “if I do it, it’ll get done faster and better” mode of thinking. But the truth is, our children can and probably should handle more than we think.
But there are a bunch of tasks around the house that can be completed by children based on their age. If you’re looking to set your kiddos up with a chore chart to help them learn about hard work and having responsibilities, there’s something every child can help with.
1. Ages 2-3
At this age, chores are a kind of code for being held accountable in the smallest way. While your kiddo is young, it’s important to not do every little thing for them so that getting them to help out when they’re older isn’t a losing battle. Here are some things they can help you or their older siblings with:
- Put laundry in the hamper/washer.
- Put their toys away.
- Put books on the bookshelf.
- Help feed the family pet.
- Throw diapers into trash.
As your child gets a bit older, their ability to do a few small chores independently increases, especially if they were helping out with little things before their fourth birthday. As they make their way through preschool and into grade school, here are a few things they can manage:
- Help set the table.
- Make their bed.
- Water plants/the garden.
- Help put away groceries.
- Put nonbreakable (and not sharp) items in the dishwasher.
- Switch laundry from the washer to dryer.
- Help clear the dinner table.
- Pack up their backpack for school.
- Sort silverware.
- Sweep floors.
Once they reach the higher grades of elementary school, their chore list will start snowballing from the previous age lists. Things they helped with before can likely be done by them independently now, and responsibilities can extend from things that affect just them to things that help the entire family (like setting the table for dinner). Here are a few things you can get on your 8- to 10-year-old’s chore chart:
- Clean their room.
- Set the table.
- Feed the family pet.
- Help wash the car.
- Take out the trash.
- Rake leaves.
- Help cook dinner or pack lunches.
- Empty/load the dishwasher.
- Put away groceries.
- Bring in the mail.
- Fold laundry and put it away.
By the time your child hits middle school, they’re going to be asking for more and more independence in terms of social life and schoolwork, so they should be able to handle doing larger-scale chores by themselves. All kids develop differently, but as your child ages from 11 and on, chores like doing laundry and packing lunches are things your tween and teen should be capable of in time. Here some other chores to consider for kids 11 and above:
- Clean their bathroom.
- Help clean the kitchen.
- Wash dishes.
- Clear the table and put dishes in the dishwasher.
- Mow the lawn.
- Shovel snow.
- Do laundry.
- Pack their school lunch.
- Wash the car.
- Walk the dog.
- Bake/cook with limited supervision.
- Watch younger siblings for short periods of time (depending on state law).