Age Appropriate Chore List

Any time I mention my children’s chores here, I almost invariably have someone ask for an age appropriate chore list or at least some idea of what ages are capable of what tasks.  I typically shy away from this question because children are so very different; however, I decided I would try to put together some sort of list as a guideline, hoping everyone here would fully understand the unique dynamics and circumstances of their individual children.

In addition, this is NOT an exhaustive list.  There is absolutely no way I could manage such a feat.  So, take this list, tweak it for your family’s needs, and let your children begin to demonstrate responsibility by helping around the home!

Oh, and a few very important items of note as you peruse this list:

  • ALWAYS try to include your children in what you are already doing.
  • Give them chances to lead.
  • Respect their personalities and natural abilities while realizing the need to stretch and grow them.
  • Don’t give up!  Teaching responsibility is a worthy goal and something our culture sorely lacks.  Press on, mama!

9 – 12 Months

– help put away toys

-turn off lights, reach for towels, take out plastic dishes and/or cups and silverware for meals with your help, etc (as in you hold them and they reach with your hands guiding all the while)

1 – 2 years old

– help put away toys

– use proper “manners” with please, thank you, excuse me, sorry

– help with Tidy Time (be sure to give specific direction)

– help with bedroom chores like making the bed, putting dirty clothes in hamper, putting socks in drawers

– wipe down furniture with a rag

– help clean up their own messes (if they spill a glass of water, they can help by getting a towel and doing their best to wipe it up)

– simple errands like putting a diaper in the trash or picking up a toy for baby

2 – 3 years old

– drag laundry baskets to laundry area

– help sort laundry

– take their own dishes to the sink after meals

– wipe down chairs for Table Chores

– help with more complicated and specific errands (like being able to tell them to put a certain dish away in a certain cupboard without actually having to stand over them)

– guided help with putting away their own laundry

– help load cart and unload cart at grocery store and help bring in groceries from van at home

– begin helping with outside chores so they can see how things work (essential if you are on a farm)

3 – 4 years old

– continue to expand chores listed above

– learn to make bed (this is the very reason we do not use top sheets – too difficult for little hands)

– learn to follow morning chore list

– begin establishing regular chores like putting away outside toys before Daddy mows or dusting living room blinds with a static duster

– learn to get their own drinks

4 – 5 years old

– learn how to dust

– learn how to vacuum

– learn how to set the table

– learn where things are kept so he/she can dependably do “big” errands for Mommy & Daddy like getting trash bags or Spot Shot and junk towels

– learn to fold towels and put them away

– help with meal prep

– learn to water plants

5 – 6 years old

– make bed without help

– begin to help younger siblings with tasks

– be responsible for going-out items like the diaper bag or Bible bag

– begin doing cleaning chores and errands they learned previously without supervision

– learn to fold all laundry items and put in proper places (ie laundry baskets or drawers or shelves)

– help with more complicated meal prep

– learn to wash dishes

– begin doing more serious outside work

– begin recognizing how they can be of help without being asked

6 – 7 years old

– wash dishes or unload dishwashwer unsupervised.

– begin learning how to prepare simple meals and snacks

– begin learning how to do laundry from start to finish

– have inside and outside chores that are theirs to complete without supervision

8 – 10 years old

– complete responsibility for their domain (bedroom, specific chores, etc)

– unsupervised yard work

– begin being responsible for one meal a week and learn more complex meals

– tackle difficult cleaning and organizing projects

– begin contributing to the family’s “think tank” by being a part of certain family decisions, financial planning, and logistics and brainstorming

– begin taking on paying jobs (whether outside or inside the home)

– begin learning “adult” tasks and chores like vehicle maintenance, handy-man jobs, and the creating of schedules and routines

There is an economy of the household.  There is work to be done and children must be a part of this work.  However, they also must see you working hard too.  They must feel like they are part of something bigger and their part matters.

I know I have inadvertently left things off this list and I know I don’t always get this list right, but I keep trying.  I keep training.  I keep raising arrows that I pray will one day be sharpened and ready to be responsible for their own households.


