~Updated for 2019

You most likely had them, I definitely had them, what am I talking about? Chores, tasks your parents expected you to complete on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. What is strange about more and more parents today is that they do not give their children chores.

One of my favorite quotes really gets to the essence of why I believe so strongly that all children have chores.

” It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings” – Ann Landers

The reality is that adulting is hard. But it is even HARDER if your were never taught basic home keeping skills to begin with.

Why Children Should have Chores

It turns out according to 25 years of data collected for a study from the University of Mississippi, that chores instill the importance of contribution to the family and they also taught empathy. Those with chores as young children were more likely to be well adjusted, have better relationships with family and friends and be more successful in their careers.

Despite the positives that having chores creates, a study in 2014 indicated that 82 percent of grown-ups polled said they had regular chores growing up, but only 28 percent reported asking their children to do any. (source: Having Kids do Chores a is a Good Thing)

What are the Positives of Chores for Kids

  1. Teaches Responsibility
  2. Teaches them skills they need to be adults
  3. Makes them proud to contribute to the household
  4. Helps you get it all done. It really does take a village
  5. This is the first real work that your kids will do, they need to understand the value of it.
  6. Teaches teamwork

Instituting Chores at Your Home

First, you need to choose chores that are age appropriate.

You cannot ask your 3-year-old to unload and put away the dishes for instance. But you can ask them to put their toys away or dust. The same goes for each age group. As your child ages they become capable of doing more and following more detailed instructions. The list below are suggestions for age appropriate chores you can dole out to your children.

Age Appropriate Chore Ideas

Appropriate Chores for children ages 2 – 3

  • Put toys away
  • Fill pet food dish
  • Put clothes in hamper
  • Wipe up spills
  • Put shoes on the mat
  • Dust
  • Sweep with a small dustpan broom
  • Pile up books and magazines

Appropriate Chores for children ages 4 – 5

  • Any of the chores listed above PLUS
  • Make their bed
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Bring in mail or newspaper (assuming you are on a safe road!)
  • Set table
  • Pull weeds
  • Use a hand-held vacuum
  • Water flowers
  • Unload utensils from the dishwasher
  • Wash plastic dishes in the sink
  • Fix a bowl of cereal or get a ready-made snack

Appropriate Chores for children ages 6 – 7

  • Any of the chores listed above PLUS
  • Sort laundry
  • Sweep floor
  • Swiffer floor
  • Set and clear the table
  • Help make and pack lunch
  • Weed and rate leaves
  • Keep bedroom tidy
  • Bring in trash can

Appropriate Chores for children ages 8 – 9

  • Any of the chores listed above PLUS
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Put away groceries
  • Vacuum
  • Help make dinner (with supervision)
  • Wash table after meals
  • Put away own laundry
  • Make own breakfast
  • Peel vegetables
  • Cook simple foods, such as toast
  • Mop floor
  • Take pet for a walk

Appropriate Chores for children ages 10 and up

  • Any of the chores listed above PLUS
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Fold laundry
  • Clean Bathroom
  • Wash windows
  • Wash Car
  • Cook simple meal with supervision
  • Do laundry
  • Baby-sit younger siblings (with an adult in the home)
  • Clean kitchen
  • Change their bed sheets

Want to keep this info close at hand? Check out this free printable chart:

Chore Chart by Age

Free Printable Age Appropriate Chore Chart Ideas

Second, it is good to make expectations clear.

Let your child know what you expect and stick to it. For example, my oldest has been required to pick up all the toys every night before bed since the age of 2. That has not changed. My oldest understands that is part of the daily chores.

Additionally, there may be requirements on a weekly basis, or on certain days. My oldest has to help with the emptying of the small wastebaskets in all the rooms each Sunday (garbage goes out for collection on Monday morning).

Third, keep a chart!

It helps both you and your child visualize what needs to be done and the chart shows when it has been done. I have my oldest put a sticker on the day and line of each completed chore.

Below you will find a weekly printable chore chart for younger children (ages 2 – 5) and older children (ages 6 and up). They are simple to use and make it easy to track what needs to be done and when. Once the chore is completed on the day designated that is when i put a sticker in the box.

Free Printable: Chore Chart- Years 2 – 5

Free Printable Chore Chart for ages 2 - 5

Free Printable: Chore Chart- Ages 6 and Up

Free Printable Chore Chart for ages 6 and up

Add an Allowance to the Mix?

One question you may be asking yourself is whether or not you should give your kids an allowance for chores. My personal opinion is that you do not get paid to run your home. Therefore, kids should not get an allowance for the normal day to day chores that need to be completed.

However, if your kids help with a special chore – say cleaning all the baseboards in the home or helping you set up a garage sale. Then I would pay them something for that chore because it is above and beyond the normal day to day cleaning, cooking, laundry or tidying of the home.

The truth is that while giving money to your child for completing tasks may work in the short run. It will not work in the long run and it sends the completely wrong message to your kids. They need to understand the importance of knowing how to keep their home clean and organized. How to make their own meals and take care of their laundry. It builds good work ethic which will only benefit them as adults.

Despite all I have said and above all, do what works best for you and your family. Having your children complete chores gives them a sense of purpose in the home, teaches them life skills, makes them responsible, and helps keep the house running.

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Children need chores, but do you know why?

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