Are you ready to start your kids on a chore schedule? It's never too early to teach kids how to help out and take on a bit of responsibility. Learn the different chores kids can do by age. Get a clear idea of the pros and cons of paying for chores, and find out how to make chore time fun. You'll also get a list of tips and tricks to avoid chore pitfalls.
Chores for Kids By Age
Are you looking for some chore ideas for kids? You are not alone. Chores are a great way for kids to contribute to the household and learn some responsibility. But the chores a toddler is ready for aren't the same as the chores for a tween. Get a clear list of chores by age.
Toddler Chores (2-3 Year Olds)
Once a toddler has learned to walk well and without any assistance, they can help you complete different, simple chores around the house. Check out a simple list of chores toddlers should be able to do with limited assistance.
- Throw away trash
- Put dirty clothes in the hamper
- Pick up toys
- Put shoes on
- Fold washcloths
- Put dirty dishes in the sink with help
- Wipe off low tables
Preschool/Kindergarten Chores (4-6 Year Olds)
Kids ages 4-6 are usually able to perform jobs requiring multiple steps. Chores you can expect them to handle beyond toddler chores include:
- Dusting tables and chairs
- Sorting laundry
- Matching socks
- Setting table
- Putting away dishes
- Folding towels
- Putting shoes away
- Feeding pets
Elementary Chores (7-9 Year Olds)
At the age of 7, kids are becoming more independent. They can cover more of the chores around the house with help. You can expect a 7 to 9-year-old to handle several chores, like:
- Pickup and clean room
- Feed and walk pets
- Load/unload the dishwasher
- Vacuum floors
- Fold and put away laundry
- Rake yard
- Help make dinner
- Put away groceries
- Help organize
Tween Chores (10-12 Year Olds)
Tweens are pretty capable of doing a wide range of chores and tasks around the house. From making a small meal to washing their own laundry, they are ready for the task. It's just the getting-them-to-do-it part that's difficult. Explore a quick list of chores you can assign to your tween.
- Take out trash
- Sweep, vacuum, and mop floors
- Do laundry (washing to folding)
- Cook simple meals
- Clean kitchen
- Clean bedroom
- Clean bathroom
- Pull weeds
- Shovel snow
- Wash dishes by hand or load/unload dishwasher
- Wash car
How Many Chores Should a Kid Be Doing Daily?
There is no hard-and-fast rule as to how many chores your kids should do a day. Toddlers and preschoolers are learning responsibility tasks like brushing teeth as well as cleaning chores, so you aren't going to keep their attention long. However, an older elementary schooler needs to be given more responsibility, so they can do more chores. In addition to creating a printable chore list, you can follow this basic rule when it comes to how many chores kids should be doing daily.
- Toddlers - 5-10 minutes a day (1-2 easy chores)
- Preschools - 10-15 minutes a day (2-3 easy tasks)
- Elementary - 15-20 minutes a day (3+ easy to medium tasks)
- Tweens - 20-30 minutes a day with bigger chores like cleaning room or raking on weekends.
Paying Kids for Chores
To pay or not to pay kids for chores -- now that is the question. Whether you choose to pay or not to pay kids for chores is a very personal decision. Learn more about this type of reward system.
Pros for Paying Kids to Do Chores
There are some pretty good reasons out there to give children a little financial incentive.
- Helps to teach them financial responsibility
- Works to build character
- Provides a clear incentive
- Teaches them the importance of doing a good job
- Builds teamwork, especially if they are doing chores with a sibling
Cons for Paying for Chores
You can also find some clear negatives to paying for chores, too.
- Think doing the chores is an option
- Believe they will get paid for everything
- Makes chores a job rather than a responsibility
- Might not see chores as a responsibility of everyone in the house
- Create competition and fights between siblings
So, whether you pay them or not is totally up to you.
How Much to Pay for Chores
If you choose to pay for chores, then you might begin to wonder what to pay. Well, how much is each chore worth to you? There isn't any standard for how much you should pay your kids. Lots of people use the dollar rule. Give them a dollar a week for however old they are. A good general range for kids is:
- Toddler: $1-3
- Preschooler: $3-5
- Elementary: $5-10
- Tween: $10-15
If you are using money as an incentive, you will want to also show your kids how to save and the value of saving. For example, you might give a toddler a piggy bank or set a tween up with a savings account. This works to play into the financial responsibility aspect.
Chore Pitfalls to Avoid
Getting kids to do chores can be challenging sometimes. Every parent has dealt with a total nuclear meltdown from having to wipe down the table or take out the trash. To avoid the meltdown, you can try a few different things.
Perform Chores Together
When assigning chores, it is important to note that young children learn best by example. Instead of assigning your kids a long list of chores, give them a select few and then work alongside them the first few times. That way, you can ensure that your child understands the steps involved and that they are capable of performing them safely.
Break It Down
When assigning chores, it's also helpful to break them down into workable components. It is unrealistic to tell a 5-year-old, "Go clean your room." Instead, break that down piece by piece into tasks that make sense to their young mind.
So, you might say:
- Pick up toys and put them in the toy box.
- Pick up books and put them on the bookshelf.
- Put dirty laundry in the hamper.
- Dust the dresser with a damp cloth.
This set of simple instructions makes it clear what exactly they need to be doing.
Consistency through a chore chart and clear deadlines can set expectations up early. Kids will understand what is expected. And if they have a lot of homework or after-school responsibilities, you can be more lenient. However, they need to have a clear reason for not doing their chores other than they just don't want to. It can be helpful to set up clear times everyday chores are done. This makes doing chores become a habit.
Praise, Praise, Praise
Your kids live on praise. So, praise them a lot and praise them consistently for doing a good job. If they put in a little extra effort or did a chore that wasn't on their list, take notice and tell them how much you appreciate it. Give praise when they are doing the chore and when it's done. They will love it and feel proud.
Don't Expect Too Much
Kids aren't going to do their chores perfectly or even close to perfect. And, you might even have to do chores again for the younger ones. Demonstrate to them what you expect and guide them to help them do a better job, but don't take over. They will do a bad job because they know you will step in, and you've lost them. Instead, praise and guide.
Start Chores Early
You might not think a toddler is old enough to do chores, but they are. Starting a responsibility and chore schedule early helps them to get into a habit of doing chores. This can sometimes make tween chores a bit easier. Maybe!
Interesting Ways to Keep Chores Fun for Kids
Unless your kiddo is really into cleaning, then chores are not generally fun for kids. In fact, you tend to hear that resounding groan or sigh went chore time comes. You can try to avoid this by making chores fun. Try out a few of these tips for making chores fun.
- Make cleaning like a scavenger hunt. As a child is dusting or picking up, they might find little stickers or treats.
- Make cleaning into a game. Some kids love a little competition. Set a timer and see who can pick up the most in 5-10 minutes.
- Add fun music when cleaning.
- As they are cleaning, call out fun commands that they must stop and do. Kind of like Simon says, cleaning style.
- Create a personalized cleaning bin for them.
- Create a 30-day cleaning challenge.
- Make fun TikTok videos while doing chores.
The Benefits of Chores for Kids
Getting kids involved in home and lawn care is beneficial to both parents and children. In addition to the obvious -- a cleaner home -- there are many other benefits to getting your kids involved in household chores. For starters, kids who begin learning domestic duties at a young age are more likely to keep a tidy home later in life. Kids who pitch in around the house also feel a tighter sense of family unity; they learn from an early age that they are part of a team. Now it's time to get cleaning!