Building Character (Not Just Skills) : Age Appropriate Chores for Kids

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Teaching Character, Not Just Skills : Age Appropriate Chores For Kids :: Vintage Kids | Modern World

In my last post, I talked about how valuable it is to have my children working with me on house cleaning and chores.  If you missed the first post, check it out, because it will show that it really is possible to get your kids to do their chores, and as a busy mama – it’s priceless!  Plus, there are skills and character qualities that are developed in our children when they start taking responsibility around the house!

By making sure that your children are regularly helping out around the house, you’re teaching them:

  • responsibility in a safe environment
  • the value of family and working together
  • follow-through (yes, you DO need to sweep under the table too…)
  • perseverance (yes, under the entire table).

As we talked about in the last post on choresdon’t worry about building skills – build character first and the skills will develop.

Here are some helpful hints as to what chores you can reasonably expect your child to do at each stage (Realizing that some kids are different and will do things earlier/later).  Regardless of how “mature” your child is,  be realistic, and realize that kids should not be expected to do these without reminders until they’re about twelve years old, give or take.  They can, but that doesn’t mean they will, so you can prompt them and encourage them to do it without your reminders, but don’t get upset if you do need to give them that nudge.  After all, the parent is still the authority of the household, with an adult’s experience and perspective. 

So here is a list to give you a starting point for what is realistic, given the ages of your children (and like I said, all children are different! These are averages and approximates, and just a reference point)

(and P.S. – these are recommendations for what is possible – not lists that have to be completed each day!  we’re building character, responsibility and a good work ethic…not slaves :))

Age Appropriate Chores:

2-3 years old

  • pick up toys
  • pick up dirty clothes

4-5 years old

the above, plus:

  • set table and help to clear it
  • unload clean silverware & sort it to put away
  • make bed
  • tidy shoes, coats, etc in mudroom or front entry
  • animal chores:  water or feed (with help & reminders!)
  • empty small wastebaskets into trash

 6-7 years old

the above, plus:

  • sweeping
  • mirrors
  • raking the lawn
  • weeding & planting & picking in the garden
  • change sheets on bed with help
  • help to sort, fold and put away clean laundry
  • dust
  • unload dishwasher
  • make simple lunches or breakfasts

 8-11 years old

the above, plus:

  • clean sinks
  • swiffer/mop
  • wash dishes by hand
  • take out trash to the road/dumpster
  • food preparation:  oatmeal, eggs, pancakes, etc.

12-13 years old

the above, plus:

  • continuing food preparation: salads, dressings, baked goods
  • mow lawn
  • babysit (some kids are ready for this at the age of 13 for short periods, but obviously use your judgement!)
  • obviously clean their own room
  • laundry

14-16 years old

the above, plus:

  • do household chores without reminders
  • plan a meal, purchase groceries and prepare the food
  • deep cleaning

I can’t emphasize enough that, YES, it’s WONDERFUL having help around the home, and if you have a large family, it’s a necessity.  But regardless, even if you only have one child, chores are a must, because they learn far more than just “how to dust” when they start taking responsibility within a family.

Here are some other GREAT resources and age-appropriate lists that I’ve come across!

Age Appropriate Chores

Age Appropriate Chore Charts

Assigning Chores to Kids (this is a great site with a TON of chore related posts and suggestions!)

What other chores are your children doing working on? How do chores “work” at your house?


This post is part of Monday Mania and Welcome HomeFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Seasonal CelebrationsSunday School Blog Carnival and The Welcome Home Link Up

The photo was amended by me, but originally by this loverly photographer 

  1. Love this! Thanks for the tips. In fact, my daughter of 7 years walked up and started reading this as I was and exclaimed “What is this? Chores for kids!” I had to laugh a little on the inside. She already cleans her own room almost everyday, helps set the table, picks up her toys and helps her brothers (begrudgingly sometimes). I will def be testing out a few of the other responsibilities. Thanks Again!

  2. Great post. My kids all have chores and it is such an essential part of my sanity. It makes my kids feel like they are apart of the family. We work together and then play together. 🙂