by Brandy Abalos

Household tasks can overwhelm parents with children to care for and clean up after. However, most children can contribute to the home by taking on some of those responsibilities.

Chores help kids build relationships with parents and siblings. Sharing those responsibilities allows children to learn necessary life skills while giving their parents time to focus on other things.

There Is Great Value in Chores for Children

Even very young children usually want to help. They often try to emulate older siblings and their parents as they go about their everyday chores. Giving children chores at home gives them a sense of belonging and purpose.

As children grow, they will have to take on many responsibilities at school, community and home. The expectations should begin small and grow as they get older. It’s best to start with simple chores for younger children and build up to more complex requirements for teens. Doing so sets children up for success as adults.

As kids become more comfortable performing their chores, their self-esteem and self-value will also increase. Children who understand how they contribute to their households have a healthy view of themselves and how they fit into their communities.

Age-Appropriate Chores for All Children

Many may think a toddler can only make messes, but kids can do more than adults think. If they can master complex computer games, they can easily figure out how to use a vacuum cleaner.

Chores for Toddlers

Children can begin helping with tasks in the spaces they use as soon as they learn to walk. Most age-appropriate chores for children are related to cleaning up after themselves. Some of the best responsibilities for children aged 2 to 3 include:
»Putting away toys
»Putting dirty clothes in a hamper
»Wiping up spills (without chemicals or cleaners)
»Placing books on shelves

 Chores for Preschool Children

When a child enters preschool, they will be expected to take care of their environment. Chores for children aged 4to 5 include:
»Making their bed
»Emptying small trash cans
»Bringing in the newspaper
»Clearing the table
»Pulling weeds in the garden or flowerbed
»Using a hand-held vacuum
»Watering flowers
»Washing plastic dishes in the sink

Chores for Elementary School Children

Elementary students have many duties at school. Those responsibilities can transfer over to the home as well. Some chores for children aged 6 to 9 include:
»Fixing a bowl of cereal
»Making a sandwich
»Making their lunch
»Unloading the dishwasher
»Sweeping floors
»Setting and clearing the table
»Raking leaves
»Keeping their bedroom tidy
»Putting away groceries
»Helping to make dinner
»Making their own snacks
»Peeling vegetables
»Mopping the floor

Chores for Intermediate and Middle School Children

As a child ages, their responsibilities should increase. A progression of tasks helps children mature and learn naturally. Some good chores for older children include:
»Taking a pet for a walk
»Cleaning the bathroom
»Washing windows
»Washing the car
»Cooking a simple meal
»Ironing clothes
»Doing laundry
»Cleaning the kitchen
»Changing their bedsheets

Chores for Teens

When a teen enters high school, they are heading toward adulthood. Their responsibilities should reflect the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency. Some chores for highschool students and teens include:
»Cleaning up after family pets
»Scrubbing sinks, toilets, bathtubs and shower stalls
»Cooking dinner
»Doing yard work and using a lawn mower
»Doing the dishes
»Cleaning high-traffic areas of the house
»Taking out trash and recycling
»Bringing in and sorting the mail
»Assist with meal planning
»Grocery shopping
»Picking up younger siblings from school
»Taking younger siblings to and from after-school activities

Children Will Strive to Live Up to Expectations

Many adults underestimate their children, thinking they are incapable of complex tasks. However, most children will strive to meet expectations. They desire approval from their parents and want to contribute to the household. By giving children an opportunity to begin with small chores when they are young, older kids will better understand their duties. Children who have responsibilities at home are more likely to be successful adults when they grow up.