They Can Handle It! 10 Age-Appropriate Chores for Your Kids

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age appropriate chores
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Giving your children chores is not a form of punishment, but an opportunity for them to learn new skills and exert responsibility. But not all chores are made alike. Certain ones contain certain physical requirements, whether that be strength, height, or weight. Others require increasing levels of mental maturity. While giving your children chores is important, tasking them with duties that are outside of their skill set can cause them to become frustrated. But asking them to complete jobs they are capable of can supply them with a sense of purpose while stimulating growth.

Below you will find chores which toddlers (2-3) , preschoolers (4-5), elementary schoolers (6-11), and middle schoolers and above (12+) are capable of completing. Each successive level designated below adds to the chores described in the preceding age categories. One exception would be if you have multiple children of various ages, you can delegate according to their age group with the older kids leaving the easier chores for the younger kids.

Toddler

age appropriate chores for toddlers
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Chores for toddlers reflect their small stature: they should be simple and low to the ground.

  1. Pick up toys
    Whether it be their legos, play-doh, or books, your children should know how to clean up after him or herself
  2. Unload dishwasher
    Toddlers can sort silverware and many dishes, but limit them to unbreakable items such as plastic cups and tupperware to avoid the risk of broken dishes.
  3. Dust
    Dusting is one of the most simple household tasks, you will just have to dust the surfaces that your toddler cannot reach.
  4. Make bed
    Just like picking up after themselves, do not spoil your child by making their bed. Ask them to make their own bed and assist them if necessary.
  5. Put clothes away
    Once you have delivered clean clothes to your child’s room, they can put them away in their dresser drawers or closet.
  6. Place dirty clothes in hamper
    Likewise, your children should place their dirty clothes in a designated hamper and not let them pile up in their rooms.
  7. Wipe up messes
    Whether the mess results from a fun activity or an accidental spill, your child should contribute to returning the space to its previously cleanly state.
  8. Match socks
    Matching socks is not only a chore of which your toddler is capable, but also an educational exercise which tests their knowledge of colors.
  9. Bring plate to sink
    Preventing your kid from becoming lazy or entitled, reinforce other chores by requiring him or her to at least bring his or her plate to the sink.
  10. Restock bathroom
    After providing your child with the supplies, he or she can deliver toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning solutions to your various bathrooms.

Preschooler

age appropriate chores for preschooler
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While preschoolers are still quite small, their mental capacity is growing exponentially at this time, and thus their chores should require a bit more dexterity.

  1. Load dishwasher
    Give your child the responsibility of handling breakable dishes and they will react accordingly (just be prepared for a few broken dishes at the beginning).
  2. Deliver laundry
    While they are too small to fold the laundry, you can ask your preschoolers to deliver piles of laundry to each family member’s room.
  3. Take out trash
    Your child can empty small indoor trash cans, take the bags outside to the larger container, and then replace the trash bags.
  4. Set the table
    Again give your child experience with breakable dishes by asking them to set the table with plates, cups, silverware, and napkins.
  5. Feed pets
    Obviously, this task is only relevant if you have pets.
  6. Carry groceries inside
    When you arrive home from the grocery store, have all-hands-on-deck with the whole family bringing grocery bags into kitchen.
  7. Water plants
    Wielding a can full of water requires both balance and strength.
  8. Wipe baseboards
    Take advantage of your preschooler’s short stature and ask them to wipe down the baseboards, with a dust rag or a sanitized wash cloth.
  9. Help with meal prep
    Your child can help you prepare for meals by getting out the ingredients, open cans, and more.
  10. Simple yard work
    Your kids can assist their dad outside by picking up sticks or pulling weeds.

Elementary

age appropriate chores for elementary schoolers
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As an elementary school student, you should challenge your child with tasks that require an increasing amount of responsibility.

  1. Fold laundry
    Whether it is towels, t-shirts, or pants, give your child the challenge and the opportunity to fold laundry.
  2. Assist in making meal
    A step up from the role of your preschooler, ask your elementary schooler to help you by measuring out ingredients and peeling produce.
  3. Get mail
    This chore will largely depend on whether your mail box is located on your side of the road or not.
  4. Sweep
    A individual of any size can sweep and you can even find a broom that is easier for your child to use.
  5. Vacuum
    Older elementary school students will have the strength and dexterity to handle a vacuum.
  6. Wash the floor
    You can make this chore fun by giving your kids socks to put on their feet and hands; they can slides around until the floor sparkles.
  7. Clear table
    Aside from taking their plate to the sink, your child can put away other items such as salt and pepper, condiments, and food.
  8. Clean the bathroom
    Your child can tidy the bathroom by wiping down the sink, get fresh towels, and disinfecting the handles.
  9. Walk the dog
    Again, this task necessitates your family actually having a dog,
  10. Clean small kitchen appliances
    Toasters and microwaves can quickly get dirty and your elementary schooler is more than capable of cleaning these and other small kitchen appliances.

Middle School and Higher

age appropriate chores for middle schoolers
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Children of middle school age or older are both physically and mentally capable of most household chores, so don’t be afraid to give them a few chores off of your list.

  1. Deep clean bathroom
    Your son or daughter can now give your bathroom a facelift by scrubbing the shower, sanitizing the toilet, and mopping the floor.
  2. Make full meals
    From planning the meal to shopping to making, give your child the responsibility of making an entire meal.
  3. Mow grass
    Start them off on easy, flat stretches of grass to familiarize your children with handling heavy and dangerous machinery.
  4. Hang laundry
    Your child is now tall enough to transfer laundry from the washer to the lines for them to dry.
  5. Trim hedges
    Elevate their yard work skill set by giving your children a chance to trim hedges and other plants.
  6. Shop for groceries
    Give each child a portion of your grocery list and let them find the best deals for each item.
  7. Wash windows
    Armed with some window cleaner and paper towels, your child can make your windows sparkle.
  8. Clean the refrigerator
    Ask your child to remove all the contents from the refrigerator and wipe down the shelves.
  9. Clean the car
    Once your child is big enough, give them the task of cleaning the family car by washing the outside and vacuuming the inside.
  10. Babysit younger siblings
    An older child can provide a second set of eyes to watch on your younger kids.

As always, these chores are suggestions and as the parent, you know what your child can handle. If you sense they are mature enough for a higher-level chore, challenge them. Inversely, if they struggle with clumsiness or responsibility or more, adjust their chores accordingly. Requiring big things from your kids will lead to positive reactions in their lives. By giving your child age-appropriate chores, you will foster maturity in their emotional and mental selves even as their physical bodies grow.

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