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!
MAKE A LIST OF AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES
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 JORDAN 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.
So cute that Hutch is folding the clothes and doing such a great job!! I’m even proud
Thank you so much for this. Great ideas as I have a 5 1/2 year old and 1 1/2 year old who would likely adore helping. Also, I love your philosophy and all your advice, thank you for sharing with us! You’re my favorite!
No Jenny, YOU are my favorite and thank YOU for sharing 🙂 XOXO
My son makes his bed, puts away toys, cleans his bathroom, helps with dinner and setting table. He also loves to vacuum.
What is it with kids and vacuums?? They love it 🙂 Super cute.
Liam has been helping with laundry since he was 15 months. I put the wet clothes on the edge of the dryer and he pushes them in and shuts the door! Its pretty much the cutest thing ever =]
Good for you! Yes, Priya loves to help me put the clothes in the washer/dryer too 🙂
Thank you so much for this post!!!! I’ve been trying for a couple months to have my 3&4 yr olds doing more. They want to but I’m just always at a loss and have no real schedule down so everything is usually done in a rush so I just do it. And they end up playing the iPad ALL day long. Which makes them super cranky, and me too! Lol! I cannot wait to see your chore chart/incentives post! My four year old really wants to earn money so he can buy a dirt bike. Haha!
Glad you liked it! You’ll love the incentive chart. I promise to get it up soon.
I watch a 2.5 year old. He is great with matching socks when they come out of the wash. He also likes to put clothes in the washer/dryer since they’re front loader. He also enjoys pushing the buttons that I tell him to push. If he spills his water cup I have him go find a towel to wipe it up. he isn’t convinced about cleaning up toys yet.
Matching socks!!! That’s a great idea. I bet Priya would love that…
Whenever my 2 year old sees me sweeping, he grabs the dustpan or another broom to help Mommy. He also loves putting Daddy’s dirty clothes in the hamper and singing the clean up song while he tidies up his room. He won’t rest until everything is in its place.
So cute! Thanks for sharing!
Hi, can I borrow Hutch for when my kids need to learn chores? he’d a great teacher!
haha YEs! The beauty is that he now “teaches” Priya for me. It makes him feel so big. It’s adorable.
Can’t wait too see how you “pay” your kids. We’ve got the chore part down and they love to help but don’t have anything set up for giving them money. My husband randomly gave my 5 year old 10 bucks for being good about doing her chores and she spent the majority of it on makeup at the dollar store, shared it with all of her friends, and we started a neighborhood flu epidemic. I need help teaching her how to be smart with her money. Hooray that soon you’ll be saving the day and giving us ideas on what to do!
Yes, have no fear, Jordan is here! OR, er, will be coming…I promise to do the post really really soon…
Have you posted on this yet and I missed it? I am really interested in this part.
Hm….um…haven’t posted it yet. Yikes! Don’t hate me! But I promise I will! I just got behind on stuff. Coming soon I promise!
Thank you for replying i just wanted to make sure i wasn’t overlooking it. Thanks again.
I’m so impressed with Hutch folding laundry! I have to admit that I”m way too OCD to let anyone else fold laundry, but I do let them match socks and put clothes on hangers. My children are older than yours, they are 10 & 11. (Wow, I just realized they are 10 & 11!!!!) They both help out a lot around the house, albeit grudgingly at times. They do dishes (both hand wash and load & unload the dishwasher), load the washer and switch to dryer, take out the trash, make their beds, dust furniture in their rooms and all the baseboards in the house, take out the recycling, and help with meal prep, I.E. peeling potatoes, cucumbers, scrub vegetables, gather ingredients, etc.) and both can cook simple things from a box such as rice pilaf and both are capable of making their own breakfast (waffles, bacon, eggs, oatmeal) and of packing their lunch for school, although we do it for them.
Wow that sounds like a great list! I hear you, I will probably never let my kids do the actual laundry, I’m too OCD about setting stains. But it looks like you’ve got a great list of things going so that’s fabulous!
So inspiring, Jordan! I love to see the beautiful ways you’re teaching your children to do housework. Great photos–and such a lovely blog. xo
Thanks April!! And thanks for the inspiration on your own blog and site as well! XOXO
Recently found your site and really like it. I want to implement chores and allowance with my kids so this article was great. Did you ever post the allowance article? I was trying to find it. Thanks.
Oh my word, no I never did! Ok I’m adding it to my list of things to blog about asap. Thanks for the reminder!
I recently found you on YouTube. I absolutely admire you, your family and your relationship. I know you aren’t perfect and I love that you are sure to remind us that YouTube is only a clip and that you’ve gone through a lot to get to where you are and that just like anyone else you have struggles because life is hard for everyone in various seasons. I need that reminder 🙂
Do you use other insentives for your children other than allowance? I never received and allowance and my husband didn’t either. We are not sure we want to use allowance as an insentives so I need some other ideas.
Thank you for everything you do. You are really helping people.
I can’t print them- it just goes to an add! Please help!!!
So sorry you’re having trouble with that! Find the pink box that says “grab the age appropriate chore list here” and it should open up the printable for you. If you’re still having issues, try it in a different browser or on your phone/tablet.