I remember when my kids first asked to unpack the dishwasher I didn’t think they were capable. I had images of chipped crockery, dropped glasses, etc… but they were eager, so I let them give it a go. I was wrong, they were capable and they enjoyed it too! Allow your kids to give it a go, you can’t pass up an opportunity for help and you might be pleasantly surprised at how much they can do. Encouraging your children to complete chores and jobs around the house is actually incredibly beneficial for the development of your kids. I’ve put together a list of age appropriate chores for kids. Feel free to adapt the lists to what you think will fit best with you and your child/children’s capabilities.
Benefits of the Kids Helping Around the House
There are many benefits to encouraging the children to help out around the house and complete certain chores. Here are just a few reasons why you should get them involved:
- TEACHES THEM IMPORTANT LIFE SKILLS – I think this is one of the most important lessons. Without chores, my kids would have no idea how to keep a room tidy or how to clean up after themselves. It teaches them to become more self reliant and helps their progression into adulthood become a lot easier!
- TEACHES THEM TO WORK WELL WITH OTHERS – When everyone is required to pitch in around the house, it teaches kids the real value of teamwork and working well with others. It teaches them to listen, follow instructions and be a team player.
- TEACHES THEM RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCIPLINE – By assigning them a task and giving them a responsibility, they quickly learn a lot about following rules and taking ownership for certain jobs.
- TEACHES THEM RESPECT – If children are never exposed to how much work goes in to keeping a clean and tidy house, they will never know how much you do for them! By giving them a few of your small tasks, they will grow to appreciate your hard work.
- KEEPS THEM OCCUPIED – When your kids are bored, anything (even chores) can seem entertaining! Don’t set them too many chores so that they resent them, but give them a job every now and then to keep them busy.
- IMPROVES THEIR WORK ETHIC AND CREATES HABITS – By creating a list of chores that they are responsible for each week, it trains them to form good habits. Even implementing a pocket money system will assist them in developing a pleasant work ethic. Here is a blog post I did a while ago about why I give my kids pocket money.
- GIVES THEM SELF-CONFIDENCE/PURPOSE – The satisfaction of completing a chore gives children a boost of confidence. They tend to feel more capable and like an important contributor to the family.
- HELPS YOU OUT!!!
When my kids were young & how it’s shaped them today
I gave my kids responsibilities around the home at a young age and I have to tell you, I am very proud and appreciative of the help they give me today now that my youngest is 12 and twins 14. We do have a few sibling arguments in our house (more so, now they are older), but I can easily say we have never had any arguments over household tasks. A few of the highlights I want to share:
PACKING AWAY TOYS – My kids have been helping me to pack up the toys from the moment they could crawl. We would sing a packing up song as we were tidying up the toys, totally made up “we are packing up the toys, we are packing up the toys, packing packing packing up, packing up the toys’. It makes it fun and joyful. I also made sure their rooms were tidy before going to bed, when they were little I helped, but as they got older this has become a task they complete themselves.
Today, being teens and tweens, they don’t have toys like they used to. However, if they do leave something around the house, I do not pick it up. I call for them (to stop what they are doing, because that’s annoying and I like to annoy them sometimes – I pick my timing well, like when they are relaxing or talking to friends), and get them to pick up the item they have left laying around. That annoying factor helps them to learn to do it next time without having to be prompted. Other times if they are hanging around me, I just need to look them in the eye, then eyeball the item and they know exactly what needs to be done.
Read more: How to get kids to clean up their toys
MADE THEIR BED FROM A YOUNG AGE – As much as I would’ve loves to have straightened the kids’ beds after they made them when they were younger (they were lumpy), I resisted because they had put in the effort and for that I am grateful. Also because I didn’t have time, it’s one less thing I had to do. From a young age, I didn’t need to remind them to make their bed as it was listed on their daily routine chart.
Today, the kids always make their bed before they go to school, I don’t even have to ask. The girls make their bed beautifully, my son not so much. But as I mentioned above, I am just happy he has at least made it.
this bedspread was purchased from Target last season
UNPACK THE DISHWASHER – This has been a regular routine since the kids were 5 years old. After the kids eat their breakfast, they unpack the dishwasher. Each child has their own responsibility. Child #1 unpacks the top, Child #2 unpacks the bottom, Child #3 unpacks the cutlery.
Today, it is rotated daily, to be fair as they are all older and just as capable as each other. I have a tasks to-do chart that indicates who does what task on what day. We have used this chart for years, the kids rarely refer to it now as they just do the jobs. There is no fighting, the kids realise that it’s a contribution to household tasks and realise that it helps me out. Miss 12 has been a bit slower in the mornings lately, so she has set her alarm clock 5 minutes earlier to ensure this task is completed before she goes to school.
I found this photo from 2013 my youngest 8 years old, she is now 12 (pictured below).
RESPECT – My kids have grown to be very respectful and I am extremely grateful that they are growing up to be such considerate human beings. If they see me at the washing line, they will come and help or if they see me sorting the washing, they will help out. In particular, my Mr 14 has been doing the dishes while I am cooking dinner and on the weekends when I am pottering around the house, he asks me if there is anything that he can help with before he sits down for a marathon session on his Xbox.
AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR KIDS – UNDER 5
- Put dirty clothes directly into laundry
- Help sort dirty clothes into darks, colours and white piles
- Put salt and pepper on table
- Help dust
- Help feed the pet
- Pick up toys
- Make bed, remember it can be perfectly imperfect
- Tidy bedroom
- Tidy toy room
- Get the mail
- Help wash the car
- Help fold tea towels
AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR KIDS – AGE 5-7
- All of above, plus:
- Put dirty clothes into correct laundry sorting basket
- Use a handheld stick vac to clean small floor areas
- Unpack dishwasher
- Feed the pet
- Help put away groceries
- Help fold washing
- Wipe bathroom sink
- Set the table
- Water plants
- Clean inside of car
- Sweep outside patio and driveway
- Answer the telephone
- Help pack lunchboxes
AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR KIDS – AGE 8-10
- All of above, plus:
- Peg washing on the line
- Take washing off line
- Fold washing
- Put away their own washing
- Put rubbish in the outside bin
- Put out the bin on collection day
- Tidy bathroom
- Help with cooking dinner
- Pull weeds from garden
- Run own shower or bath
AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES FOR KIDS – AGE 10 AND BEYOND
- Load and turn on washing machine
- Change sheets on bed
- Clean toilet
- Clean bathroom
- Clean mirrors
- Cook simple meals
- Clean car
- Clean the fridge
- Clean and declutter kitchen bench
- Wash the dishes
- Make and pack own lunches
- Clean pool
- Pick up pet business in backyard
- Take pet for a walk
- Baking for lunchbox
What household tasks do you get your kids to do?
VISUAL CHARTS FOR KIDS
Some children need a visual display to remember what they have to do. I like having charts up in my house as a reminder and way for my kids to follow their jobs easily. The charts encourage good behaviour and habits.
I have a large variety of chore, responsibility and reward charts in my shop. These are an excellent way to keep your children motivated and stop them from forgetting important tasks. These are all printable items and can be instantly downloaded upon purchase.
Use this routine reward chart for kids to remind your child of the tasks they need to do each morning, placing a star or tick next to the task once complete.