2. Make an age appropriate list for each child.
I am here to tell you we severely underestimate our children! Even a three year old is capable of a chore list and learning to pick up. So take the time to identify the everyday chores vs. the chores that are extra and the children would be able to either earn an extra privilege or small amount of money for completing.
Here is an age appropriate list for each child's age group:
Ages 2 and 3
Many toddlers are eager to help with chores, and while their “helping” may not always be appreciated, keeping their excitement and the habit of helping out alive, should be. Sticker charts are a great way to keep toddlers excited about helping. Their chores may have to be completed with you helping every step of the way, but you are laying the groundwork for children that find chores and helping a way of life.
Some chores 2-3 year olds can do…
- Help make the bed.
- Pick up toys and books.
- Take laundry to the laundry room.
- Help feed pets.
- Help wipe up messes.
- Dust with socks on their hands.
- Mop in areas with help.
Ages 4 and 5
Preschoolers still find helping to be an exciting venture and usually are thrilled when time is taken to teach them new chores. They are ready to do some chores without constant supervision. Rewards at this age are very motivating. A sticker chart that allows you to build up to bigger rewards can be appropriate. For some preschoolers, tying chores to an allowance is a great option and fosters independence in choosing a reward.
Some chores preschoolers can do in addition to the ones above…
- Clear and set the table.
- Help out in cooking and preparing food.
- Carrying and putting away groceries.
These school age kids may or may not still have their childlike enthusiasm for completing chores. What they do have, however, is an overwhelming desire to be independent. Parents and caregivers can guide children to become independent in their chores, using chore charts to keep track of their responsibilities both completed and pending.
Some chores that they are capable of in addition to the ones above…
- Take care of pets.
- Vacuum and mop.
- Take out trash.
- Fold and put away laundry.
Children in this preteen age are capable of increasing responsibility where chores are concerned. Keep in mind that many children this age rely on continuity. Find a system that works for your family and do not change it without the input and support of the people it directly affects. Make sure that you factor in rewards and consequences and address those issues with your children. Let them know the consequences of not completing chores, as well as the rewards for fulfilling their responsibilities.
Some Chores preteens are capable of in addition to the ones above…
- Help wash the car.
- Learn to wash dishes.
- Help prepare simple meals.
- Clean the bathroom.
- Rake leaves.
- Operate the washer and dryer.
Teenagers are developmentally ready to handle almost any chore in the home. At the same time a teenager’s schedule can sometimes become quite hectic, leaving little time for chores. Make sure that the workload of your teenagers is manageable.
Some chores teenagers are capable of in addition to the ones above…
- Replace light bulbs and vacuum cleaner bags.
- All parts of the laundry.
- Wash windows.
- Clean out refrigerator and other kitchen appliances.
- Prepare meals.
- Prepare grocery lists.
Remember that children mature at their own pace and not all kids will be capable of advanced chores at the same age, just as some children may be ready for more difficult chores at a younger age. The most important guidelines are supervision and evaluation of your child’s needs and abilities. That's right, you MUST supervise as they learn or they will not be inclined to do the work. Step 3 is next.