Many parents make the mistake of waiting until a child is in their teens to implement chores, at which point teens may see chores as a horrible punishment that they should resist. Starting at an earlier age helps to build a work ethic and create independent children, but it can be challenging to find the right tasks for the right age. Here are a few basic guidelines for implementing age appropriate chores.
Ages 2 to 3
This age is all about introducing your children to chores by getting them to help you and having them do non-essential tasks that are not dangerous. Things like throwing dirty clothes in the hamper, picking up toys to put them in a bin, putting books back in the bookshelf, or placing napkins on the table are all good options.
Ages 4 to 5
At this age, children can start to take on some actual responsibility. You should still have them stick to low level things like making their bed, feeding pets, watering houseplants, putting away dishes, or wiping down the table after meals. You can start introducing cooking concepts with safe objects like using a butter knife to spread jam on toast.
Ages 6 to 7
Around this age children are normally ready for more traditional household chores. They can do things like put away laundry, sweep floors, take out trash, empty dishwashers, and rake leaves. It is also a good idea to start having them organize and tidy their room regularly.
Ages 8 to 9
This age is the time to start encouraging more responsibility. Children should be able to do most basic chores for themselves, including vacuuming bedrooms, cleaning their room, and walking pets. They can also learn to use the stove and oven and follow recipes for basic things like scrambled eggs, pasta, or cookies.
Ages 10 to 11
At this age, encourage children to learn more detailed parts of housework. This can include things like cleaning toilets, scrubbing showers, washing windows, and doing complete loads of laundry.
Ages 12 and Up
Almost all chores are age appropriate once children are in their preteens and teens. Important tasks to teach them include grocery shopping, babysitting, lawn care, and making complete meals.
Implementing these chores will not only help your household run more smoothly, but it will instill a sense of responsibility in your children.