Many parents and caregivers wonder whether it’s a good idea for their children to do chores. While it’s important to assign tasks that are age appropriate, giving kids chores to do can help build essential skills. Let’s take a closer look at how doing chores is ultimately good for kids.

Is It a Good Idea for Kids to Do Chores?

A mother and young son cooking together in the kitchen.

Image by Brooke Lark is licensed with Unsplash License

Let’s cut right to the chase — having your children do chores is a great idea. Getting the kiddos involved in household tasks comes with many benefits that go far beyond tidy rooms. Kids learn responsibility and how to help out when they do chores. Chores are often essential daily life tasks, so you’re giving your kids skills they’ll need as an adult to take care of themselves, their home, and their own family by teaching them how to do chores.

Children who do chores learn from an early age that things don’t simply come to them; instead, they have to work for what they need and want. This sense of responsibility translates to all areas of life. Doing chores contributes to a child’s academic success as they move through school because they build a work ethic and sense of responsibility that they can apply to classroom tasks and studying.

Finally, doing chores can help your kids feel like they’re part of a team. Everyone is part of the family unit and contributes to meeting the family’s needs. Chores can show that.

How and When Should Your Kids Do Chores?

The approach to doing chores matters, too. Instead of giving kids chores just for the sake of doing them, assign tasks that work for your household’s efficient operation and your kids’ own needs. When assigned wisely, children can start doing chores as young as toddler age. Giving toddlers basic tasks like putting things away and helping to clean up builds confidence and self-esteem and lays the foundation for taking care of chores responsibly in the future.

How Can You Find Age-Appropriate Chores?

Kids as young as two years old can begin learning with chores. Chores can even help your child reach their next milestone. Of course, kids won’t know how to do their chores immediately, so make time for guidance when you set new tasks. Here are some chores that are appropriate for different ages.

2-3 years:

  • Following simple instructions: Get your toddler involved with simple household tasks by asking them to follow directions like “throw it in the garbage” or copy you as you do chores. Let your child be present when you do housework, even letting them follow along with a small broom.
  • Putting away toys: You can make putting toys away into a game by challenging your child to put their toys in the bin faster than you or singing a “clean up” song used in your child’s daycare or preschool. Pitching in with cleaning might involve tasks like walking across the room while holding a toy, which can help build gross motor skills while also allowing your child to identify where items belong.
  • Sorting clothes by color: Putting clothing together by color builds your kid’s sensory development. Start by focusing on one color at a time.

3-4 years:

  • Closing what they open: Remind your kid to put the top back on when they’re done with containers at playtime. Your child can practice opening and closing containers and sorting whenever they play. Use storage containers or small jars for toys, craft supplies, and crayons.
  • Setting the table: Let your child follow you around the table, giving instructions like “put the forks on top of the napkins” or “put the water into the glass.” Not only does this build skills with the chores themselves, but it also teaches the concepts of placement such as under, on, and in.
  • Taking turns with tasks: Invite your kid to do a chore with their friend or sibling. For example, you can have each child take turns as they put toys away one at a time into a storage bin.

4-5 years:

  • Cutting food: With safe tools, children can start cutting food around 4 or 5 years old. You can build on this by also asking your child to mash, cut, and pour food as you prepare recipes, such as mashing the potatoes for your dinner side dish.
  • Following self-care routines: Let your child take charge of getting ready in the morning and evening by using a visual checklist. Your child will develop routines for going to the bathroom, brushing their teeth, putting on pajamas, and getting ready for bed while they also build skills for understanding time.

5-6 years:

  • Completing daily tasks: Give your child more independent but still supervised chores. For instance, your child can water plants or feed the dog while you supervise at this age.
  • Taking care of snack time: Your child is now old enough to get their own snacks from the refrigerator or pantry. They can also be in charge of getting the right plates or silverware and cleaning up on their own.

As your children reach school age and beyond, they can continue to do chores with less supervision. Children ages 6 to 11 might be assigned to:

  • Cleaning the bathroom sink.
  • Feeding pets.
  • Hanging clothes and folding laundry.
  • Helping to choose meals and shop for food.
  • Helping to prepare and serve meals.
  • Putting away cutlery and plates.
  • Sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming floors.
  • Taking out the trash.
  • Watering indoor plants or outdoor gardens.
  • Wiping down tables and chairs in the kitchen.

Teenagers can also continue doing chores they did when they were young, but be responsible for doing tasks on their own. Teenagers might also have more difficult household tasks, such as doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or preparing meals. When you’re selecting chores for older kids and teenagers, think about the skills you’d like them to develop.

Crème de la Crème just gave you some suggestions on how to give kids age-appropriate chores. Done right, chores can build essential life skills and teach responsibility. Do you have any tips and tricks for motivating your own kids to do chores? Drop us a line so we can share more ideas with our community.