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A common parental goal is to raise children who grow up to be contributing members of society. One way to mold and teach the kiddos’ responsibility is through implementing a chore list. Parents do EVERYTHING for their kids – so it only makes sense that the kids start earning their keep! Often, parents struggle to create a chore list that is age appropriate. They question how to keep track of the chores, whether a payment will be included, and the value of that payment. The following chore list was created to use as a guide while working through these questions and more.
Appropriate Chore List by Age Group
While a toddler obviously isn’t expected to have the same chore list as a pre-teen, sometimes it is difficult to come up with responsibilities appropriate for each age group. How young can you expect your child to start pitching in? And what chores are reasonable? The following list divvys out chores by age group. Please note that all chores assigned to younger ages are appropriate for and can also be expected of older children.
Preschoolers (Ages 2-4):
- Stack and put books away
- Help unload dishwasher by handing to a parent or older sibling
- Say “please” and “thank you”
- Ask to be excused from the table when eating as a family
- Clear dish/silverware/utensils from the table and place in the dishwasher
- Get dressed and undressed
- Put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper
- Brush teeth
Entering Grade School (Ages 5-7):
- Make bed
- Sweep the kitchen floor
- Rake leaves
- Water the garden or flowers
- Carry dirty laundry to the laundry room to be washed
- Match socks and put away underwear
- Help put away groceries
- Set the table
- Vacuum room
- Get the mail
- Feed the family pet
Intermediate Grade School (Ages 8-11):
- Read to younger siblings
- Fold and put away laundry
- Clean the bathroom (sinks, toilets, shower, bath tub, mirror, countertops)
- Shower/use deodorant/wash face
- Take trash to the curb and bring inside when empty
- Walk family pet (and bring waste baggies if necessary)
- Help prepare meals/learn to use a knife
- Dust the house
Junior High/High School (Ages 12+):
- Mow lawn
- Babysit siblings
- Wash and change bedsheets
- Learn to wash and clean a car
- Cook a complete meal
- Iron or steam clothing
- Separate clothing and do their own laundry
Chore List Organization
Every family has different cleaning and organization needs (along with a different number of children) and a chore list is a perfect opportunity to teach your child ways to contribute to the household. The first step toward chore list organization is to determine what household duties can be completed by your tiny humans. From there, determine which of these chores can be assigned to each child to complete every day (i.e. making the bed, brushing teeth, clearing one’s own dishes, etc.) verses chores that can be accomplished weekly.
After daily tasks are assigned, there are a number of ways to divvy up the weekly duties. Do you have one child that truly thrives on emptying the dishwasher? Boom. That makes it easy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. A great way to make chores “fair” is to group the tasks into buckets equal to the number of children in the house and rotate each week. Or maybe you prefer to block out 30 minutes each day to divide and conquer. There is no wrong way to do this.
If your family opts to group the chores and rotate each week, you have the opportunity to assign rewards to each grouping. For example, whoever is assigned to clean the toilets gets to sit in the front seat of the car (if old enough) that week. Or the child that dusts the house gets to curate the dinner menu one night that week. Chores provide a wonderful opportunity for not only delegating responsibility but also earning rewards.
Read More: House Cleaning Tips and a Weekly Schedule
Chore List Payment Options
When determining rewards for completing the assigned duties on the chore list, parents have the option to decide how and if there will be rewards and what those look like/how they are paid. While some may choose to pay with cold hard cash, an alternative is using chores as an incentive for screen time (tv, video games, and/or computer time). Or if dealing with preschoolers, one M&M can go a really long way…
Payout of the agreed upon commerce can work a few different ways. One options includes assigning a value to each chore with the child cashing in at the end of the day or week. If choosing this route, you could find a spotless house at the end of each day if a child is super motivated to earn above and beyond. Another option is determining a weekly allowance which is only earned in full if the chore list is completed.
Alternatively, you may decide that to be a member of your household, your children are simply expected to complete their chores each day. A house, food, clothing, and utilities aren’t cheap – and they have to learn the rules of life at some point. True, the same lesson could be learned through a game of Junior Monopoly, but that is the beauty of parenting…there is no right answer!
Sometimes it is easy to forget that kids only learn how to do something as an adult if they are taught how to do the task as a child. How else is a young boy going learn that the correct way to clean a toilet involves scrubbing along the base of the commode to mop up stray streams? Regardless of your chore list or of their sweat equity, your kids will thank you in the long run for teaching them that hard work pays off.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Learn more specifically about Age Appropriate Chores for Toddlers.
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