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24 Comments on Age Appropriate Chore List

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24 thoughts on “Age Appropriate Chore List

  1. Having 3 toddles (4 and under) I encourage those little hands to be mama’s help. Lets face it,even a diaper in a hamper is a “big” help when you a busy :-)

    Love this list, it’s amazing how much little one can do, even when “very” little :-)

  2. Great List! My 19 month old says, “thank you”, he wipes up his spills, throws pieces of trash away for me, helps me pick up his toys and tidy the room and LOVES to help me cook dinner! Seems like he fits right into your 1-2 year category. Thanks for posting!

  3. How encouraging that my 1.5 yo is actually doing “chores”. lol I had no idea! What’s awesome is the big kids requiring her to say/sign please, thank you, whatever before giving her anything. I love that they help me train her right.
    I keep all my dishes in the bottom cabinets so the littles can empty the dishwasher. They are able to put away dishes correctly starting at 2 yo.
    I also have a stepstool in the laundry room and stickers on the control panel of the washer/dryer, so they learn how to do laundry when they’re young.
    SO much better to learn this stuff when it’s actually fun; rather than as a teen (or worse yet- an adult) like I did. It’s no fun then!
    I feel sorry for those kids who don’t have any chores. The transition to adulthood is going to be miserable for them!

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I have 4 children ages 4 and under, and I really need some help around here, no matter how small! I have been wanting some direction about how to assign more tasks to my preschoolers, so this is an answer to prayer!

  5. You mention in making beds that you don’t use top sheets. Just blankets? how often do you wash them? And do you have a large washer that will do it? I’ve tried it, but seems I’m always running to the laundromat to wash them in the commercial sized washers. Any ideas? Love the chore ideas – thank you for posting that.

    • Our summer blankets are fairly thin and our winter blankets are personal sized so they fit in the washer nicely. I wash bedding every other week (unless otherwise needed). And yes, I have a large capacity washer. :)

  6. This is an answer to my prayers, and an encouragement because I was doing most of this anyway. My son is 2 and some and I had just been having a difficult time with routines. this came just in time thank you!

  7. My Dad sent me a page from his local paper a few years back on chores for kids. It was a chart of sorts. It was so great. They divided it by age and each age built on previous chores and added a few.

    So, at 2 – 3 it was wipe furniture with a dry cloth while Mom cleans the furniture, put pillows on their bed and help straighten the blanket, pick up books and put in bookshelf.

    Then it would move up to wipe wood furniture with cleaning stuff while Mom swept the floor nearby, pull up the sheets and help straighten them/or strip the bed, pick up books after use and put toys in toy box.

    Each time they built on the job and they added new ones that were age appropriate. I have hung it on my fridge everytime we move. When I have one of those moments that I can’t think of a chore for a child that needs to add to it or develop a better grasp of the chore, I just refer to it.

  8. You mentioned that your kids have personal-sized blankets on their beds. We do the same no flat sheet thing around here. I figure if it works for cribs, it works for bunk beds. 😉
    Would you mind telling me the measurements of your kids’ blankets? Pretty please!

  9. This was fun and encouraging to read! My littles are 5 and under, I don’t often have time to visit your site but made time this evening. It’s encouraging to see that I’ve got my boys doing pretty much everything you have listed for their ages. I was hoping to find some new things to add to the list but I suppose, after all, they are just small children and I can’t yet expect them to tidy the entire house….not yet anyways. :)

  10. I came across your blog while researching diastasis recti rehabilitation. I got the back brace you recommended and it’s great. I love your blog. I only have two children, but I think I’ll start getting my 2 year old more involved with tidying up the house. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

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  13. Thank you for this list. I have four kids of my own (10, 7, 4, 2), and have struggled with assigning chores. This list makes me feel better about what is appropriate to assign them…even my 2 year old princess!

  14. My 3 year old does a great job of putting the canned goods on the bottom pantry shelf after we grocery shop. I have had to give up organization by veggie type, but he lines the cans neatly enough to please me. He also puts his snacks on the correct shelf.

  15. I’m so glad to see you’re not selling kids short in this list! They can be so capable. My son has always had an interest in cooking and baking and was starting to prepare meals on his own when he was six :) Now my two kids each make supper twice a week – they love making their favourites!
    ~ Kimberly