Age Appropriate Chores


As a mother of three boys I believe it is extremely important to teach children how to do house work, including cleaning, laundry and cooking.

If they do not know what it takes to run a household and care for themselves and others, then when they grow up they are going to struggle to do so are for themselves and their families. There is an increasing number of young people out there who do not know how to cook. When it comes to health and budget it is a must to be able to make healthy meals on a budget. And I do not believe that it is only a woman's job to cook and do household chores. Man can benefit from being thought these skills as young boys for many reasons. One of them being able to respect a woman who cares for them because they know what it takes and the other reason is being able to take care of themselves should they end up living on their own for awhile. Also sharing household chores come handy now days, since more and more women have to work outside of their home and families as well.
When it comes to teaching children household chores important to make sure we take their ages into consideration. It is important to remember that children mature differently and what one 6-year-old can do another might struggle with. Also there is difference between household chores and life skills, sometimes though there is a fine line between them. Most children do well with a list of chores they can refer to at times they "cannot remember" their chores because they are too busy playing. :-)
Do not forget to thank the children for their efforts and work always! Even if it takes them three times as long and the end results might not be as perfect as yours would be. As a perfectionist, I do have a problem with this part at times, but I have always praised my boys for helping. It helps them to develop their self confidence as well as it makes them feel appreciated and an important part of the family team. It teaches them how helping others can bring them happiness and joy. Remember that respect cannot be expected before being given first and appreciation cannot be taught without being experienced first!
Here is a list of chores by age. Feel free to adjust it depending on your children's maturity level and abilities. Post it in their bedroom or onto the family message board for easy reference.

AGE 2-3
Dress up and undress
Put dirty clothes into the laundry hamper
Pick up and put toys away - needs supervision especially with smaller toys

AGE 4-5 - Any of the above chores plus
Pair up socks
Put folded clothes into the dresser
Fold dish towels.small towels
Collect dirty towels and put them into the laundry hamper
Set the table - forks, butter knives and spoons - no sharp or pointy knives yet!
Take dirty dishes to the sink
Empty dishwasher/sink - cutlery, plastic Tupperware, pots and pans
Wipe table/kitchen counter
Collect garbage in the house
Feed pets
Shovel snow and rake leaves

AGE 6-8 - Any of the above chores plus
Wake up to the alarm clock
Make their bed
Brush teeth and comb hair and be responsible for personal hygiene, like washing hands after bathroom and before/after meals or after coming home
Choose their outfit
Tidy up their room and bathroom
Remove dirty bedding, pillow covers and put them into the laundry hamper
Fold/hang clothes
Set the table with plates and glasses/mugs
Put dirty dishes into the dishwasher
Empty dishwasher - plates and glassware
Make their own yam/honey sandwich in the morning and poor their milk
Empty and wipe out their lunch boxes
Take garbage out, sort recyclable items
Dust and sweep
Clean up after pets
Help to weed in the garden

AGE 9-11 - Any of the above chores plus
Keep their own room clean - dust, vacuum
Clean their own bathroom or one bathroom in the house - toilets, sinks, mirrors and bathtub
Get mail
Food prepping with supervision - washing, cutting of veggies and fruits
Sort laundry by color and type of load
Put clothes from the washer to the dryer
Do homework without supervision
Screen phone calls by caller ID

AGE 12-14 - Any of the above chores plus
Simple meal preparations with supervision depending on the extent of the cooking
Was and dry their clothes
Help to clean other rooms in the house, including moping hard wood and washing tile floors
Mow the lawn with supervision

The above list is only a suggestion. It does not mean you have to have your kids do all what is on the list. Taking advantage of their helpfulness is not the best way to teach them responsibility. Just like with everything in life, fairness goes a long way. Let them be kids. Childhood goes by so fast. All kids wanna be adults, because they think we have it so easy, only to realize when they grow up that the best time of their lives was when they were little. And of course all adults wish they could be kids again...
Most importantly have fun! Enjoy them until they are little and they want to spend time with you. Do not skip the evening cuddles and that one last kiss before they drift to sleep. Even if there is laundry to be folded and dishes to be put away. Really, who cares? The sun will come up tomorrow again, even if you never get it done because you fall asleep cuddling them, too.