The When’s and What’s of Chores

When should my child start doing chores? What chores can they do at what ages? Are questions I am often asked by moms. Every child is different, so you need to base what jobs you give your child by what they can accomplish. You will probably be surprised though, most kids are able to do more than they are ever asked to do. A child as young as 2can be responsible for basics like putting her toys away and putting dirty clothes in the hamper. By age 3 you can add basic hygiene like brushing teeth and hair. At age 4 is when true chore responsibilities can begin.

Most 4-5 year olds can be responsible for picking up their toys/bedroom, making their bed, dressing themselves, brushing teeth, washing face and hands, helping separate the laundry, putting dirty clothes in the hamper and putting clean, folded clothes away in their drawers.

By elementary school you can add feeding pets, doing homework, practicing for music lessons, etc. By age 8-9 children can start doing the laundry, this was my boys’ favorite chore! They can also start doing more pet care at this age. They can help in the kitchen by loading the dishwasher, cleaning the microwave, washing pots and pans by hand, wiping down counters, tables, chairs and cabinet doors as well as sweeping the floor. In the bathroom they can clean the sinks, toilets and bathtub. Taking out the trash, dusting and vacuuming can also be added during the elementary school years.

Once they enter middle school they should be folding clothes and towels, mowing the lawn, learning to cook and iron. One of my goals when having my children do chores is that when they grow up and leave my house I want them to know how to care for themselves, their homes, and their families. Now that my boys are in high school they each have 1 night a week that they plan and cook dinner as well as their other chores. I was blessed to marry a man who knew how to take care of our home and I am determined that when the time comes, my boys will bless their wives with housekeeping skills.