What are some ways you teach your kids responsibility? Or ownership of their home? My husband and I were discussing this the other day. We want to make sure our kids contribute to the household, well because it is their home also. They have pretty great lives and we don’t want them to take that for granted. In thinking this through, we wondered what exactly are the age appropriate chores they can do. It’s hard to always remember what those are, which is where this chore list by age comes in hand.
It’s not about having them help us- because it’s actually not easier to have kids help. Sometimes the 2 year old feeds the dog and spills dog food over the floor or they don’t accomplish something exactly the way you would. The purpose is that we want our kids to be well rounded and be able to take care of themselves when they leave our home.
It seems like that is left out a lot. Kids do homework, play and tons of activities, but adding in contributions to their home is just as beneficial. It adds to their development and character- like strong work ethic, confidence, accountability, community and a sense of pride. It can be anywhere from 2-5 different things they do a day, 10 minutes to an hour depending on your home and age of your kids.
Our boys already show pride and accomplishment when they help. Miles is 4 years old and his main chores since he was 3 have been setting the table, cleaning his place at the table, feeding the dog and cleaning up his toys. Our 2 year old Ellis now helps by taking over feeding the dog and always clearing his plate from the table as well (his balance isn’t great so if there is food left, Miles helps him).
Ellis always announces to us- jumping up and down-when he’s put the dog’s bowl down with food. Like we weren’t there and told him it was time to feed her. He just gets so excited and wants to make sure we know that he contributed.
Are there days that are battles? Of course. I just remind them that every member of the house contributes in some way. I cook dinner, your dad cleans up the dishes after, you (Miles) set the table and Ellis feeds the dog, etc. If the table isn’t set, nobody can eat etc. They start to see how everything works together.
Maybe in the future they will get some compensation or reward for complex chores but we hope that starting early gets them accustomed to having chores as part of their everyday life.
Now this list is extensive. The goal was to put everything a child is capable of doing based on their age. From there, you decide what you want to integrate into your family. It doesn’t have to be every single thing listed in the age range, by no means.
You can download the free printable by signing up for a weekly newsletter at the end of the post! Great resource as your kids grow up and your household changes.
Toddler Chore List (Ages 2-3)
- Pick up toys and clothes
- Put dirty clothes in hamper
- Set the Table (with help)
- Feed pets and refill water
- Clean up place at the table after meals
- Brush teeth & helps get himself dressed
- Clean up spills and messes
- Wipe down tables, chairs and stools
- Make beds (with help)
Preschool Chore List (Ages 4-5)
- Helps fold towels and wash clothes
- Water plants
- Chooses clothes & gets dressed
- Prepare snacks and simple meals
- Unloads from dishwasher
- Help with laundry- loading & sorting clothes
- Makes bed with minimal help
- Sets table independently
- Assists with putting away groceries
Early Elementary Chore List (Ages 6-8)
- Dust & vacuum
- Put away clothes
- Help rake leaves
- Load & unload dishwasher
- Prepares & packs lunch for school
- Get himself up, dressed and brushed for school
- Puts groceries away
- Transfers clothes from washer to dryer
- Empty trashcans
Older Elementary Chores (Ages 9-11)
- Folds own laundry & puts away (with help)
- Washes dishes
- Personal hygiene
- Helps younger siblings get ready & do homework
- Bathes and cares for pets
- Sets alarm clock & other bedtime activities
- Cleans up room independently
- Prepares easy meals
- Household maintenance- change lightbulbs etc.
Middle Schooler Chores (Ages 12-14)
- More detailed household cleaning- refrigerator, etc.
- Clean shower & tub
- Babysit siblings for short periods (with adults nearby)
- Wash windows
- Help with deep cleaning
- Prepare occasional family meal
- Mows lawn- with assistance
- Help wash car
Teen Chore List (Ages 15+)
- Babysit siblings for longer periods
- Family errands
- Earn money and manage personal finances
- Purchase own clothes or other wants
- Prepare family meals
- Deep cleaning
- Helps with family budgets- learn about how to create one for themselves
Please share any other great ideas you use for chores below! I already see my boys pride and ownership of their space increase with their contribution to our home. But I also know they are young and different hurdles are bound to be in our future. Tis Life. 🙂