We often think of our children as in constant need of our assistance, but the truth is kids can handle more than we think. Many of them like the independence that comes with being able to complete a task themselves, so giving them the responsibility of pitching in around the house will set them up for success in the future. Assigning chores to your children based on their age and ability will help them understand the importance of their contribution to the success of the family household and also give them a new sense of respect and appreciation for the place they call home.
At this age, small, manageable chores are a way to develop healthy habits with your young one and set the stage for being an active participant in the household. Although you’ll still have to supervise, resist the urge to speed up the process by helping too much; the goal here is for your young one to learn a small amount of accountability.
- Put their toys/books away.
- Help feed the family pet (if you don’t have a pet, a fish is a low-key pet that offers a great opportunity to add a little responsibility to your toddlers routine).
- Put laundry in the hamper.
As your child gets a bit older, simple chores they were already performing can begin to be done independently and they can take on a few more complicated tasks with supervision:
- Help set and clear the dinner table.
- Make their bed.
- Water plants.
- Help put away groceries.
- Help put dishes in the dishwasher.
- Put laundry in the washer (but not pour laundry detergent).
- Pack up their backpack.
- Help sweep floors.
As your child starts to hit the higher grades, tasks they helped with before can be unsupervised, and their chores can extend to tasks that help the entire family.
- Clean their room.
- Set the table.
- Sweep and vacuum.
- Feed the family pet.
- Take out the trash.
- Rake leaves.
- Pack their own lunches.
- Load and empty the dishwasher.
- Put away groceries.
- Check the mail.
- Put away their laundry.
Age 11 and Older
As your child hits pre-teen and up, they’ll be looking for more social independence, and correspondingly their workload should reflect their desire to be more grown up. You should be removing yourself from their personal tasks like doing their laundry, making their lunch etc. and at the same time give them more responsibility maintaining the household and helping the family. You may be getting more resistance at this age, but striking a balance between time with their friends and completing what’s expected will begin to teach them valuable time management skills as they reach their teens and begin to juggle more schoolwork, social events and eventually a part-time job.
- Clean their bathroom and room.
- Help clean the kitchen.
- Wash dishes.
- Clear the table and put dishes in the dishwasher.
- Mow the lawn and shovel snow.
- Do their laundry.
- Make and pack their lunch.
- Care for the family pet.
- Watch younger siblings for small periods of time.
- Prepare their own meals (with help at first).
A great way to keep the household chores organized across the family is to have a Chore Board that you can create as a family. There are plenty of fun options on the internet that encourage kids to complete their tasks with fun and colourful ways to track chore completion. Cheekier parents may even attach a monetary value to each task, ranging from $1-$5 that kids can collect once they complete. Keep in mind chores worth money should be chores that benefit the entire family, like mowing the lawn or setting the table. It’s important for kids to learn that tasks like making their bed, cleaning their room and sorting their own laundry are personal tasks required of them to keep their own space clean and tidy.