Getting kids to do chores is a really common pain point among families!
The subject of household tasks as chores for kids is a difficult one. Difficult for the kids because they would prefer a chore-free world. Difficult for the busy parent because they know that to be successful you need to find the right age-appropriate task, teach the child the skill to do new chores correctly and then follow up afterward to make sure the work is done.
And the truth is, getting kids to help with chores without whining and complaining can be downright tough…
Chores for Kids
The good news is that the whole family benefits when chores are distributed! Kids responsibility is way more important than we originally thought. In fact, current research shows that kids who are assigned chores at home during their childhood have a much happier life.
That is one of the reasons why we have the best list of age-appropriate chores below!
No matter what time of year it might be, a routine can help keep things organized…
Oh my beloved routine!
Part of routine at my house means the children start a new batch of daily household chores.
I think the word itself has such a negative connotation which isn’t fair! I firmly believe that every member of the family contributes to helping run/maintain the household and each of my children have a part in that with daily chores. They need to experience this sense of responsibility as a life lesson while they are young, so I don’t send them out into the world helpless.
Kids Chores By Age
Each school year, chores change for each of my children based on their grade and maturity level. As a mom, you know what your child can or can’t handle.
For instance, younger kids may need you to make the chores fun as they are first learning to create these habits. Older kids can do their own laundry.
And I always have to remind myself, don’t fret if they do a horrible job with a task. Have patience and show them how to do it with a good work ethic. In the long run, this lesson of practical skills is more important to their life than clean bathrooms today.
Lastly, don’t give in when they whine or complain. It is extremely important to keep a positive attitude and set a good example. My children know it is expected of them and I back that up with positive reinforcement. The earlier you start with children chores, the more it just feels normal to participate in family chores the rest of their life.
Here are a few age-appropriate chore ideas for each age group. Keep in mind, you know your child’s ability best…
How many chores should a child have?
The overall goal of age-appropriate chores is to teach kids the responsibility of doing chores regularly and the ability to time manage those chores into their lives in a positive way. Depending on what age you start a child will likely determine how many chores they might do (and how long those chores last).
As a guide for time spent doing chores:
- Younger Kids (2-7) may spend up to 10 minutes a day doing chores.
- Older Kids (8-11) may spend 15 minutes a day doing chores but may have a project or two per week that takes longer like mowing lawn, changing sheets, etc..
- Tweens & Teens may have a longer chore list up to 30 minutes a day with some weekly projects as well.
Age Appropriate Chore List for Kids by Age
Toddler Chores (Ages 2-3)
- Pick Up Toys (show them how)
- Bring plate and cup to the sink after a meal
- Straighten covers on the bed
- Put dirty clothes into the hamper
- Sorting clothes (may need help)
- Transporting clean laundry back to family members rooms
- Wipe up spills
- More toddler chore ideas!
Preschooler Chores (Ages 4-5)
- All Toddler jobs
- Make the bed
- Help put clothes in washing machine/dryer
- Help put clothes away
- Take out recycling
- Load dishes into dishwasher
- Feed animals
- Water flowers
Elementary Kids Chores (Ages 6-8)
- All Preschool & Toddler Jobs
- Set table
- Wash dishes in sink
- Put clean clothes away on own
- Collect garbage around the house
- Get mail
- Rake leaves
- Put away groceries
- Wash car
Older Elementary (Ages 9-11)
- All Toddler, Preschool, & Elementary Jobs
- Help in meal preparation
- Clean toilets
- Clean bathroom sinks, counters, mirrors
- Walk dogs
- Take garbage cans to curb
- Mow lawn
- Clean animal cages
- Shovel snow
- Help make/pack lunch
- Change sheets on bed
Middle School (Ages 12-14)
- All above chores
- Clean showers/tub
- Wash/Dry clothes – using both washing machine and dryer
- Mop floors
- Gardening/Yard work
- Help supervise younger children
High School Kids (Ages 14+)
- All chores for younger age kids listed above
- Literally any chore the household might have…these are important life skills!
- Literally any yard work chore…these are important life skills!
Kids Chore List Planning
I recommend planning your child’s list of simple tasks either weekly or monthly. The last thing you need is the complication of trying to figure out what the kids were supposed to do that day and have to issue specific instructions.
