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Giving Kids Chores That are Right for Their Age

An age-by-age guide to what household tasks your child can do when


Young boy sweeping the deck
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Some parents may assign kids chores that are specific tasks, such as sorting recyclables or sweeping floors. Others may have children help out with whatever needs to be done. As a general rule, younger grade-schoolers need more supervision while older kids can handle multiple household tasks on their own.

Whatever kids' chores you decide to assign to your grade-schooler, try to tailor it to her abilities and what she wants to do. Here's a list of some age-appropriate chores for kids.

Some chores a 5 to 7-year-old can do:

  • Sweep floors
  • Make her bed
  • Clean her room
  • Hang up her towel
  • Feed pets
  • Set the table
  • Help clear the dishes after a meal

Some chores an 8 to 10-year-old can do:

  • Load the dishwasher
  • Put away groceries
  • Make his own breakfast, lunch and snack
  • Do laundry
  • Walk the dog
  • Do yard work
  • Help make dinner

Also try to include your child in bigger tasks, like shopping for groceries. This can be an excellent opportunity to teach him about making healthy food choices (he can help you pick out fresh fruits and vegetables and decide what to make for meals). It can also be a great way to teach him about household budgets -- an especially important topic for families in today’s economy.

Other Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Kids want to help. Take advantage of this natural desire and encourage her excitement about doing kid chores.

  • If he says he's bored, it may be because young children often have a short attention span. He could also be having trouble doing the chore as well as he wants to. Ask him if he’d like to do the chore with you or let him switch off to something else.

  • Get her input on what chores she'd like to try. If it's something too difficult or dangerous for her age, come up with an alternative. She can't chop vegetables, but he can tear lettuce for a salad, for instance.

  • Make chores for kids fun. When we clean our house, we crank up some rock music to get us motivated.

  • Give him lots of praise. At first, your grade-schooler will probably make a mess or not do it right. But rest assured -- he’ll get better with time and practice.

As with so many things in parenting, you’ll get what you put in. By taking the time to help your young child get into the habit of helping out around the house, you'll set a pattern that will benefit you both as he grows up.

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Household Chores and Children

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