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22 Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids and Ways to Make Sure They Actually Get Done

Devan Mcguinness
Aug. 13, 2015

Setting chores for your children and getting them to do them is easier than it sounds. Find help here.

Is it hard to imagine handing over the laundry pile to your toddler to fold? They might not be able to do more than pile up the socks, but having little ones help with age-appropriate chores for kids can teach them a lot about responsibility. Chores also give them life skills essential for when they're older. But, as most parents know, the struggle to get your child to actually do them can be a real challenge.

Here are a few pointers to have every age kid help out and a few ideas for rewarding their work:

Toddlers
At this stage, 2- to 3-year-olds shouldn't be expected to achieve these to perfection, but praise is key.
 

  1. Feed the Pets
    Keep the food at a level they can reach and use their love for their pet to get them interested in completing their task.
     
  2. Put Dirty Clothes in the Hamper
    Set up a basket in your child's room and make it a game by letting them throw in clothes from across the room.
     
  3. Make Their Bed
    Help your child pull the blanket over their bed and ask them to tuck in a stuffed animal to make it more fun.
     
  4. Stack Books
    When you've finished reading afternoon stories, have your toddler gather the books into a pile or put them in a basket to keep things neat.
     
  5. Get the Diapers and Wipes
    Clap and praise your toddler when they grab these items and it will be the perfect reward for them to complete.
     
  6. Pick Up Toys
    Label the bins with pictures of what goes inside and they'll master sorting.


Preschoolers
Between ages 3 and 5, a child can take on more responsibilities, but keeping things simple and fun will help them out.
 

  1. Set the Table
    Put the plates and cups out on the counter to serve as a reminder to your child.
     
  2. Match and Fold Socks
    Place all the socks in a large bin with their favorite TV show on and ask them to finish it before the episode is over.
     
  3. Simple Meal Prep
    Make it seem like this is a "grown-up" task, and it will help your child feel like they're helping more than working when they put breakfast out on the table.
     
  4. Dust the Furniture
    Make a deal that you'll dust higher items like shelves if they tackle larger (unbreakable) items like furniture -- then make it a race!
     
  5. Clean the Table
    Keep a washcloth handy so when they're finished eating, they can just grab and wipe. Be sure to say "thank you" after they're done.
     
  6. Water the Houseplants
    If your child feels like the plants are theirs, they'll be willing to help keep them alive. Sweeten the deal by investing in a real watering can instead of a plain drinking glass.
     
  7. Gather the Garbage
    Make a game out of emptying wastebaskets by playing some music and see if they can empty them all before the song is over.
     
  8. Put Away Shoes and Coats
    Add a photo of each child above a coat hook to designate a special spot just for them. Have their shoes go in the same place and remind your child when they get inside to put them away.


Grade-Schoolers
This age group may be more hesitant to do their chores, but using rewards can be a great motivator for 5- to 10-year-olds.
 

  1. Sort More Than Socks
    Allow your child to watch TV while they sort the family's laundry or make it a reward to play on the iPad when they're done. For This Season has a great step-by-step on how to fold laundry.
     
  2. Get the Mail
    Ask your child to bring in the mail each day after school and be consistent so it's a structured part of their routine. Increase the fun factor by challenging him to skip, dance or run to the mailbox and back.
     
  3. Vacuum and Mop Floors
    Post a chore chart with their task of clearly labeled. Be sure they know how to use the tools and choose a vacuum and mop that aren't too big for your kids. Learn more by reading A Chore Chart for Kids.
     
  4. Take Out the Garbage
    Teach them how to tie the bag up and show them where to bring it. Consider giving your child a small weekly allowance if they've done all their chores for the week.
     
  5. Clear the Table
    Set a little reward after they cleared the table, like being able to choose the TV show they watch before bed.
     
  6. Load the Dishwasher
    Make sure your kids know how to put the dishes and glasses in each rack. Tell them how much you appreciate their help when they are done.
     
  7. Walk the Dog
    Allow your child to play outside for a little extra time after they're done.
     
  8. Put Groceries Away
    Reward your child with a small snack that they've been looking forward to once all the food is put away.


Chores for kids doesn't have to be stressful for the whole family. Consistency and modeling how to complete each chore will help your child finish their tasks and take pride in helping out the family - and check out the Top 22 Chore Chart Ideas to help track success!

Devan McGuinness is a Toronto-based freelance writer who specializes in parenting and lifestyle topics. Keep up to date with this homeschooling mom of four on Twitter.

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