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Age-Appropriate Chores:
How to Help Kids Be Responsible

Dirty dishes. Messy bedrooms. Toys on the living room floor. Some days, there just isn’t a good way to avoid the chore wars. But there is always tomorrow, and you can be proactive. Ask yourself, What chores are important for my children to learn, and what are they capable of doing? Then, check out this list of age-appropriate chores for kids will help you to discover the answers to those questions.

Contents

As you view this list of chores for kids by age, remember that every child matures at a different pace. Adjust the chores you select for your kids to what you know about your children’s skills and talents. Realize that no child should do all of the chores listed below every day. Remember the importance of recognizing the difference between a chore (an ongoing task that benefits the household) and a life skill (an activity that children should know how to do before living on their own, such as handling money). 

The following list of age-appropriate chores is only meant as a guide and reflects the types of chores that many children in specific age ranges are capable of completing. And we’ve included resources from some of these chores that offer hands-on, practical ways to train your children to do them. Hopefully, approaching chores for kids in a thoughtful and intentional way will help your children succeed in personal and family responsibility: 

Personal Chores

Family Chores

Adaptability

You will need to have psychological flexibility to be content with imperfections as your children learn to manage daily responsibilities.

Boundaries

You get to set up structure in your home as your children learn to work and enjoy work. Interestingly, a commitment to consistently doing chores and navigating responsibility together yields peace and connectedness for your whole family.

Avoiding the Chore War With Your Kids

Our guests offer parents practical advice on teaching children responsibility by giving them age-appropriate chores.

Personal Chores

Family Chores

Grace and Forgiveness

Your children will most likely argue and imperfectly complete their chores. You can bridge these moments of failure by communicating and extending grace and forgiveness along the way. As you model this, you ease the tension that can come from chores.

Gratitude

Through a proper view of gratitude, you and your family can achieve a healthy perspective of chores. When you value gratitude, you bring a heart of service, a flexible mind, and a calming presence. Through your example, your kids have a better chance of cultivating gratitude in their own perspectives.

Chore Chart for Young Kids

Compensating Kids for Chores

Is it appropriate to pay our school-aged children for doing household tasks? When I was growing up I always received an allowance, but my spouse says that kids need to work without being paid because that's part of being a family. What do you think?
Family Q&A

Personal Chores

Family Chores

  • Wash dishes
  • Wash the family car with supervision
  • Prepare a few easy meals on their own
  • Clean the bathroom with supervision
  • Rake leaves
  • Learn to use the washer and dryer
  • Put all laundry away with supervision
  • Take the trash can to the curb for pick up
  • Change light bulbs
  • Dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms and do dishes
  • Clean mirrors
  • Mow the lawn with supervision
  • Baby-sit or nanny

Respect

You get to set the tone for respect as a core ingredient to serving through chores. Chores are about respecting others and your family’s space. Ask yourself: do you model bringing life-giving words and life-giving actions to your home? Encourage one another as you conquer a home that naturally goes into chaos and disorder when everyone has so many competing demands and distractions.

Chore Chart for Tweens

Personal Chores

  • Responsible for all personal chores for ages 9 to 12
  • Earn spending money
  • Purchase their own clothes
  • Maintain any car they drive (e.g., gas, oil changes, tire pressure, etc.)

Family Chores

  • Do assigned housework without prompting
  • Do yard work as needed
  • Baby sit
  • Prepare food — from making a grocery list and buying the items (with supervision) to serving a meal — occasionally
  • Wash windows with supervision
  • Do housework as needed
  • Do yard work as needed
  • Prepare family meals — from grocery list to serving it — as needed
  • Deep cleaning of household appliances, such as defrosting the freezer, as needed

Intentionality

As parents, you set up opportunities for your kids to serve and mature. Chores require guidance, follow through, and organization. You can help shape your child’s heart toward humility and responsibility, regardless of their personality. Some kids will be more difficult than others, but you can set up daily and weekly chores that are opportunities to serve one another.

Love

When there are emotional outbursts and tantrums, that’s when your children need your “A” game love. This is an opportunity to love your children by adapting to their interpretations or frustrations so you can guide their understanding of responsibility.

Dealing With Lazy Teenagers

How can I motivate my two lazy teenagers? They won't help me around the house, and they consistently wait until the last minute to do their homework. As a single parent, I usually don't have the energy to make them get down to work. Is there a way to break this negative pattern?
Family Q&A

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