What Chores Should Kids Have?

Medically Reviewed on 6/25/2021

For kids of all ages, performing chores is vital to building self-confidence, teaching them important life skills and helping them feel that they belong. You should give your child chores that are age appropriate and that will help them build confidence and self esteem.
For kids of all ages, performing chores is vital to building self-confidence, teaching them important life skills and helping them feel that they belong. You should give your child chores that are age appropriate and that will help them build confidence and self esteem.

For kids of all ages, performing chores is vital to building self-confidence, teaching them important life skills and helping them feel that they belong. Below is a chart that may help parents assign chores to their kids according to their age:

  Age            Learning Goals        Examples and ideas       
 Two to five years old  Sequencing  Put laundry in hamper, clean up toys and put plates in sink 
 Six to seven years old   Importance of helping   Set the table, feed the pet, water the plants and help during dinner preparation 
 Eight to nine years old  Management  Management of clothes, manage activities, empty dishwasher, fold/put away laundry 
 10 to 11 years old  Independence  Help in food preparation, help in removing trash and clean the bedroom
 12 to 15 years old  Prioritization  Laundry, washing car and yard cleaning
 16+ years  Preparation for next stage of life   Cook meals, car maintenance, iron clothes, sew on buttons

Choose age-appropriate chores that will give kids that sense of pitching in that they benefit from. At all ages, involve your child in choosing their chores instead of assigning them. This will add to the sense of investment and responsibility they feel.

  • Preschoolers do best with chores that involve picking up after themselves such as cleaning up their toys, making their bed, putting their clothes in the hamper and washing their dishes after a meal.
  • In elementary school, these picking-up-after-themselves chores will include putting their lunchbox away when they get home from school and similar tasks. They’ll also become ready for chores that are not just about themselves, like emptying the dishwasher. 
  • In middle school, kids can get a chore list that might include raking the lawn and sweeping the floor.
  • Teens can do their own laundry, cook their own meals and learn more independent life skills through chores.
  • There are so many benefits of chores. From helping with basic chores to doing chores on their own, depending on the age of your kids, you probably know by now that they can assist with chores. 
  • Responsibility is something that every kid needs to learn and chores are just one basic way to help teach a kid this necessary life skill.
  • Kids who do chores are also more self-reliant, which is part of learning to be more disciplined in life. This life skill will help your kids develop an appropriate level of discipline that they can use in other areas of their life.
  • Chores create habits at a time when their minds are still gathering data and this lays the foundation for future success.
  • Chores are one of the easiest ways to help your kids feel like they’re a valuable part of the family.
  • This respect of your elders is an important life lesson and is easily learned through the expectation of having daily chore requirements. Kids who do chores will have more respect for their parents and belongings in the long run. Not only will your kids learn to have respect for their elders and other family members, but they’ll have more self-respect due to the combination of all of these benefits of chores.
  • Kids who feel valuable also have higher self-esteem and tend to get better grades in school. Feeling valued and knowing you can be independent is priceless to a young person as they grow up.
  • One of the benefits of chores is that they increase the sense of belonging to a team, a community and something larger in life. Kids who are expected to do chores tend to feel like they belong within the family and struggle less with negative thoughts.

When started at a young age, chores are a gentle introduction to your child about what it takes to run a home. Your children will feel useful and appreciated when they are given age-appropriate tasks and enjoyable rewards for successfully completing those tasks. You will be able to have the satisfaction that you have taught your kids essential life skills that they will use well into adulthood. As an educational philosophy, it extends beyond school and suggests that household chores are perfect for the sort of goal setting and task mastering that increases self-esteem while simultaneously teaching important life skills.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/25/2021
References
WebMD: "Divide and Conquer Household Chores." https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/chores-for-children#1

Child Development Institute: "The Ultimate List of Age-Appropriate Chores." https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/chores/the-ultimate-list-of-age-appropriate-chores/#gs.2z2b42

Pathways.org: "What Chores Are Right For My Child?" https://pathways.org/chores-right-child/