Chores and Responsibilities

  • Children can be contributing members of the family from early on. It helps them learn life skills, feel capable, and develop responsibility; and frankly, you could use some help!

    • Don’t do for a child what they can do for themselves; it robs them of the chance to feel success!
    • It takes longer but it’s worth the patience in the long run as they become capable and independent.
    • Show them how first. Next time do it together. Then they can do it alone.
    • For beginners, don’t insist on perfection, and praise a lot.
    • Be clear with expectations. What exactly does “clean your room” mean to you?
    • Be consistent. The chore rules should be the same, no matter what mood you’re in.
    • Choose their chores by whatever works for you. Mom A doesn’t mind doing laundry, so she didn’t teach her children to do their own laundry until they were leaving home. Mom B hates laundry, and she taught her children to do their laundry when they were 9.

    Should you pay an allowance for chores?
    Yes: It’s easier to get the kids to do chores.  No: They may refuse to do the chores, “I don’t really want the money that much.”  

    Yes: They’ll learn money management.  No: They can learn money management if you give them an allowance that isn’t tied to chores.

    Yes: They’ll learn the value of work for pay. No: When they grow up, no one will pay them for day-to-day responsibilities.

    Chores are part of family belongingness.

    • Consider having regular daily or weekly chores that they don’t get paid for, then having extra tasks they can do to earn money.
    • Don’t make it too complicated; it will be easier to stay consistent if you have a simple system.

Suggested Responsibilities

  • Dowload this list

    Chores for children ages 2 to 3

    • Put toys away
    • Fill pet's food dish
    • Put clothes in hamper
    • Wipe up spills
    • Dust

    Chores for children ages 4 to 5
    Any of the above chores, plus:

    • Make their bed
    • Empty wastebaskets
    • Bring in mail
    • Clear table
    • Pull weeds
    • Use hand-held vacuum or brush and dustpan to pick up crumbs
    • Water flowers (with a small watering can)
    • Unload utensils from dishwasher
    • Wash plastic dishes at sink
    • Fix bowl of cereal  (with a small pitcher of milk)

    Chores for children ages 6 to 7
    Any of the above chores, plus:

    • Sort laundry
    • Sweep floors
    • Set and clear table
    • Help make and pack lunch
    • Rake leaves
    • Keep bedroom tidy
    • Remember their jacket, water bottle

    Chores for children ages 8 to 9
    Any of the above chores, plus:

    • Complete their homework
    • Load dishwasher
    • Put away groceries
    • Vacuum
    • Help make dinner
    • Make own snacks
    • Wash table after meals
    • Put away own laundry
    • Make own breakfast
    • Peel vegetables
    • Cook simple foods
    • Mop floor
    • Take pet for a walk
    • Take out the garbage

    Chores for children ages 10 to 11
    Any of the above chores, plus:

    • Clean kitchen, wash the pots
    • Change their bed sheets
    • Pack own lunch
    • Clean bathroom
    • Wash windows
    • Cook simple meal with supervision
    • Do laundry
    • Babysit younger siblings (with adult in the home)

    Chores for children ages 12 and older:
    Any of the above chores, plus:

    • Mow the lawn
    • Babysit
    • Plan multi-step homework projects
    • Make dinner