As a new school year begins, it is good idea to start getting back into the routine that comes with the school year. One important parenting task is to introduce a chore chart and routine that includes age-appropriate chores they need to complete every day, week, or month.
Read along to find age appropriate tasks for the entire family!
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids
Parenting comes with many responsibilities, and one crucial thing is to help your children learn how to manage household tasks on their own as they grow. Not only does it instill responsibility and accountability for your kids, but it will also help boost their confidence as they complete each task with ease over time.
Soon, these actions will become a part of their everyday routine and serve as a big help around the house! I suggest starting from the toddler years and increase their responsibility over time as they become more capable of helping around the house and beyond.
While each family’s situation is unique, below is a roundup of ideas for chores by age that you can implement into your family’s routine.
You might also like this post on How to Help Our Kids Through the Loss of Ritual.
Around the age of 2 or 3 years old (or even before if your little one is ready), your toddler may start showing more interest in helping you out more around the house. Toddlers love to stick close and help mommy out with things that make her happy!
Allow your little one to explore helping you with the following chores, and teach them how to accomplish these tasks on their own over time.
- Making their bed in the mornings with mommy’s help.
- Pickup up toys and putting them away in a toy box or basket throughout the day and at night before bed.
- Helping to feed the dog or cat. Scooping kibble and dumping it into the pet’s bowl is always a fun activity!
- Helping to dust low surfaces gently. Give your little one a duster, and let the fun begin!
- Cleaning up after meals. Hand your toddler a paper towel or wet wipe and encourage them to clean up their tray and eating area. A good habit of starting early!
- Putting dirty laundry in the clothes hamper. This could be a fun game of counting items of clothing as they disappear in the hamper.
- Helping to “fold” and put clean laundry away. While toddlers may not do this task as efficiently as older kiddos, it’s fun practice for your toddler to be a part of, even if it might cause a bit of frustration for mommy.
- Throwing away trash when asked to do so. This is a great chore to start with your toddlers once they can walk to teach them to pick up after themselves.
- Helping mommy cook in the kitchen with easy tasks. There are some fun kid-friendly chopping tools to introduce your little one to and allow them to help you prepare meals.
Along with the chores listed above, preschoolers can also help with some more age-appropriate tasks that they might also need to learn to accomplish at school.
A tip for this age: set a visual timer and encourage your child to complete their tasks within a 15-to-30-minute limit. These time limits can be split into different sections of the day, but having a definitive beginning and end to what they should be accomplishing may help alleviate their unwillingness to participate.
Another tip is to create a visual chore chart and allow them to add stickers or mark off tasks as they complete them. A great way to make chores more fun and engaging as they work their way through their list of responsibilities. Additional duties for preschoolers include:
- Helping to empty the dishwasher. Start small with plastic items only or with silverware (no sharp knives, of course). Once they are old enough (and tall enough) to reach cabinets, you can move on to other items, but always help with anything breakable.
- Bringing in groceries from the car — have your child help you with lighter items and praise them for each trip they take!
- Helping to set the dinner table. This could include setting the plates in their correct places and adding napkins and silverware to each setting. On this same note, helping to clear the table and wipe it down after meals is an excellent task for this age too.
- Spraying and wiping mirrors and windows throughout the house.
- Sweeping and light mopping with a Swiffer, you’d be surprised at the fun preschoolers can have with this task and how accomplished they will feel afterward.
Each day at school, your child is consistent and specific with their teacher and classmates. It’s a great idea to keep that consistency at home going with daily chores around the house, too.
While the toddler and preschool age tasks may have become learned behaviors by this age, give your school-aged child a clear list of items to accomplish every day on their own, without mommy’s help. This could look like this:
- Setting out their clothes for the next day before bed.
- Brushing their teeth (we love this Tom’s kids’ toothpaste) and washing their hands or face before bed.
- Making their bed up every morning.
- Cleaning up their bathroom countertop in the mornings after getting ready.
- Putting breakfast plates and cups in the sink or rinse and put in the dishwasher if it is empty.
- Being responsible for their school items and backpack.
- Bringing in their items from the car at the end of the day.
- Helping to set the table before dinner.
- Helping to clean up the dinner table and fill the dishwasher with mom or a sibling.
- Help gather trash and take it outside when needed.
- Cleaning up toys and room before bed.
And so on. Elementary school is an excellent age to begin establishing a daily routine of expectations around the house.
We’ve now reached the age when helping out around the house may not be as much fun as it once was, so I encourage you to stay on top of encouraging your pre-teen to be consistent in their daily routine. Be sure to let your child know that you appreciate their help and enjoy watching them grow and become more responsible.
All of the items listed above are tasks that a pre-teen can handle, but rather than having them help with these tasks as they once did, they are now at an age where they can and should be doing some of these items on their own without being told. Again, continue to praise and express your gratitude, so this behavior continues, and try to encourage consistent behavior so they feel appreciated and a part of the household responsibilities.
- Cleaning countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms
- Rinsing dishes and loading the dishwasher
- Washing dirty laundry, transferring to the dryer, and folding and putting away clean items.
- Changing their bedsheets once a week
- Gathering trash and taking it out to the curb on days when the garbage is due to be picked up
- Vacuuming, sweeping and mopping entire rooms
- Cleaning bathrooms, yes, including toilets
- Keeping their room clean and organized, even without being told to do so
- Taking care of pets, including food, water, and daily walks
Read more about Connecting with Our Kids During the Pandemic.
Ahhh, teenagers! At this age, your kids are old enough to help with just about anything around the house and even with errands once they are old enough to drive. Continue to engage with your teenagers about daily and weekly chores. And, if you are so inclined, an allowance could even be a part of your chore system at this age (or before if you choose).
Soon, they’ll be out on their own and will need to handle these life and home responsibilities without the supervision of a parent. A few additional tasks to assign your teen at this stage include:
- Planning and cooking an easy meal for the family
- Grocery shopping (once they can drive, or with mom)
- Cleaning out the car, washing it, and vacuuming
- Weekly vacuuming, sweeping and mopping around the house
- Mowing the yard, helping with additional gardening tasks
- Changing out light bulbs and air filters throughout the house
- Washing multiple loads of laundry and knowing what settings to put everything on
There are so many more items to include on these lists. I’d love to hear what you do with your kids of all ages in your home. Tell me in the comments below, and I may add them here for others to see!
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