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.