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Appropriate chores for your child

Trying to figure out age-appropriate chores for your child doesn’t have to be a chore itself. Children of almost any age can help out around the house — and be happy and proud of themselves doing so.

Tween doing chores

Household chores are a fact of life. Picture the scene: Saturday morning has rolled around again and you’re faced with a mountain of housework to catch up on. Meanwhile, your kids are glued to the TV and playing video games. What’s a parent to do? Maintaining a clean house can be a family thing, so it’s time to assign some chores and get everyone to pitch in. According to Parenting 247, giving chores to your kids will help them be responsible, contribute to the family and learn valuable life skills.

Here’s a list of chores your child may be able to master at the age recommended; but, it’s only a guideline, since ability and maturity vary greatly from child to child. Only you will know for sure when your child is ready to tackle some of these household chores.

Ages 2 to 3

  • Run simple errands for mom and dad, such as fetching something when asked
  • Water plants with a pre-measured amount of water
  • Pick up toys
  • Dust off end tables, TV stands and wherever else they can reach safely
  • Gather up dirty clothes
  • Put clothes in a hamper
  • Wipe down cabinets
  • Wipe up small spills
  • Straighten up books and magazines

Ages 4 to 6

  • Make bed, or at least straighten bed covers and pillows
  • Feed and water pets
  • Clear dishes from the table
  • Clean the windows
  • Put their own clothes away
  • Help put groceries away
  • Vacuum small rooms or halls
  • Assist with raking the yard
  • Help with basic food preparation such as making juice or preparing their own cereal breakfast
  • Sweep floors
  • Empty waste baskets

Ages 7 to 9

  • Prepare simple foods such as sandwiches and salads
  • Clean their bedroom
  • Help pack school lunches
  • Take out garbage
  • Help sort the recycling
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Train pets
  • Properly make a bed
  • Vacuum larger areas
  • Mop floors

Ages 10-12

  • Clean the bathroom sink, tub and counters
  • Wash the car
  • Cook easy meals with supervision, such as a pancakes or scrambled eggs
  • Use the washer and dryer
  • Sort and fold laundry
  • Shovel the snow from sidewalks and driveways
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Walk the dog
  • Help with home repairs, with supervision
  • Scrub floors
  • Do basic ironing with supervision
  • Clean up the yard and weed the garden
  • Take care of younger siblings when parents are home

Teenagers 13 to 17

This is a broad age range, so again, it’s up to you: you know what your child may or may not be ready to handle. But, by the mid or later teen years your child will probably have the acquired the skills needed to handle almost everything around the house.

  • Mow and trim the lawn
  • Prepare family meals
  • Clean out the refrigerator
  • Handle unsupervised home repairs
  • Make a grocery list and do the shopping
  • Take care of younger siblings when parents are away
  • Use a snowblower to remove snow from driveway and sidewalks
  • Handle all aspects of the laundry, including ironing

More on children

Getting kids to do chores
Teaching your kids to clean
8 Ways to make cleaning fun for your kids

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