What to Do, When: Chores for Kids at Every Age

From toddlers to tweens, here's how to create age-appropriate chores for your kids.

J. J. Morgan
3-minute read

Now that the school year is in full swing, our days are busier than ever.

Between long school days, after school activities, homework, and instrument practice, precious little time is left over for anything else – especially not chores!

But it is important for parents to stress the value of the home as well so that the kids recognize it as a priority. The whole family benefits when the children can clean up after meals and playtime, and otherwise help with the general upkeep of the home.

To boot, it builds self-worth, raises confidence, and reinforces vital self-care skills that children will appreciate more and more as they grow older. When they eventually leave the comfort of their parents' homes entirely, they’ll be self-sufficient and ready to be on their own.

Below is a list of chores by age.  The chore assignments are designed to help the child amass the highest possible level of confidence for his or her age group. 

2-4 year olds:

Start off with having the child dust around bookshelves and the entertainment centers, place napkins on the table, and keep toys organized and stored away in the correct spots. You add a few more chores during this time period by teaching them to put their dirty laundry in the hamper and their clean clothes in drawers (with help, of course!). More than just establishing a close bond with household pets, young children should learn how to feed and walk them.  

4-7 year olds:

"Help" is the important word at this age. Many of the chores will be done as a helper and slowly kids will graduate to doing them independently!

Continue setting the table, but add the rest of the silverware into the mix. You can have them put away toys and other clutter, help feed and walk pets, or even water plants. You might assist them in making their beds, rinsing dishes and figuring out the puzzle of where to place them in the dishwasher. Now is a good time to ingrain the idea that if you make a mess, you have to clean it up yourself. So have them wipe up spills and messes, throwing used things out and then taking out the trash on trash day. Have them help put away groceries, wash the car, and let them bring in the newspaper and mail.

8-10 year olds:

At this stage, try to hold back and become more hands-off: let the children do chores by themselves. Add in a few new activities, too, like sweeping floors, vacuuming, raking leaves, and helping with the cooking.

11 year olds and older:

At this point you should expect that the children are pretty efficient at completing the chores they once struggled with as youngsters, and that the management of the house has become a part of their daily routine. Focus on expanding the skill set to other domestic areas not yet attempted, such as cleaning bathrooms, or the kitchen after a meal.
With these expectations in mind, your child should gain a strong work ethic and sense of family commitment, and as a bonus—the house will look great!

We want to know what YOU do to organize chores for your kids!  Please leave us a comment or give us feedback below (and don’t forget to click LIKE and SHARE!)

J.J. Morgan is a Freelance Writer and Editor of SmexyMom.  She is also the owner of Parchment, a custom stationery boutique and online shop in Los Angeles catering to celebrity clientele.