As a parent, our chore list is often long in length and filled with arduous and boring activities. As you know, I am a big believer in creating an allowance system for my kids. The sooner we can have the kids involved, the better. Right? Finding the right chores to introduce at the right time to our children is key to having a successful implementation. Otherwise, you might find yourself frustrated and with more work than when you began!
So, what is the right age and what are the right activities? Creating a daily schedule for kids is more of an art than a science! It can be hard to decide when is a good time to start giving kids chores. Things you will have to consider are the child’s attention span, abilities, and interest in a reward system.
Age by Age Chore Suggestions
Chores for 1 to 3-Year-Olds
It is important to make chores into a game or a FUN activity that allows you to have “bonding time”. Here are some activities you can do with your toddler.
In the laundry, toddlers can match socks, pick their laundry out of the pile, folding washcloths and towels. You can even make the activity more enriching by talking about color, shape, and sizes. In the kitchen, toddlers can have fun cleaning counters with spray bottles or small bucket of water and sponge, sweeping with a miniature broom and dustpan, handing dishes to you out of the dishwasher. In their bedroom and playroom, toddlers can put laundry, toys, and books away. Sometimes it helps to give goals like “How fast can you put x number of items away?” or race each other to put the most items away in a minute.
When you think to yourself (as you will), “I could get this done so much faster on my own” just remember you are training them for the pre-K and K age group when they begin to do their chores on their own!
Chores for 4 to 6-Year-Olds
Preschoolers are more able to help without as much supervision. By this age, you should really be able to give them a task and have them do it. Of course, their size, maturity level, and their level of strength should all be taken into account. Washing plates, bowls, and cups are a good place to start with dishes at this age. They may need a stool to stand on and a bit more supervision. Sweeping and vacuuming are also good chores for preschoolers to do indoors. Raking leaves, picking up dog waste from the yard, taking out the trash, and cleaning their rooms are also very good chores for a child of this age group. Be patient, because preschoolers still have a pretty short attention span and will probably need a lot of reminding.
Chores for 7 to 10-Year-Olds
The Elementary age group is ready for the big machines. Honestly, if a child can use phones, tablets, and game systems, they can use dishwashers and washing machines. At this age, you can really start to expect your child to do their own laundry or be in charge of the daily dishes. It might be nice to switch out different chores for different days so that they don’t start getting too bored and becoming careless.
Chores for 11 – 13-Year-Olds
Here comes the yard work! Children in the middle school age group can start using lawn mowers. They typically have enough coordination and depth perception at this point to do a good job and not run over stray objects in the yard.
Chores for 14 and Up
By the age of 14, your children should be able to do just about any chore that an adult should be able to do, but you may not want to trust them just yet with paying bills and doing your taxes (though that is an attractive idea). I know that the temptation to lighten up on chores might be there since many high schoolers have a lot of homework and after-school activities, but just remember, you are teaching them how to take care of themselves in the adult world. Don’t overload them, but also make sure they are carrying the appropriate amount of responsibility in the home.
Knowing when is the right age to give your children chores can be hard. It really comes down to the individual child’s maturity and ability levels, but these are good places to start with each age group.
I hope you found this post helpful!