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 percent of grown-ups polled said they had regular chores when they were growing up, but only 28 percent 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.