Big or small, everyone can pitch in.
“Aw, mom… Do I have to?”
How many times do you hear whines like this when you ask your kids to help out around the house? Too often, I bet.
Children can be masters of procrastination and excuses when it comes to doing their share of household chores that sometimes, let’s face it, it’s much easier just to do yourself.
However, according to findings from this well-known Harvard Grant study, subjects who were given chores when they were young grew up to be more independent, collaborative in a group setting, and appreciative of the value of hard work. Completing chores also gives them a sense of pride, competency, and accomplishment that boosts their self-esteem.
Basically, chores are fundamental building blocks that help kids develop a positive attitude towards labor and a crucial factor in fueling success in both professional and social environments.
So while insisting that your children complete the chores on their chore chart may seem like a never-ending battle, getting your children to follow through will teach them life skills, help them develop a good work ethic, and instill in them habits that will benefit them later in life.
Assigning Tasks For Children
Kids as early as two years old can be capable of handling their share of responsibilities. While it’s obvious that you can’t expect your toddler to vacuum the floor or mow the lawn, you can assign them tasks that are appropriate for their age.
Giving them chores that are within their capabilities improves their confidence and sense of independence. The key is to continue building up the level of difficulty and responsibility to keep them continuously challenged as they grow older.
Although many parents recognize the importance of giving their children chores, most of them find it tricky to get started. True, it can be pretty hard to match chores with development especially for first-time parents who are just learning the ropes.
So we’ve done the work for you. Here’s the ultimate compiled list of age-appropriate tasks for children that will guide you in teaching your children about responsibility.
Chores For Toddlers
Kids around ages 2 and 3 years old generally feel a sense of excitement about being able to help out, though they may not be as effective as we hope they would. At this age, your children will need assistance in completing their tasks.
The key is to keep that excitement alive and to encourage their positive attitude towards chores as they grow up. Toddlers can:
- Pick up their toys
- Help in setting up the table
- Feed the pets
- Arrange books and magazines
- Put dirty clothes in the hamper
Chores For Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
Preschool kids love to hang around adults. Children at this age usually love taking part in adult activities, which makes this stage the perfect opportunity to cultivate their sense of responsibility. Preschoolers and kindergarteners can:
- Make up their beds
- Set and clear the table
- Carry in groceries
- Sort the laundry
- Wipe windows and counters
- Water indoor plants
- Dust the shelves
- Sweep the floor
Chores For School-Age Children
When kids enter elementary school, they begin to build relationships with other kids and develop the desire to become more independent. At six to eight years old, you can start entrusting chores to your children with minimal supervision. School-age children can:
- Take out the trash
- Put away the dishes
- Unload the dishwasher
- Vacuum or mop the floor
- Keep their room clean
- Walk the pet
- Help fold the laundry
- Fix their snacks and lunch for school
Chores For Preteens
This stage in your children’s life opens up an interest in autonomy. Aside from giving them bigger responsibilities, preadolescence is the right time to impose on them the value of completing tasks correctly and not just for the sake of getting them done.
Pro tip: As this is also the age where your kids may need a bit more prodding to do their tasks, you should consider giving them incentives to motivate them to work. Preteens can:
- Do the dishes
- Help wash the car
- Help do the laundry
- Clean the counters and kitchen sink
- Clean the bathroom
- Cook simple meals
Chores for Teenagers
Your children’s teenage years offer you the last prime opportunity to prepare them for adulthood. The values and habits that they have as teenagers can ultimately affect who they are as adults.
As parents, use this developmental period to instill in them a deep sense of responsibility and prepare them for independent life outside of your home. Teenagers can:
- Mow the lawn
- Take care of younger siblings
- Change busted lightbulbs
- Grocery shopping
- Planning and preparing meals
- Basic car and household appliance maintenance
Making chores a regular part of your family routine is essential in your children’s formative years. Though the string of complaints and constant whining may get on your last nerve on some days, do not let those moments deter you from teaching your children about the importance of responsibility.
Remember that the goal as a parent is not necessarily to make children happy, but to teach them life skills and lessons that will come in handy as they explore adulthood and begin life on their own.
They may not thank you now, but one day they will – for sure.