Running a household is no easy feat. The to-do list can feel endless, from laundry to dishes to yard work. And often, it’s only the adult hands carrying the load.
According to a survey by Braun Research in 2014, 82% of grown-ups polled said they had regular chores when they were growing up, but only 28% reported asking their children to do any.
Now is the perfect time to get your kids more involved with helping around the house. And the best news: kids are never too young or old to get involved.
Here are some age-appropriate chore suggestions for each age group courtesy of Jessica Lahey, author of “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed.“
Toddlers, up to 3
- Put their dirty clothes in a basket or hamper.
- Dress themselves with clothing that’s not too complicated.
- Put their clothes away in drawers.
- Throw trash and recycling away in the proper place.
- Put toys away in tubs and baskets when they are done playing with them.
- Feed the dog or cat.
Preschoolers, ages 3-5
- Make their bed.
- Straighten their room.
- Sort and categorize items, such as utensils in a drawer or socks in the laundry.
- Water plants.
- Clear their place at the table.
- Prepare their own snacks.
School-age kids, ages 6-11
- Peeling and chopping vegetables (teach knife safety).
- Laundry—all of it, from sorting to putting it away.
- Replacing the toilet paper when it’s gone.
- Setting and clearing the table.
- Outdoor work such as raking leaves, weeding and hauling wood.
- Vacuuming and mopping floors.
- Helping to plan and prepare grocery lists and meals.
Ages 12 and up
- Not many household tasks are beyond their abilities.
- Household repairs, such as painting, replacing light bulbs, and simple car maintenance.
- Grocery shopping.
- Planning and preparing more complicated meals.
- Caring for and teaching younger siblings about their role in the household responsibilities.
- Cleaning out the refrigerator.
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