At What Age Should Kids Start Doing Household Chores
Children who have household chores perform better in their adult life, according to scientists. These chores can even improve kids’ mental health since they get to be involved and feel important. However, each chore should be introduced at a particular age and shouldn’t be used as a means for parents to get some work off their plate. Instead, these chores should be used as a way to teach kids valuable life lessons.
We at Bright Side support healthy parenting and want to share some age-appropriate chores and their benefits with you.
2-5 years: learning sequences and order
For toddlers, chores should help them to develop new skills and show them that every task has a beginning, middle, and end — you put on clothes, you wear clothes, and then you put the clothes into a laundry basket. The easiest domestic tasks will teach them how to break bigger projects down into smaller steps in the future.
Note: chores in each new age group include chores from all previous age groups.
- Suggested chores: cleaning up toys and books, putting laundry into a hamper, making their beds, and cleaning plates after eating
6-7 years: learning to help and taking part in teamwork
At this age, kids are able to pitch in more around the house. This is a good time to instill the importance of teamwork and helping others out: kids can assist you with cooking, setting the table, making grocery lists, and bringing in needed items from the store. And taking care of a family pet not only teaches them to help but it’s also fun! Overall, the child will feel involved and will have a chance to bond better with family members.
- Suggested chores: helping with meal preparation, helping with grocery shopping, setting the table, feeding pets, and watering plants
8-9 years: understanding that everything has its place
As kids grow older, they can take on more responsibility for themselves, like managing their stuff, for instance. There’s a system around them where everything has its own designated place. They should organize their living space so that every gadget, school supply, toy, and piece of clothing goes in its place. This way, the child learns to be consistent and how to keep their living space neat.
- Suggested chores: organizing their things, folding and putting away laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and putting away cutlery and crockery
10-11 years: becoming more self-reliant
Now it’s time to put on big kid pants and get ready for bigger tasks! At this point, time-sensitive chores can be introduced, like packing lunch or preparing breakfast before school. Complex, multi-stage chores like making breakfast encourage kids to plan ahead and figure out the needed steps to complete a task. This will help children with their time-management and problem-solving skills.
- Suggested chores: making breakfast, packing lunch for school, emptying trash cans, taking out the trash, dusting, vacuuming, and getting the mail
12-15 years: learning to set up priorities
For teens, chores can help to build positive self-esteem if they feel capable and trusted — or in other words, treated as adults. So, introducing new age-appropriate chores can do wonders for a teen’s motivation. It’s important to teach them self-discipline and how to set priorities, so providing them with flexibility and freedom around chores may be a good idea.
- Suggested chores: car washing, laundry, yard work, cleaning, mowing the lawn, changing their sheets, ironing, sewing buttons, and washing windows
16+ years: preparing for adult life
When kids come into adolescence, they already are rather competent and self-sufficient, so their chores include everything a normal adult should be able to do. They involve substantive money management and dealing with emergency situations. However, while all these skills will definitely help teens to fare better later in life, it doesn’t mean you should dump all the chores onto your child. They’re only humans, after all.
- Suggested chores: shopping, cooking meals, car maintenance, groceries, changing light bulbs, deep cleaning of household appliances (like defrosting the freezer), etc.
How do you share responsibilities in your household?