Giving children chores to do around the home can boost their responsibility and help them to play a productive part in family life. Younger children often love the chance to help with simple chores, although as they get older, there may be a bit more reluctance!
If you have problems getting your children to help, then you could devise a reward system. For example, develop a simple chart listing what needs to be done and when. As items get ticked off each week, your child could earn points and then the points could convert into rewards, such as pocket money, going to the park, going swimming or having their favourite meal.
Not all chores are suitable for all ages and as children get older, the types of chores they can do and enjoy doing will inevitably change. If you’re looking for some great ideas for age appropriate chores, then read on!
Age 2 to 3
When it comes to chores, toddlers are often super keen! They like to copy and mimic your behaviour and help where they can and this includes things like tidying up. Enjoy this stage whilst it lasts, as the enthusiasm is likely to change over the years. You’ll of course have to ensure this age are supervised when they’re helping and you may have to lend a hand in some instances, but 2-3 year olds can be a good help.
Examples of appropriate chores for this age group include:
- Picking up toys and books
- Helping to make the bed
- Feeding pets
- Choose clothes to wear
- Sort laundry
Age 4 to 5
Under 5s are still likely to find chores exciting and fun and they often welcome the chance to learn new chores and develop existing skills. They might not need quite so much supervision, but they may well thrive on reward schemes. Great chores for this age group include:
- Clearing the table
- Setting the table
- Carrying shopping
- Helping to put shopping away
- Helping with the basics of preparing a meal
Age 6 to 8
This is the age when enthusiasm for chores may begin to ebb (but if you’re lucky enough to have a child that still loves helping, good on you!). At this age children will be beginning to crave independence, so any chores you can give them that reflect this or make them feel like they’re in charge, are ideal. You can build on the use of reward charts to help them track their independence.
You can build on the chores already mentioned above and add in:
- Taking care of pets
- Emptying the bins and taking out the rubbish
- Helping take washing out of the machine
- Folding up laundry and putting it away
- Hanging up clothes
- Tidying up shoes and putting them away
- Some vacuuming (if your vacuum isn’t too heavy)
Age 9 to 12
During the pre-teen years, many children like continuity, so find some chores they like or system of organising chores that works well and stick to it. The reward system can still work effectively for this age group, but if you’re having difficulty ensuring they actually do their chores, make sure they are aware of any consequences (like losing out on a treat) that will occur if they don’t complete their duties.
- Helping to wash the car
- Doing the washing up
- Cleaning the bathroom
- Helping in the garden
- Chopping food for meal preparation
- Putting sports kit ready to wash
Teens are capable of handing a lot more, chore wise, but you may encounter a bit of resistance! It’s also important to realise they may be busy at school, so don’t give them too much to do, as they need plenty of time for homework too.
Again, you can build on the sorts of chores mentioned earlier and perhaps also include aspects such as:
- Doing their own washing
- Washing windows
- Preparing meals
- Grocery shopping
- Replacing light bulbs
- Cleaning the cooker or grill
- Cleaning their room
- Cleaning around the house