An approved list of simple, age-appropriate chores for kids - What Katy Said

An approved list of simple, age-appropriate chores for kids

Inside: Why kids should be given chores and a list of age-appropriate chores to get them started.

I have spent the last few weeks decluttering my home. Before that, I spent the previous 8 years tidying up after my children. It has got to the point now that I need to step up their responsibilities within the house to make sure that a) I am not the only one doing all of the work and b) that I raise children that will be able to look after themselves when they eventually leave home.

Buy me a fish & feed me for a day. Teach me to fish & feed me for a lifetime.

Chinese Proverb

Makes sense, right?

My children aren’t completely lacking in the skills needed as I have always made sure that they put their own dirty washing in the basket (William has done this since he could walk) and they will also clear their plates away after dinner.

But for the most part, they need reminding and rallying to help with the rest of the house.

Their attitude is very much “I didn’t make the mess” but I always remind them that I am forever tidying up the mess that doesn’t belong to me!

I don’t want them to go through life thinking that someone else will take care of their home for them. I want them to have the skills and motivation needed to keep on top of their own washing/housework etc… (something that I have had to learn as an adult as my parents never showed me).

Chores vs responsibilities

There is a difference between helping out around the house and doing jobs that they should be doing as standard. For example, I would expect them to make their own bed, put their own washing in the basket and tidy their rooms.

They are basic responsibilities that they need to know are theirs alone. That doesn’t mean I don’t get them started and help out while they are younger. My 3-year-old will attempt to make his bed each morning but I will go back and straighten it up later on if needed.

I set the example early on so they knew how to do each job well.

However, as time goes on and each child gets older I will expect them to contribute to the running of the house more and more. Nothing taxing, nothing ‘slave-like’ as some might believe, but simply teaching them that houses don’t take care of themselves and that as members of a household they need to help out.

Picking up toys, taking their plates away, wiping up spills – they are jobs that need doing and I’ll be damned if I am going to do it all myself.

Tips for getting started

Don’t aim for perfection – the process is more important than the result at this stage.

– Be consistent – if you are going to start this then you must make sure they are doing it daily. Have a time of day when everyone does a couple of chores and set an example by doing some too.

– Make a chart – list out all of the chores, get them to pick the ones they would like to take on and then list out who is responsible for each item on the list.

– Start off gently – Show them how to do it first, then supervise them having a go and then leave them to it. They need teaching, just as we had to learn – and the sooner the better!

Should you use pocket money as a reward?

It is up to you entirely but I personally don’t think someone should be rewarded for doing something they should be doing anyway. Of course, lay on the praise in the beginning, to let them know they are doing a great job, but praise and a smooth-running home should be the reward.

However, if you have older children who have already learned responsibility then you could introduce pocket money as a reward for going above and beyond their usual chores.

That said, your kids, your rules. Do what works for you and your family.

Age-appropriate chores

I have been trialing this with my kids over the last couple of months and have finally settled on these age bands for each list of chores. If they don’t work for your kids then of course switch them around. There is a printable version of the list further down.

Age 2-3

  • Put toys away
  • Put clothes in the hamper
  • Wipe up any spills
  • Dust
  • Make their bed
  • Wipe cabinets
  • Bring in mail or newspaper

Chores for children ages 4 to 5

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Fill a pet’s food dish
  • Empty wastebaskets (not the main bin)
  • Set and clear table
  • Pull weeds, if you have a garden
  • Use a hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
  • Water flowers
  • Wash plastic dishes at the sink
  • Make a bowl of cereal
  • Match socks
  • Keep bedroom tidy

Chores for children ages 6 to 7

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Sort laundry
  • Wipe bathroom sinks
  • Clean accessible windows
  • Sweep floors/vacuum
  • Help make and pack lunch
  • Help hang laundry
  • Put away laundry
  • Clean the microwave

Chores for children ages 8 to 9

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Load the dishwasher
  • Help put away groceries
  • Help make dinner
  • Make own snacks
  • Wipe table after meals
  • Make own breakfast
  • Cook simple foods, such as toast
  • Mop the floor

Chores for children ages 10 and older.

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Peel vegetables
  • Basic clean of the bathroom
  • Wash the car
  • Cook a simple meal with supervision
  • Do the laundry
  • Basic clean of the kitchen
  • Change their bed sheets
  • Take a pet for a walk
Download your free chores list

How many?

It is important to note that I would never expect a child to do all of these. Mine have to do 2 to 3 chores a day and they get to choose what they do from the lists appropriate to them.

So for example;

– My 3-year-old will dust everywhere, bring in the mail and keep his room tidy.

– My 6-year-old will set and clear the table, vacuum up any crumbs and water the plants.

– My 8-year-old will help unload the dishwasher, help make dinner and for some peculiar reason loves to mop the floors!

Nothing too strenuous but enough that they appreciate what needs to be done around the house. It has made them all more helpful, offering to make breakfast for each other, asking if they can help me hang up the washing and today as I went upstairs to change the bedding they asked if they could do it!

You may feel like your kids won’t get on board but in all honesty, you shouldn’t be doing it all yourself so they don’t get a choice. If you are starting this late then you may well have to resort to bribes like pocket money, but if you start them young I find that they actually want to help out.

Let me know how you get on! Good luck!


  • Reply
    Mary Brice
    April 20, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Wonderful reading for moms. Till the age of 10 or 12 kids learn every thing their parents teach them. Create self believe in child is the biggest strength and parents are creator of this.

    • Reply
      May 9, 2020 at 11:25 am

      100%! Thank you for reading ❤️

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