Kids are messy. It is nearly impossible to keep a house clean when children are in it. Parents spend all of nap time cleaning, and when their kids wake up, BOOM, messy.
Chores are good for kids because they improve self-esteem, help children become good team players, give children independence, and kids just like to help out. It is especially important to start young, it gives kids good habits to depend on later in life. This blog will give a general layout of chores that your child can do and at which age to start. This is very general and you know your child best, so it may be different for your kid.
There are some general guidelines to follow to help you. Make sure to give detailed instructions, don’t say “clean the kitchen”. It is better to say, “Wipe down the kitchen counters, load the dishwasher, and sweep the kitchen floor”.
Around two years is when most kids can start helping with chores. At this point it is better to start small and simple. Usually toddlers cannot do chores with more than one or two steps. Kids in this age group can help pick up toys, help you make the bed, and do some small things in the kitchen.
Many parents will realize that they can get things done 10 times faster if they just do it themselves. It is probably best to start with chores when you are not in a hurry. Also, if you want to make chores a lifelong habit, it is good to praise your child for helping.
At this age kids can start doing a little more, but will still need you to keep an eye on them while they do their chores.
They can start getting themselves dressed, making their own bed, helping you carry things to and from the car, help with laundry (like folding towels or matching socks), setting the table, and helping even more in the kitchen. If you have a family pet, you can let your child start taking some responsibility for the pet. Maybe feeding or watering the pet, brushing it, or helping you with walking or cleaning a cage.
It is important not to expect your children to be perfect. You may start having a list of one or two chores that your child can do each day. Make sure they follow through consistently or they might stop doing them in the hopes you won’t notice.
Kids at this age can start to do some chores with less supervision.
In addition to everything listed before, they can brush their teeth and hair, set the table, put away silverware from the dishwasher, put their dirty clothes into a hamper and take to the laundry room, help with folding clothes, put away clothes, dusting, wiping off counters in kitchen and bathrooms, and helping with some outside chores. They can also start writing thank-you notes with minimal supervision at this age.
Once again, this is a very wide ranging age and skill group. Some 8-10 year olds are more mature and focused than others. You are the best judge of what your child is capable of. But most kids this age can start becoming independent in their morning routines, even waking themselves up with an alarm clock. They are more responsible, so they can take responsibility for their own belongings and even homework.
They may be able to start completing more difficult tasks in the kitchen. They can do dishes, slice and dice vegetables, use a mixer, put away leftovers, and other things that may be helpful to you.
They can clean the bathroom including toilet, bath, and floor with light supervision. They can help with vacuuming, watering plants, mopping, and more.
Many parents wonder if they should give their kids allowance for doing chores. Most parenting experts say no. Chores are important for kids to learn responsibility and to pitch into helping the household. Experts say that kids should not be paid for chores they should be doing anyway. There is one exception, older children may want to do extra chores for an allowance. That is okay as long as the money is tied to what’s extra, not the chores they normally do.
How do you make sure your kids do chores without allowance? You can take away privileges, like screen time, car keys, or spending time with friends. You can also focus on using “after-then” phrasing. After you feed the cat, then you can have dessert.
When can kids start doing chores?
If you are wondering about what chores your child is capable of doing, try some of our suggestions.