Age appropriate chores for kids

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

I posted about how and why we give our kids pocket money yesterday, but today I would like to share with you jobs the kids are capable of helping you with around the house.

Getting the kids to help around the house teaches them responsibility, giving them self-confidence and is of course so very helpful for you!  I remember when my kids first asked to unpack the dishwasher I didn’t think they were capable, I was wrong.  Just stand back and let them have a go.

A range of responsibility, chore and reward charts are available in The Organised Housewife Shop.

Loads of different colours and designs to choose from.

click here to purchase - blue

Kids Chores

(or as we like to call it responsibilities)

Under 5

Age 5-7

  • All of above, plus:
  • Put dirty clothes into correct laundry sorting basket
  • Unpack dishwasher
  • Feed the pet
  • Help put away groceries
  • Help fold washing
  • Dusting
  • Set the table
  • Water plants
  • Clean inside of car
  • Sweep outside path and driveway
  • Answer the telephone
  • Pack lunchboxes into school bag

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
  • Sweep patio
  • Wipe bathroom sink
  • Help with cooking dinner
  • Use a handheld stick vac to clean small floor areas
  • Pull weeds from garden
  • Run own shower or bath

Age 10 and beyond

  • Load and turn on washing machine
  • Change sheets on bed
  • Clean toilet
  • Clean bathroom
  • Clean mirrors
  • Vacuum
  • 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
  • Ironing

I keep my kids reward charts in the toy room, as I put them to bed each night we go through each item together

House tasks are detailed on the family responsibility sheet which is on the back of the pantry door

 What other tasks do your kids do?

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Kylie Sieben on Facebook November 10, 2011 - 5:40 AM

i just read this, i have a 5 and 4 yo and they do a lot on your list for no monetary reward. But i am thinking of starting pocket money. Sothanks for the tips. Xx

Dani November 10, 2011 - 6:01 AM

What a great list! I have just started using pocket money as incentive for my children to help around the house. Each job is worth either 50c, $1 or $1.50. (Mowing the lawn is $5 for my 11 year old) At the moment it is a choice for my children to do the job.
I also fine them 20c for each time they talk disrespectfully to me. Last week the older two chose not to do any jobs but ended owing me money for being disrepectful.
This seems to be working for the moment as my 11 year old boy has a personality that is motivated by material rewards. My 7 year old and 4 year old girls like to have coins to put into their money box, but mainly they like to help Mum.
I am willing to try as many things as it takes to teach my children that looking after a household is a team effort! (This also helps me as a single parent not have to do everything.

Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:22 PM

That’s right is a responsibility for them all to help contribute.

Julie April 20, 2012 - 2:36 PM

How do I get around this? My 6 year old is being a rat bag at the moment so I am in the process of doing chores, rules print up etc so he can see what he needs to do. ATM It is basically me doing everything (or leaving it until I can’t take any more) so I’m pretty fed up. I have downloaded and copied ideas to make plans for the eldest (two younger kids are babies so can’t help) but he has listening problems ie hates being told/asked to help so has very selective hearing! I need to have punishments (in all aspects) without it being a punishment as such. Any tips please?

Dani July 5, 2012 - 4:50 PM

My girls, who are now 5 & 8, share a room. They were repeatedly being told to tidy up their toys etc, but they didn’t, so now their room only has their beds, a few comfort toys and a small selection of books. They have to earn their toys back little by little. For me, stripping back to to needs, not wants has helped them see that having toys is a luxury not a right.

Amanda Fannon on Facebook November 10, 2011 - 6:44 AM

I did incorporate “toy jail” when they were young. They had chore charts and as they did chores they would place the cards in the “completed” box. Then they would get tokens for all the chores completed. Every night I didn’t fuss or nag about toys being picked up… if they were left out then they went to “toy jail” and could be bought back on Saturday mornings with their tokens. It worked so well that they ended up with lots of tokens and harldy any toys in “jail” lol

Bev Ashton on Facebook November 10, 2011 - 7:55 AM

I like that Amanda….

Sarah November 10, 2011 - 8:34 AM

Hi, I’ve been reading your posts, and I must say that my b3 helps a lot. He has only just recently turned 3 and since about 2 he has helped make his bed, feed the dogs, help with the rubbish, cleaning, dishes and washing all the daily chores. He enjoys it, it gets done quicker and then we get to play. I do like the idea of the pocket money though and will use this as an extra reward. I have a reward chart not with money but with fun activities e.g. going out in the boat, going to the beach, watching a movie etc and this seems to be working really well. It helps show that you can get rewards for helping out. I take away stars from such activities if he’s being rude or not doing as he’s told. So far lots of rewards have been given.

Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:23 PM

What a great little man you have!

Lily December 11, 2019 - 8:08 PM

I know this is an old post but I love your comment.

I trying to find ways of getting kids to do chores without them having to get paid as I feel it’s everyone’s job who lives in the house. I love the idea of activities and their pocket money based on behaviour.


Kristy Spiegl on Facebook November 10, 2011 - 8:59 AM

Finally! I copped alot of flack for being a mean mum and making my 4yo do chores. Thank you for this post, it makes me feel normal =)

Claire @ Claire K Creations November 10, 2011 - 9:00 AM

I like that you call them responsibilities instead of chores. I think I’ll start calling them responsibilities for myself and maybe I’ll like them a little more! I don’t have kids yet but when I do they will definitely have to earn their pocket money.

Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:24 PM

That’s right, many don’t give their kids pocket money as their help is expected, each to their own.

Lisa November 10, 2011 - 9:53 AM

A10yr old clean a toilet? Lol.

M.Flores January 2, 2017 - 3:11 PM

My 6yo boy cleans it. It may not be perfevt but they start somewhere

Kylie Pringle on Facebook November 10, 2011 - 10:01 AM

Very happy to see your list … looking for little reminders of jobs that can be shared … have always paid pocket money but do explain it’s not paid “per job” and that as a family there are lots of jobs we all need to do!!

Lisa Robertson on Facebook November 10, 2011 - 10:22 AM

Omg, I’m feeling like such bad Mum for NOT making my children do chores….my 18yo can’t even keep his own area clean let alone anyone else’s…..Grrrrr

Vikki Kay on Facebook November 10, 2011 - 11:00 AM

@ Samantha, my boys have always hung up the family’s undies, hankies and socks on a drying rack. Once they get to 5 they can also hang up singlets and thin shorts, washers, and tea-towels. Next I will start them hanging t-shirts on coathangers.

Vikki Kay on Facebook November 10, 2011 - 11:08 AM

I like the idea of ticking the sticker chart at night; we haven’t had a definite time, and so the charts get neglected! There is real training involved in doing chores/responsibilities. Things like putting dishes away, hanging up washing are just what each household member ‘does’ because they are a member of the family. Making beds, cleaning up messes they make… I don’t think parents should pay for this – mums and dads surely aren’t paid to pick up after their kids! But we pay up for right attitude (obeying promptly, playing nicely with brother, thinking of ways to bless others, remembering jobs without being reminded), and we will pay for ‘extra’ jobs like weeding, washing the car, etc.

mumspk November 10, 2011 - 1:59 PM

I love this! There is so much evidence out there that giving our kids responsibility around the home helps them work better as a team and respect others. That’s a good enough reason in itself I think…apart from the obvious extra hands on deck. Sadly I think the one thing that stops some of us from walking this path is because we’re perfectionists and want the house to look a certain way… if only we could embrace the ‘imperfect perfect’!!

Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:26 PM

I have had to, reality is I can’t do it all and at least the books are in the book shelf, even if it’s not perfectly straightened they did do as I asked.

Bec Sherman November 10, 2011 - 2:12 PM

Thanks for the list of age approriate responsibilities. When I mention to my (5 year old) son he needs to help out, he says he needs a list to check off – which we have done in the past but stopped doing. I love the ideas, I’m going to get to making him another list. Do you laminate yours and change the responsibilities each week?

Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:28 PM

Yes our charts are laminated and they do change regularly. Especially if there is a particular area that need attention. Eg this week taking this week their wardrobes are a mess.

Belle November 10, 2011 - 2:33 PM

Wow, I really need to re-think which chores I designate to which kids! My almost 12 yr old is doing chores that I could “pass on” to my 5yr old & I think I need to give her challenging chores now… Master 5 gets out of alot of chores because he is “the baby”… guess it time to let him grow up & help out now! Thank so much for sharing. I think this is going to help my household ALOT! xx

Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:29 PM

Sometimes it’s hard to realise our babies are growing up.

Free2beme November 10, 2011 - 4:20 PM

As soon as our kids started high school they took responsibility for cooking one meal a week. This meant they had to plan the meal so I could get the correct ingredients and organise who was going to be home etc. This not only taught them about cooking but planning a balanced meal, organisation of ingredients (check the pantry, put ingredients on shopping list) but also made them aware of the need to know who was going to be home etc. Left overs had to be frozen into labelled containers and as time went on and they had jobs they would ask to cook extra so they could freeze a meal to take to work or sport training. They didn’t start out with anything difficult, they found that timing was more difficult that the preparation and built up a repertoire they could use when they left home.

Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:30 PM

Such a great idea

Free2beme November 10, 2011 - 4:32 PM

From below: I forgot to give you a list of foods they cooked.
• spaghetti bolognaise
• tacos with mince
• grilled fish and salad
• chicken salad (a strange mix of a BBQ chook, boiled jacket potatoes, spring onions, coz lettuce, mayo and tinned tuna)
• pizza (homemade)
• niku jaga (Japanese stew of beef of chicken with carrot, potato & onion stew.
• stir fry
I showed them once and then was on hand for questions. As they helped in the kitchen growing up it was an easy transmission.

Katrina November 11, 2011 - 9:30 PM

Yum, chicken salad sounds delicious.

Samy_savva November 23, 2011 - 9:44 AM

I have since implemented this with the individual responsibility list and family responsibility list. We sat down with miss 3 1/2 and explained to her that we all have responsibilities around the house.

I started with my responsibilities and then daddy’s (these included taking rubbish out, cooking dinner, hanging out the clothes etc).

We went through her morning routine and evening routine we came up with (thanks for the ideas) and said that her responsibility was to ensure that she completed both her morning and evening routine each day. She wasn’t satisfied with this and asked if she could help set the table each night!

We have not implemented the idea of pocket money yet however after her completion of last week I did give $1.50 (half her age) and she asked what is for. PERFECT answer – I explained that it was a gift from mummy and daddy because she did such wonderful helping during the week and completed ALL her responsibilities. She was VERY satisfied with herself and went and put it STRAIGHT into her money box.

In the new year once we have the routines sorted we will start with a structured reward system including deducting. Thanks again for your AMAZING posts!

Katrina December 21, 2011 - 11:51 PM

Ooh, she is so sweet. Great work Sam, she will look forward to it each week!

Sooby76 January 30, 2012 - 8:41 PM

My daughter has had jobs around the house since she was 2 or 3, and they’ve grown & changed with her. She has a reward chart for things like Manners, Sharing & Being Kind, Listening & Obeying straight away and things like that. We also have a section for her chores. She’s just turned 4 now and her jobs are to help with the laundry (she hangs out all the underwear & socks, and sometimes the babies’ clothes too), vacuum the family room with the stick vacuum (mostly just under the table where the crumbs accumulate), clean the bath after bathtime, make her bed, set the table for dinner & tidy up the toys (with her little brother). When her sticker chart is full, she gets a special prize. Her next prize is a little pink watch for $10, so it never costs very much, but she’s so proud when it’s all full. At the end too, we sit down and do up a new sticker chart and decide what should go on it. She understands that everyone in the family has things to do that help each other. Her little brother has just turned 2, so he now helps with setting the table and hands me things that I need when I’m feeding or changing the babies (we have 5 month old twins too). He likes to copy his big sister, so he’s extra keen to help out which is wonderful!

Kathryn February 8, 2012 - 6:14 AM

My kids (6, 4 & 2) all sort their laundry after its been taken off the clothesline, to go back into their draws. Perfectly imperfect = they even take it upstairs to their rooms and put it in their draws. I encourage them to fold it but only my eldest does at the moment. And I’m ok with that because it is once less job I have to do and I only iron the clothes if they need it and only when it comes out of the wardrobe to get worn.

Tanya Collingwood Ramotho July 5, 2012 - 4:56 PM

I gave birth to my children  because i wanted them… not so they will be my slaves
Children should  not be doing housework  that’s what the mother is for

Linda July 5, 2012 - 9:22 PM

I also want my kids but in order for me to be able to spend quality time with them instead of thinking of all the jobs I have to get done I ask them to help me around the house by doing jobs.

I am also helping them cope with life when they eventually move out they have the skills to look after themselves.  I have seen kids where the mother did everything for them and they don’t cope well in the beginning.  Linda

Christiemccrindle July 6, 2012 - 4:46 AM

and how will your children ever learn to be a mom by your description if not by having responsibiliities? you don’t sit on your butt while they work, THAT is slavery. You work with them, beside them so the learn the empowerment of finishing a task that must be done before play. And then you play with them also.

vicky williams July 22, 2012 - 4:14 PM

Tanya I felt that growing up, I was only there to clean for my mum but I had to do alot plus look after my hyperactive sister, I wasn’t allowed out till i cleaned everyroom downstairs, I HATED IT.
 but i now have 4 children, i don’t take the mic out of them by making them do everything, but the house has to function like any other machine and they have to grow knowing how to leave home and look after themselves and they can, I have a 15, 12 and 8 year old girls and a 1 yr old baby boy.  Also it gives them good disapline and good work ethic, you don’t want teens who urgh at their boss cause they have to do something they don’t want to. charts work much better than nagging and boy have i nagged, but if its on the chart they don’t argue BIZZARE. x

Susan November 17, 2013 - 2:02 PM

Ha, ha, ha! You didn’t grow up on a farm! We all pitched in because we all relied on the outcome. And to a certain extent, isn’t it the same in all families? By pitching in, our children learn responsibility and teamwork. I gave birth to my children because I wanted them… and I’ve trained them through love and games, laughter and responsibilities because I want them to be equipped to handle anything the future holds. No child should ever view their mother as merely a “housekeeper”. Unless, of course, she’d rather spend all her time slaving for her children rather than playing with them… or maybe they just couldn’t perform to her standards?

