In a busy household, it often needs to be all hands on deck. And yes, that includes the little hands too! Age-appropriate chores for kids allow your children the opportunity to contribute to the household while developing a work ethic and life skills that will serve them for decades to come.
That being said, it can be hard to know what chores are right for children. You need to take into account your child’s age, skill set, and temperament when dolling out assignments—every child is different!
But I’ve put together a list of practical ideas and a list of chores to help you get started. Plus, I also have a free chore chart that you can download to get organized.
Why Chores for Kids are a Great Idea
Now that school is out, we moms are faced with a dilemma: how do we keep the kids busy this summer?
While summer camp and fun activities are great, it’s good for kids to have free time to use their imaginations too. Of course, you do sometimes get whining kids who are “bored.”
In my house, my kids know that if Mom hears “I’m bored!” they will quickly find themselves with something to do that almost always involves chores.
Because I firmly believe that all kids should do chores. Even toddlers can help with simple tasks.
Doing chores helps teach kids responsibility.
They learn a work ethic – by working hard, you are rewarded. And by helping out, kids are taking ownership of their role as a member of the family.
Together, we keep our household running. It’s not solely on Mom or Dad’s shoulders. We all eat, sleep, play, and work, from young children to teenagers and everyone in between.
That’s the other thing I love about teaching kids to do chores – you’ll share many special moments as you work together!
Today, I’ll share a few practical ideas for getting kids to do chores and what my own kids do in hopes of encouraging you to get yours more involved around the house.
I do a couple of different things to organize the chores for the kids in our house. There are daily chores, zone chores, laundry, and cleaning.
Daily Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids
Each of my kids has their own chores they do every day.
Toddlers and Young Children
Yes, even children as young as 2 and 3 can help pitch in around the house. While it won’t be as effective and “helpful” as you may want, it’s building the foundation for years to come.
At four years old, my son Luke’s daily chores were quite varied. Here are a few chore ideas that are perfect for ages 2-5:
- Making the bed
- Picking up their room
- Picking up toys
- Feeding the dog
- Clearing and wiping off the table after meals
- Assisting with simple meal prep, such as stirring batter or adding ingredients to a bowl (with close adult supervision)
- Wiping up spills with a damp cloth
- Sorting laundry into piles (lights and darks, for example) with guidance
- Dusting low surfaces, such as coffee tables or shelves within reach
- Throwing away trash or recycling items in a designated bin
Chores for Elementary-Aged Kids
As kids get older, their skills and abilities increase, and so does their chore list! At ages six and eight, my children Joshua and Emily’s daily chores included:
- Making the bed
- Cleaning up their rooms
- Giving water to the animals in our care – our dog, rabbits, and chickens
- Sweeping the kitchen and dining room after meals
- Clearing and wiping off the kitchen counters after cooking
- Assisting with meal prep, such as measuring ingredients or mixing batter
- Loading and unloading the dishwasher (with supervision)
- Dusting surfaces throughout the house
- Watering plants both indoors and outdoors
- Taking out the trash and recycling
- Helping with yard work, such as raking leaves or pulling weeds
- Putting away clean laundry – in fact, I think every kid should help with laundry (here’s why!)
Chores for Teens and Tweens
By the time your children reach their teenage years, they should be able to take on more responsibility. My son Nathan was doing many of these chores by age 12, including:
- Making their own bed (and making sure it looks nice!)
- Vacuuming or mopping floors throughout the house
- Cleaning bathrooms, including cleaning the shower
- Doing laundry from start to finish
- Washing dishes – I recommend grabbing non-scratch scouring pads to keep your pans looking great
- Taking out trash and recycling
- Meal preparation and cooking meals (with supervision)
- Doing yard work such as mowing the lawn or trimming hedges
- Running errands, such as going to the store for groceries or picking up a prescription
- Caring for pets – from feeding them to taking them on walks
- Clean the bathroom
- Cleaning the microwave – this is the EASIEST way to do it!
I use zone chores in conjunction with my chore sticks system, and it works fantastic!
Beyond the daily individual chores, there are other areas in the house that need to be picked up every day. I started our “Zone Chores” chore chart for kids about a year ago, and it’s worked out really well.
The idea is to split up areas of the house into zones.
Each child is assigned one zone that they are responsible for every day for a week. Every week, the zones are rotated, and everyone has a new zone.
This system works really well because the kids all take turns, and no one gets frustrated with doing the same thing day after day.
Another helpful advantage is that you can adjust the zones anytime you need to.
There are three “zones” in our house:
- Zone 1 is our living room – this includes picking up the floor, couch, the family computer desk area, windowsills, and the TV stand.
- Zone 2 is downstairs – this includes our entryway, the guest bathroom, the outside porch, and the basement stairs.
- Zone 3 is upstairs – this includes the stairs, hallway, and kids’ bathroom.
Here’s our Zone Chores Chart that we hang on our family command center where everyone can see it:
We rotate the zones among Nathan, Emily, and Joshua (Luke isn’t quite old enough to be responsible for a zone himself). They each get one zone for one week, then I switch them around.
Free Downloadable Zone Chore Chart
You’re going to love how simple and effective this chore chart for kids is!
Right-click and save the image below to download your free printable Zone Chore Chart for kids.
Note: No, my handwriting is not that neat. I added our zone chore info text using PicMonkey. You can do the same by uploading the file. Have fun!
Other Chores Kids Can Do
Here are a few other ideas for ways kids of all ages can help around the house.
Nathan and Emily do their own laundry completely independently.
About a year ago, I was sick of the kids throwing clean or barely worn clothes into the dirty clothes basket because they were too lazy to put them away. So I taught them how to do their own laundry.
Hot tip: I enthusiastically called it a super cool “privilege” to run the washing machine and dryer, and they were very excited at first. Now, the novelty has worn off, but they still do it every week!
While Josh and Luke aren’t old enough to do it completely by themselves, they help me bring the laundry basket downstairs and load clothes into the washer and dryer.
My younger boys help with dusting, cleaning windows, and wiping off bathroom counters while Nathan and Emily vacuum the carpet around the house and clean the bathrooms.
I usually do the rest of the cleaning, though I occasionally enlist a helper or two if I’m super busy.
I even enlisted my son to clean our microfiber couch after he used it as a scribbling pad with pens. Thankfully, all the stains came out!
To keep things easy, I have used this all-purpose essential oil cleaner for years. It’s all-natural, so I feel confident in letting my teens and older kids use it on their own.
I have one new chore for Nathan and Emily that they’ve started the last two weeks. Believe it or not, they actually argue over who gets to do it!
What is this magical chore, you ask?
It’s mopping the floor with our awesome O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket System.
I have literally used this mop for EIGHT YEARS. It is simply the best one out there! Just swap out the mop heads when they get gross, then keep on cleaning!
Seriously, if you want an effective fast way to clean your floors, get one of these mops. And it’s so easy, even (older) kids can do it.
Emily can fill up the bucket to the easy-to-see fill line and mop all by herself. And she loves it.
The other day, she surprised me by mopping all my wood and linoleum floors with the O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket System all by herself. She did a great job!
Kids of any age can and should do chores. Get them involved and watch them be proud of the work they did. It’s a great thing for your entire family!