Chores for kids: how to teach your kids a healthy work ethic and get the whole family helping with a more cheerful attitude!
Are you sick and tired of the whining when you ask for some help around the house? Does a simple chore take hours to complete? Try my chore system and find out the best chores for kids based on their age and how we motivate them to do their chores cheerfully and willingly!
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids
2-4 years old
Chores for kids at this age is more about the habit of cleaning than the techniques. Although this stage can be exceedingly frustrating (and feel like more work than help) it is WELL WORTH the effort to work on this. You are teaching them now that it is a normal part of family life and that they have an important role to play. It builds self-esteem, helps teach responsibility and creates a good work ethic. Take a look at my list of ideas for simple chores to start with and remember… LOTS of fun and encouragement along the way!
- make their bed
- clear the table
- feed a pet
- wipe the table
- help put laundry in kids’ rooms
- preschoolers are GREAT errand runners and it is great for their cognitive development to follow through on a short list of tasks. Get them to throw a few things in the garbage or put items in someones room. They need more direction but this is the time to start building good cleaning habits!
- sweep the floor (those little handheld brooms are GREAT for this age!)
- set the table
- wash the windows with a damp cloth
5-7 years old
Chores for kids in this age range is ready for a bit more responsibility. They are ready to start learning HOW to complete the chores and you can really start teaching how to do laundry, fold clothes, wash the toilet, etc. This is a time consuming stage, but remember, once they have it they have it! You would be AMAZED what your child can do and they will feel (although at times perhaps sorry for themselves) like an important and essential member of the household!
- clean their rooms (on a side note, just carte blank telling them to clean their rooms rarely works at this age (have you noticed?) It is incredibly overwhelming. It is much more effective to go in with them, help them break it into a few more manageable projects. Such as picking up all the dirty clothes, putting away the clean, taking out and putting away items that don’t belong, etc.)
- clearing/setting the table
- unloading/loading the dishwasher
- washing smaller dishes
- emptying the garbage/recycling
- washing the windows
- cleaning the bathroom (clearing counters, washing the toilet, floor, etc.
- LAUNDRY! My kids help fold, sort, start and switch loads and match up socks. They are getting better and better at it and it is becoming a HUGE help! Invest the time to teach your kids some laundry skills, you won’t be sorry!
8 and up
After they hit about 8 years old, your kids really can do most chores barring size issues (ie. washing that big pot when they can hardly lift it). Continue to teach new things, these are skills that are going to last them their lifetime! One day they will thank you!
- clean out the van/car
- wash the floors
- clean the bathroom
- clean their rooms (a given)
- pull weeds, use a mower if they are big enough or rake the grass
- wash dishes
Now that you have some ideas, grab your free family chore chart printable by clicking here!
Make sure when you hit print it is set to fit to page!
We laminate this (or put it in a protective sleeve) and use a dry erase marker to check off our chores for the week. I change it up week to week so they don’t get too bored!
I also find that offering some kind of incentive, even if its just family fun night, makes the work go so much smoother.
But I do try not to offer TOO much as the goal here is not to teach my kids that when they do something they can get something out of mom. Rather, I want to instil the value that work is a part of life. I want them to do chores with a cheerful heart.
I crank the music, I do chores along with them, we sing and dance and race each other. One of the best investments I ever made was these great time trackers from Learning Resources. We use them for EVERYTHING from chores to school but it really changed the way chores went in our home and they are relatively inexpensive (plus you get enough for the whole family to race!)
These are my most effective chores for kids based on their age and how we instil them to create a healthy work ethic in our house.