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Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to expect out of your children when it comes to chores.
At times you may wonder what is age appropriate.
When I was completing my teacher certification, one of my internships was at a preschool.
I was quickly amazed at how much children could do at
such a young age.
How I Divvy Out Age-Appropriate Chores for My Kids Including Taking Care of Technology Gadgets
Whenever children painted, played with blocks, or dressed up, they were always expected to clean up afterwards and put everything back where they found it. They were trained to do so as part of their routine.
I believe people can do the same at home with their own children from an early age. I tell you what I do with my own kids, then list some age-appropriate chores for young children. Then I list a bunch of chores for older children. More on that later.
I expected my kids to put their items back in a bin when they were finished playing. They didn’t always like it but I reinforced it and over time it caught on.
Now that my children are older, I make them help out with harder chores. Outside of staying on top of their rooms, I write a list of things I need done.
I let them choose what they want to do. I try to include a wide range of choices such as dusting, bringing recyclables to the garage, sorting receipts (my sixth grader does this), taking the couch cushion covers off so I can wash them, folding blankets, folding laundry, putting dishes away and more. Some are more involved than others. I put a variety so I know they are still age-appropriate for my younger daughter. She’s in third grade.
She has always liked plants. She had a little watering can when she was younger and still enjoys taking care of plants now. We were having company over and the leaves on this plant were so brown, it was a bit of an eyesore.
Her job was to cut off all of the brown leaves before we had guests. It actually took awhile but she did a great job. Since the plant is such a focal point in this space, her work made such a big impact on the room. It looked as if I got a new plant.
Chores are so important for children to learn. It helps them understand that they have to take care of things especially if they want to have the item for a long time. It also helps them to stay organized. They are able to find what they are looking for because they put it back.
They are learning how to be responsible by having chores. They are also learning how to make money and save for something they want to buy. I have my children make invoices. I tell them if they want to get paid, they have to write down what they did and how much they will get for the chore and put it somewhere we can all find it on pay day. I put that responsibility on them.
You can have young children kill two birds with one stone, if they have to sort items they have to put back, that is a skill they need to do in preschool. So if all of the dolls, action figures, or play money go in one bin, basket, or container when they are put away, you are teaching them how to clean up and sort all at the same time.
Here’s how one girl does chores in her home.
Here’s a list of some age-appropriate chores. I would often make up tasks for my kids to do in the moment. I’m kicking myself for not writing this sooner.
Preschool Age and Older:
Carry light groceries
Pick up toys
Bring folded laundry to room
Set and clear table (not knives)
Put away spoons from the dishwasher(with a parent overseeing)
Clean up messes and crumbs after eating
Wipe down the table
Fours, Fives, and Older
Feed a pet
Prepare food (scoop out yogurt, pour cereal, put snacks on plate, etc.)
Carry items out of a room while decluttering
I categorized the remaining ideas.
Here are chores for OLDER children. They may still need adult supervision with many of these.
You just have to know what your child can handle. Exercise good judgement.
Wipe down electronics
Put all cords and chargers in plastic bags and zip shut, then put in container or basket
Dust computer desk
Put all video games back where they go
Wipe down video game controls
Put all video games equipment in one spot (basket, container, etc.)
Wipe down T.V. remotes
Charge all phones, ipods, and other electronics (older children only with adult supervision)
Update or transfer contacts on cell phone
Make a playlist on an ipod for parent
Sanitize all phones
Make sure nothing is on floor
Take sheets off bed
Put new sheets on bed
Dust ceiling fan
Get rid of unwanted toys an other items
Get rid of unwanted clothing
Get rid clothing that doesn’t fit
Discard old artwork
Make rags out of beat up clothing (not nice enough to donate)
Put important dates on the calendar from school flyers
Bring recycling bin outside
Return recyclables to stores
Bring garbage out
Get mail from the mailbox
Make a pile of unwanted toys
Make a pile of clothes that don’t fit anymore
Carry folded clothes to room
Sort clothes before washing
Carry basket to washer
Take clothes out of dryer
Carry basket up from dryer
Remove lint from clothing
Remover lint from dryer
Match clean socks
Put magazines away
Put remotes away
Make a list of needed items (shampoo, razors, conditioner, tooth paste, toilet paper, tissues, etc.)
Stock toilet paper rolls
Replace hand towel
Refill soap dispenser
Write a list of items to buy at store (toothpaste, dental floss, toilet paper, etc.)
Write expiration dates on medicine bottles with marker
Have children set the table. You can even teach them etiquette with a Youtube video. Here they will learn a formal way to set a table. Of course, you may not eat like this every day but it is still cool to learn this.
Clean out the fridge
Take groceries out of bags and leave on table.
Put bags away or recycle
Make a grocery list
Find needed items at the grocery store
Get rid of expired coupons
(Young children can do this while they are in the aisle with you. Older kids can venture off to other parts of the store to cut your shopping time.)
Empty dishwasher (may want to exclude handling sharp items)
Wipe counters down
Change coffee filter (may need adult supervision)
Wipe down stove
Pick out ingredients for recipe
Pick out needed utensils to cook recipe
Replace baking soda in fridge
Ditch empty condiment containers
Ditch expired food
Wipe refrigerator shelves
Check expiration dates on spices
Pick out snacks for next days lunch
Clean outdoor furniture
Shake out welcome mats
Pick up litter with gloves
Hand tools to parent
Pick up small branches that have fallen from trees
Show a tweens and teens a tutorial for washing a car. This video tells you what to purchase, how to thoroughly wash, and detail a car. There are many tips that I never heard of before. Washing your car at home can save you money too.
Get cleaning supplies (paper towels, garbage bags, vacuum, etc.)
Put away personal belongings from car
Clean out trash
Pull out floor mats
Vacuum the car
Take pet for walk
If you like this list of chores, please share it.
Also, what types of chores do you make your kids do?
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SMartinez Media, former Editor-in-Chief at Latina Magazine