Kids want to help out around the house starting at a young age. Put that desire to help to good use! We've come up with the ultimate list of age-appropriate chores that your kids can do, along with a free printable. They'll build good habits and take some of the pressure off your shoulders!
Fact: Sometimes I get overwhelmed. When life gets crazy and my house starts to suffer, it's not a happy feeling. It's like treading water where you lose steam and start to sink. I was going through one of those “sinking phases” one week when my kids were younger, and looked up from a long day of work to a see a house that literally looked like it had been robbed.
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“I can't do it all!” “There aren't enough hours in the day!” “I'm a horrible housewife!” “It's just too much!” were all the woe-is-me I wanted to shout to the world. For whatever reason, instead of whining, I decided to wise up. I whipped up some chore sticks and the next day I shifted the problem from being 100% mine to placing some of the responsibility on my family...
ALLOW YOUR FAMILY TO HELP OUT
Obvious, right? If your workload is too much to bear, lighten it! Sure, I hear you, it sounds like an easy fix. But…how many of us TRULY rely on our kids (and spouses) to help lighten our load? Our REAL load? Do we really give our kids age-appropriate chores that are truly load-lightening for us, or just the “I need them to do anything at all so I can justify giving them allowance”-type chores?
Running behind my 8 kids that are 10 and under, picking up the trail they leave behind, is exhausting. It's so much simpler to shift the load and truly rely on my kids to HELP, rather than hinder my progress in a day. Here's how we do it!
I did LOTS of research (probably WAY too much) for you! I've compiled the ultimate list of chores for kids by age that they can, and should, be doing. So, lucky for you, the list is done!
CHORES FOR AGES 2-3
These are all super easy age-appropriate chores for young kiddos. Kids always want to help, so have these become the new chores they do to help out around the house. If you get them started at a young age, then they'll always be ready and willing (in theory, anyway ;)) to be a part of the family economy.
- Put toys away
- Feed pets
- Put dirty clothes in the hamper
- Wipe up spills
- Put napkins on the table
- Vacuum with a small or hand-held vacuum
- Clear their own kid dishes from the table
- Water the flowers with a small watering can
- Unload utensils from the dishwasher
- Swiffer the floor
- Use electric sweeper on the floor
- Wipe surfaces with e-cloth (use the code JORDAN for 10% off)
- Pick up trash
Imagine how much pressure will be taken off of you when you allow your kids to be helpful around the house!
CHORES FOR AGES 4-5
On to the next one! These age appropriate chores for 4 and 5 year olds are really helpful and you're going to love it when your kids are old enough to start doing them.
- All previous chores
- Make their bed (Beddy's makes this super easy to do! Use the code FUNCHEAPORFREE20 to get 20% off.)
- Bring in the mail/newspaper
- Clear the table
- Pull weeds
- Vacuum with the big vacuum
- Water the flowers with the hose
- Unload the dishwasher
- Wash kid dishes in the sink
- Pick up bedroom
- Match socks
- Put clothes away
- Wipe bathroom sinks and counters with e-cloth (use code JORDAN for 10% off)
- Fold dish towels
- Pick vegetables from the garden
Learning life lessons and building new habits while also helping mama out? Yes, please.
CHORES FOR AGES 6-7
There's something about kids being school-age that flips a switch in their brains and opens up the world to all the new things they can do. It's the same for helping around the house! These age appropriate chores are perfect to help them learn new life skills, such as how to sort laundry the proper way.
- All previous chores
- Wash produce for meals
- Empty garbages
- Clean toilets
- Sort laundry
- Sweep floors with a regular broom
- Set and clear table
- Help make and pack lunch
- Weed and rake leaves
- Clean bedroom
- Wash windows (that they can reach)
The older your kids get, the more they can do to help out around the house!
CHORES FOR AGES 8-9
By the time your kids reach this age, they'll really be helpful around the house! You'll truly appreciate all that they are able to do.
- All previous chores
- Load dishwasher
- Take garbage out
- Put away groceries
- Help make dinner
- Make their own snacks
- Sew buttons
- Peel vegetables
- Mop floors
- Walk the dog
- Clean out the fridge
These lists are really starting to sound wonderful, right?!
CHORES FOR KIDS AGES 10+
Oh man, here's our last set of age appropriate chores and they're going to rock. your. world.
- All previous chores
- Unload dishwasher
- Do their own laundry
- Fold clothes
- Clean tubs and bathroom floors
- Wash the car
- Cook simple meals
- Iron clothes
- Babysit siblings for a limited amount of time
- Clean kitchen
- Change their sheets
- Mow the lawn
- Shovel snow
Are you as excited about those age appropriate chores as I was?!
PUT THEM TO WORK!
What good is a list of chores if you don't actually USE it?? As my kids have been helping out around the house, I have found that it actually IS lightening my load!! It takes some training and patience, and it's certainly not perfect. But hey, it's better than the job I was doing…which was NOTHING most days.
Most of the time, you'll only have to show your kids how to do something once or twice before they get it. Kids are smart and can pick things up quickly! If they try it a few times and just don't get it, then put that chore on the backburner and come back to it later.
My greatest tip? Find what they like to do and RUN WITH IT! If they hate it, it will be a battle. Have a kid who loves to vacuum? Make that be their job! For the younger kids, the kitchen is an easy place to use a small vacuum because it typically has larger crumbs and food pieces that are easy for them to see and aim for. For the older kids, give them free reign of the whole house with the bigger vacuum.
USE CHORE STICKS
There are some chores that my kids have to do daily. Pretty much anything that needs to be done on a daily basis within the appropriate age group is expected of them to do. I write the rest of the not-so-daily chores, like dusting or cleaning the bathroom, on popsicle sticks for them to pull from 5 or 6 days a week.
Chore sticks will be a game changer for you! It keeps you from having to figure out what needs to be done around the house and puts all of the responsibility on the sticks. Um, yes please!
TRACK PROGRESS AND OFFER INCENTIVES
In all of the the research that I've done over allowance, the parenting experts say that you should NOT pay allowance PER chore. Meaning, it's not “you get $0.50 for making your bed, and $1 for taking out the trash, etc…”.
Offering money per chore leads to unrealistic expectations and entitlement issues. Eventually your kids will assume that they should get paid for everything they do in this life (not the case) and that work is paid on a per-item basis (typically not the case). The fact of the matter is that they are part of the family, and they have responsibilities…just like when you work for a company, you have responsibilities. You work until the job is done. Once those general responsibilities are taken care of, then you get incentivized for doing your share.
Figure out what works best for your family. Don't go broke or blow the budget just for the sake of an allowance! For the most part, I recommend paying them half their age per week or double their age per month. It works out to be the same amount, it just depends on if you want to pay them weekly or monthly.
AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES ARE GOOD FOR THE FAMILY AND THE KIDS
So as you can see, by relying on your kids and pushing them to do hard things, it really does lighten your load in the long run! Sure, it takes a little training and lots of patience in the beginning. But in the end, you're TEACHING them to fish rather than GIVING them all the fish, and it's freeing you up to focus on bigger and better things.
What are the chores that your kids help out with the most? Let us know in the comments!
Don't forget to check these posts out!
- Teach your kids to save their money, build good habits and work towards a goal when they start making an allowance!
- Use my simple and easy behavior charts for those weeks when you just need a little extra help.
- My clipboard system has really helped tons of Freebs out during the school year!
- We all need a little help during the summer, so be sure to check out my summer clipboard system as well.