Ads November 27, 2013 - 7:13 AM

and when they grow up and move out of home how are they going to know how to look after themselves? People don’t effectively learn by observation, they learn by doing. I give my kids responsibilities around the house not to treat them like slaves but so as to teach them how to be independent. I have boys, if they move out of home and live with someone I want them to know how to pull their weight, not sit around and expect everything to be done for them. Housework is not just for the mother, it is for the family

Janey M July 5, 2012 - 6:02 PM

I’m still stuck on the fact that that is a photo of a toy room………

Simone Ryan September 3, 2012 - 10:09 PM

My daughter is almost 3. She unpacks the toilet rolls out of the plastic into where we keep them in the linen closet. My husband has a mix of gluten free cereals and she helps pour the cereals into the container and do the mixing. She helps make her porridge each morning and takes her own dishes from the table to the kitchen bench. She also feeds our dog his lunch and helps get his main meal ready on weekends.

Jessica Pilton September 7, 2012 - 9:56 PM

Just having a browse through your blog and stumbled upon this… I absolutely love all of it. My husband and I so believe in responsibilities (not ‘chores’, its in the way we word things isn’t it?) at the moment our 2 year old loves helping mummy, sometimes to mummies frustration, as it can offer hinder not help but I fully believe in teaching her how to function as a well adjusted member of our family and preparing her for the world – while making our tasks fun and exciting at the same time.
We are working ourselves up to the point were we can do these things with her and she will understand as at the moment I dont think she will get it, but that isn’t going to stop me from doing this with her. Our kids are so smart and often we underestimate how much they can comprehend. Im going to introduce a system like this slowly to her and make it so much fun, heck I’m even excited about it!

Liss March 15, 2013 - 8:56 PM

My daughters love having their own money to spend when we go shopping. They count it out and only use it when they really like something. They are more aware of the value of money because it’s their own x

Leigh August 28, 2013 - 4:15 PM

LOVE it! My sons first ‘chore’ was to put the toilet paper rolls on the toilet paper holder when he was about 2 yrs old. He still likes doing that (at 4 1/2) and feels very important knowing its his job.
On another note … I have to disagree with people thinking the children are slaves because they have chores. It is all about having the right attitude. I don’t even call what he does a ‘chore’ actually. I’ve always made it really fun, and he just sees it as part of life – and most times does his ‘chores’ with a great attitude, For him, it is part of playing. He is always asking me to wash up ever since I had a number of plastic items to wash up one day, and let him do it. Also, have you ever noticed when they are around one and a half (my bubs now) that they love putting things in containers/boxes? That is when I teach them to pack up their toys, and they both LOVE (esp the little one) packing up! My children will learn how to do everything for themselves as age appropriate. No son or daughter of mine is going to get married and have their partner put up with sloppiness and laziness! ha ha.

Cat October 27, 2013 - 3:27 PM

I’m 13 years old and this website has really helped me because I love to organise things all over the house! I earn $10 every week but if I’ve been saving up for something that I’ve wanted for a long time, every now and then my allowance will be bumped up to $20 but it never lasts long. I’m happy with $10 though 🙂 Thanks again!

Tiffany September 29, 2015 - 8:52 PM

Great ideas- thanks

suzannecommerfordS December 12, 2015 - 8:39 AM

With chores do they have to do everything every day or are these extras on top of standard things like making bed, clearing the floor, clearing their own dishes away etc?

suzannecommerfordS December 12, 2015 - 8:39 AM

With chores do they have to do everything every day or are these extras on top of standard things like making bed, clearing the floor, clearing their own dishes away etc?

Katrina - The Organised Housewife December 14, 2015 - 7:18 PM

My kids have responsibilities that need to be completed each day, such as make bed, keep bedroom and bathroom tidy, emptying dishwasher and putting the bins out. They do not get pocket money for this, it’s an expected responsibility 🙂

Sandra January 25, 2017 - 5:24 PM

Similar chores are recommended by Track Chores. Visit Track Chores to find out your missed out chores

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