Teaching kids how to do household chores is an important way to teach them about responsibility and the satisfaction that comes from a job well done. Different ages have different abilities and maturity levels, so it's important to tailor their chore list accordingly. This blog post will discuss the importance of getting your children to help with chores and give examples of chore lists for kids by age.
How to know your child is ready for doing chores
The first step is to know when your child is ready for chores. This can vary from family to family, but there are some general guidelines you can follow. For example, most kids can start doing simple tasks like putting away their toys or setting the table by ages 3 or 4. As they get older, they can take on more challenging chores like vacuuming or doing the dishes.
It's important to remember that these are just guidelines — some kids may be ready for more challenging tasks at a younger age, while others may need to wait a little longer. What can help says, Sue Atkins, Family Parenting Expert and author of Parenting Made Easy, “is empowering them and resisting the urge to rescue them so they can stand on their own two feet and be independent. The best way to do this is to set chores is to do it in an incremental way, Start with small, simple chores and gradually increase the difficulty and complexity so kids can learn new skills and develop a sense of responsibility.”
As parents, it's our job to assess our child's abilities and help them learn how to do chores in a way that's appropriate for them.
The benefits and importance of chores
Having to do chores helps children in a variety of ways. On one level chores show kids what they need to do as part of a household and what they have to do to look after themselves. On another level chores teach your child the life skills that they will need in their adult life. Alongside this, giving your child a chance to earn pocket money by doing chores shows them the power of earning through hard work.
“If kids aren’t given any opportunity to earn money via chores, but are just given money when they ask, they are losing an opportunity to practise financial decision-making skills and develop the habits that will inform their future financial capability.”
Beth Zemble, VP for Education, GoHenry
Age-appropriate chore lists: Chores by age
Chores for 5 year olds:
The great thing about 5 year olds is that they are eager to help and mimic what you do. It’s why many of them love to help clear up at school. Use this eagerness to your advantage with a selection of chores for 5 year olds that give them a sense of pride and also teach them new skills.
- Tidying their toys away at the end of the day
- Hanging clothes out on clothes horses
- Folding clothes
- Putting groceries in the shopping basket
- Setting the table for dinner
Chores for ages 6-7:
Doing chores between the ages of 6 and 7 is good for children, as it helps them learn about responsibility and also makes them feel happy to know that they've done something useful. Teaching young children how to do chores can be a difficult task for some parents, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Below is a brief chore list for kids aged between 6 and 7 years old:
- Making the bed
- Tidying their bedroom
- Putting clothes away
- Putting out clothes for the next day
For more ideas on age-appropriate chores for children aged 6-7, you can read our list of chores for 6 - 7 year olds.
Chores for ages 8-9:
It is important for children aged 8 and 9 to learn how to do chores as it helps them develop a sense of responsibility. It also helps them to develop skills such as organisation, motor skills (including fine motor skills) and hand-eye coordination. Plus, it benefits their physical health by encouraging them to move.
Here is an age-appropriate chore list for kids aged 8 and 9:
- Putting clothes away
- Help with meals
- Loading and unloading the dishwasher
- Washing and drying dishes
For more inspiration on age-appropriate chores for children aged 8 and 9, you can read our complete list of chores for ages 8-9-year-olds.
Chores for ages 10-12:
At this age, children are usually able to take on more challenging chores. They can also start helping with meal preparation and other household tasks. This is a great time to start teaching them how to manage their time and schedules.
It's important to continue to give them age-appropriate chores that are developmentally appropriate for them. So, here is a chore list for kids aged 10 and 12:
- Clean up after dinner
- Putting away laundry
- Helping younger siblings
- Taking out the rubbish
For more ideas on age-appropriate chores for children aged ten to twelve, you can read our list of chores for 10 to 12-year-olds.
Chores for teens:
Teens are usually able to do most household chores with minimal supervision. They might also be ready to start babysitting or pet-sitting at this age. Teenage years are a crucial time to teach the importance of independence and responsibility. This will ensure that your kids are well-prepared for adulthood and will be able to look after themselves when they leave home.
Here are 5 age-appropriate chores for teens:
- Mopping floors
- Taking out the rubbish and recycling
For more inspiration on age-appropriate chores for teens, you can read the best chores for teens.
How many chores should a child have
When deciding how many chores your child should do you should factor in your child's age, their ability to follow instructions, what chores elder siblings have, and how much time your child has for chores (if they are revising or have a part time job this needs to be reflected in their chore quota).. With this in mind it’s better to start them with one specific chore a day - for example, reading, homework or making their bed, and add in extras as you see fit.
Chore charts by age & rotas
Charts and rotas are an excellent way for you and your child to navigate the world of chores. A chore rota is great if you have a few kids doing chores and everyone knows that they have to do their fair share of work, and take turns at the lesser liked chores. Chore charts are great motivating tool for younger kids as they help keep them on track and motivated especially if there is a reward of some sort attached to the chart, like stickers or pocket money. For teens, a chore chart can encourage them to take on more responsibility and feel more independent (and helps avoid constant parental nagging).
Related: Free printable chore chart
How to reward kids and teens for doing chores
Now that you have examples of a chore list for kids by age, you may be wondering how you can best reward your children or teenagers for completing their chores.
It's important to reward kids and teens for their hard work when they do chores around the house. This will help them feel appreciated and motivated to continue doing their chores. There are a few different ways you can reward your child or teen for doing household tasks:
- Give them verbal praise: let them know how proud you are of their hard work
- Give them a physical reward: this could be a toy, book, or outing they've been wanting
- Let them do something they enjoy: watching TV, playing video games, or going out with friends
- Help them save money: give them pocket money for doing their chores, or put the money they earn towards a larger goal, such as a trip or new toy
Showing your children that you appreciate the work they do will help them want to continue doing their chores.
Need more chore ideas?
If you are still short of ideas don’t be afraid to ask your kids what they would like to be responsible for as this helps with motivation and independence. Also visit our articles on chores for around the house, chores that are great to do in the summer and our list of chores that green-fingered kids can do in the garden.
How can GoHenry help with rewarding kids for doing chores?
GoHenry is a prepaid debit card for kids with a companion app that makes it easy for parents to give their children pocket money for doing chores. With GoHenry, parents can quickly and easily set up tasks and pay their child's pocket money when they are marked complete. This helps children learn responsibility and the value of work.