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Everyone’s favorite word – Chores

Everyone’s favorite word – Chores.  Can’t you hear your children moaning and groaning already. I’m exhausted just thinking about getting my kids to do them.  Well good news here are some tips to help you identify what your child should be doing for each age group.  Keep in mind all children mature at different ages and you can modify these ideas depending on their abilities.

What we are actually trying to do is teach our children to be responsible human beings.  I know a scary concept.  Chores can be related to life skills.  Someday they will leave our lovely little nests and hopefully head out into the world to be hard working individuals who pick up after themselves.  If you are anything like me, you also know your children won’t do as good of a job doing the chore as you do.   And sometimes you think I’ll just do it because it will get done right.  Hold strong and teach them the right way to do it.

There are family chores and individual chores recommended by Focus on the Family that your child can learn.  To help motivate your child you can put a reward system in place.  For example, make an individual jar for each child and once the chore is completed they can put in a clothes pin or marble.  Once the jar is full then they can get a small toy at the store.

Here are some age defined chores your children can incorporate into their daily lives.  Not included on this list are seasonal chores kids can do as well (pulling weeds, shoveling snow, etc.)  My personal favorite is “Thank you notes”.  A long forgotten ritual that few people do anymore.

Ages 2 and 3

Personal chores

  • Assist in making their beds
  • Pick up playthings with your supervision

Family chores

  • Take their dirty laundry to the laundry basket
  • Fill a pet's water and food bowls (with supervision)
  • Help a parent clean up spills and dirt
  • Dust

Ages 4 and 5

Note: This age can be trained to use a family chore chart. 

Personal chores

  • Get dressed with minimal parental help
  • Make their bed with minimal parental help
  • Bring their things from the car to the house
  • Pick up their toys
  • Wash hands

Family chores

  • Set the table with supervision
  • Clear the table with supervision
  • Help a parent prepare food
  • Help a parent carry in the lighter groceries
  • Sort colors for the laundry 
  • Match socks after clothing is washed
  • Answer the phone with parental assistance
  • Be responsible for a pet's food and water bowl
  • Dust with supervision
  • Hang up towels in the bathroom
  • Clean their room with supervision
  • Clean floors with a dry mop

Ages 6 and 7

Note: This age can be supervised to use a family chore chart.

Personal chores

  • Make their bed every day
  • Brush teeth
  • Comb hair
  • Choose the day's outfit and get dressed
  • Write thank you notes with supervision

Family chores

  • Be responsible for a pet's food, water and exercise
  • Vacuum individual rooms
  • Wet mop individual rooms
  • Dust individual rooms
  • Fold laundry with supervision
  • Put their laundry in their drawers and closets
  • Put away dishes from the dishwasher
  • Help prepare food with supervision
  • Clean their room when asked
  • Empty indoor trash cans
  • Answer the phone with supervision

Ages 8 to 11

Note: This age benefits from using a family chore chart.

Personal chores

  • Take care of personal hygiene
  • Keep bedroom clean
  • Be responsible for homework
  • Be responsible for belongings
  • Write thank you notes for gifts
  • Wake up using an alarm clock

Family chores

  • Wash dishes
  • Wash the family car with supervision
  • Prepare a few easy meals on their own
  • Clean the bathroom with supervision
  • Rake leaves
  • Learn to use the washer and dryer
  • Put all laundry away with supervision
  • Take the trash can to the curb for pick up
  • Test smoke alarms once a month with supervision
  • Screen phone calls using caller ID and answer when appropriate

Ages 12 and 13

Personal chores

  • Take care of personal hygiene, belongings and homework
  • Write invitations and thank you notes
  • Set their alarm clock
  • Maintain personal items, such as recharging batteries
  • Change bed sheets
  • Keep their rooms tidy and do a biannual deep cleaning

Family chores

  • Change light bulbs
  • Change the vacuum bag
  • Dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms and do dishes
  • Clean mirrors
  • Mow the lawn with supervision
  • Baby sit (in most states)
  • Prepare an occasional family meal

Ages 14 and 15

Personal chores

  • Responsible for all personal chores for ages 12 and 13
  • Responsible for library card and books
  • Family chores
  • Do assigned housework without prompting
  • Do yard work as needed
  • Baby sit
  • Prepare food — from making a grocery list and buying the items (with supervision) to serving a meal — occasionally
  • Wash windows with supervision

Ages 16 to 18

Personal chores

  • Responsible for all personal chores for ages 14 and 15
  • Responsible to earn spending money
  • Responsible for purchasing their own clothes
  • Responsible for maintaining any car they drive (e.g., gas, oil changes, tire pressure, etc.)

Family chores

  • Do housework as needed
  • Do yard work as needed
  • Prepare family meals — from grocery list to serving it — as needed
  • Deep cleaning of household appliances, such as defrosting the freezer, as needed

References:  Focus on the Family - Age appropriate chores

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