Chores. They’re tasks we wish our kids would embrace willingly, but to be honest, there’s usually some sort of bribe or reward attached to them in order to see any results.
Assigning household chores to your children and getting them to stick is an early lesson in responsibility and taking pride in a job well done. Why would we want to take that away from them?
Because it’s an uphill battle and just easier to do ourselves, that’s why!
According to a study conducted by the American Institute of CPAs, six out of ten parents pay their children an average allowance of $65 dollars a month. Half of the families surveyed started their kids on chore duty at age eight, with most expecting an accumulated hour of work over the course of a week.
Here are some fun ways to get your kids to embrace chores and some age-appropriate jobs they should be able to tackle. Whether you decide to reward with cash or praise is up to you!
Ages 2 to 3
Little kids like to “help” so instead of assigning tasks to them, you might ask them to help you with simple jobs around the house that won’t overwhelm their still-developing motor skills.
- Picking up toys
- Handing laundry to you to put into the machine
- Filling a pet’s water bowl or watering flowers outdoors
- Helping set the table
Ages 4 to 5
This is a good age to introduce a chart and mix personal with family chores.
- Getting themselves dressed (not really a chore but an acquired skill for sure)
- Make their bed to the best of their ability
- Put their laundry into the hamper
- Put away their toys
- Help sort and fold laundry including matching the socks
- Help unload dishwasher
- Set and help clear the table
Ages 6 to 7
This is where you can make good headway with more detailed chores and really see a sense of accomplishment in your child.
- Get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair
- Feed household pets, brush them
- Put away their own laundry
- Help with meals, help make their school lunches
- Help with yard work and/or gardening
- Help watch younger siblings
- Take out trash
Ages 8 to 11
- Get themselves up for school on time
- Make simple breakfasts and school lunches
- Assorted room cleaning (sinks, counters, vacuum, wash or mop floors)
- Do laundry on their own
- Take increased care of pets
- Help with grocery shopping
- Get own (healthy!) snacks
- Pick up the mail if you have a community mailbox
Ages 12 to 14
- Wash car
- Make a simple family meal
- Clean house
- Cut the grass
- More detailed bathroom cleaning (shower and tub)
I can tell you that a chore chart worked for me when my girls were eager preschoolers that wanted to help. They loved putting a shiny star sticker in the appropriate square after completing a task.
Did those early years of keeping their rooms tidy carry over into their teens? Unfortunately not, but it was fun while it lasted.