One thing that I recently learned was that kids are better off with the same task over time because it allows them to really learn the new skill needed for that chore, do it in a more efficient way and learn the valuable lessons associated with mastery.
Regardless, encouraging your children to help out around the house in these ways make them a valuable, contributing member of the family. Think of the self-worth & pride you are instilling in them.
Chores for kids doesn’t have to be so difficult.
You’ve got this.
Chore List for Kids (Printable Charts)
Kids need a little motivation?
We found a few fun chore charts that may be of help as a reward system to recognize good behavior and celebrate a clean house!
- Here is a great printable we put together with chore lists by age! This includes toddlers, school age kids, and teens.
- This adorable Lego Chore Chart with Reward Bucks is a must-have for all the Lego lovers out there!
- Have a budding Star Wars fan in the house? If so, this printable Star Wars Chore Chart with Reward Bucks will make chores much more exciting!
- Need more inspiration? Check out these 20 fun chore chart ideas we put together.
Should I Pay My Kids to Do Chores?
A question that many parents contemplate is whether or not they should pay their children to do their chores. While the answer will not be the same for everyone, let’s take a look at both sides. We’ll also take a look at how much to pay kids to do chores by age.
Why I should Pay My Kids to do Chores
For every family this answer will be different, but here are some criteria to consider when thinking about paying your children to do chores:
- Because it teaches them the value of hard work.
- It gives me the opportunity to help teach them financial responsibility.
- They can learn the importance of having a good attitude.
- Teamwork is a valuable asset for a child’s life skills.
When Not to Pay My Kids to do Chores
- It’s simply not in your budget.
- If they don’t have a good attitude (complaining, crying, etc.).
- When they refuse to do the work.
- They don’t do a good job.
- Because we think it’s part of the family responsibilities.
How Much Should I Pay My Kids to Do Chores?
While there is no hard or fast rule for this but just some general guidelines. Here are some examples of what you could pay a child at different ages. Note that these suggestions are based on the chore categories by age at the beginning of this post. A general rule of thumb is to pay your child $1 a week per age. Of course this is relative to your family’s unique situation.
- Toddler Chores: $2 – $3 a week
- Preschooler Chores: $4 – $5 a week
- Elementary Kids Chores: $6 – $8 a week
- Older Elementary: $9 – $11 a week
- Middle School: $12 – $14 a week
How Kids Doing Chores Teaches Financial Responsibility
As children grow up and prepare to enter the real world they need important skills. Many of them are simply not ready to handle their finances properly.
Because they are not taught how to be financially responsible on a daily basis. And one of the greatest areas we can help prepare our kids for the real world is teaching them how to be wise with their money.
Doing chores can help our children grasp many basic (but necessary) skills to be financially responsible as they enter into the real world. Some of the ways that chores for kids will help your kiddos be financially responsible are:
- Chores can help teach them that money doesn’t grow on trees; you have to work for it.
- When children have chores it teaches them the importance of consistency. If you work, you get paid. If you don’t, you wont.
- Conflict resolution is also a valuable money skill. If your children have an issue with the boss (aka YOU) they can learn to work it out rather than “quit” their job.
- It gives you the ability to teach them about saving their money vs. spending their money. It’s best they learn these hard lessons under your roof with your guidance than out in the world alone with much greater risks.
- Children doing chores is the perfect time to teach them that even if they don’t “feel” like working, they should. After all, we don’t “feel” like paying our bills, but we do it anyway.
More Kids Chores Information & Resources at Kids Activities Blog
- Why chores are important part of teaching kids responsibility
- Why everday chores for kids is essential
- Stop kids complaining when it comes to chores
- How much allowance for chores should you pay?
- Genius allowance solution for busy parents
- This mom had her kids apply for chore jobs…so smart!
- How to make chores fun – fun games for chore time!
- Assign chores they actually will want to do for screen time
- Here are some pet chores for kids based on the child’s age
What kinds of chores do your children do?
Do you pay them? We’d love to know!
Also, if you have a suggestion for an age-appropriate chore that we missed, please add it in the comments below!