Which chores are most appropriate for school-age kids?
Real Mom Problem
“My daughter is six-and-a-half years old and about the only thing she helps with is unloading the dishwasher. I feel she needs more responsibility. What do your children help with around the house?”
- 1. Start by having your kids help you out while you're doing a household chore
- 2. Try to resist picking up their toys or putting their clothes in the hamper; instead insist they do it themselves so it becomes a routine
- 3. Have a set time for chores so everyone gets theirs done
- 4. Allow your children to help you if they ask and if the chore is safe to do
Real Mom Solutions
Helping out around the house can teach kids new skills and responsibility. Are you wondering which chores are appropriate for children? See what these moms say!
Find the Right Chores for Their Ages
I usually give our school-age son little tasks like making up his bed, folding his clothes, and cleaning his room, and during the summer I give him a little more. Now he helps me sweep the kitchen, water the plants, and dust the living room a little.
My daughter has to put away her clean laundry, clear her dinner stuff from the table, and clean her room. She sometimes asks to help with other things, like wiping down the kitchen table, sweeping the kitchen floor, dusting, vacuuming, helping empty the dishwasher, and doing the dishes (I don't let her do anything breakable).
I have a 10, nine, six, and five-year-old. They each have specific chores that have to be completed each day, on top of keeping their rooms picked up and putting away their clean laundry that I've washed while they were at school. I've found that having a set time to do these things every day makes it much easier. They know to expect it and they know nothing else happens until chores are done.
My ten-year-old son takes out the garbage (all of the cans, kitchen and bathrooms, daily) and has been doing that since he was about six years old. He also mows the lawn on the weekends and shovels sidewalks when it snows.
My nine-year-old daughter is in charge of cleaning the kids' bathroom with daily wipe-downs and a good thorough scrubbing on the weekends.
My six-year-old daughter dusts the hallway and living areas daily and sets the table.
My five-year-old daughter is in charge of unloading the silverware in the dishwasher and picking up the entryway area, including taking stuff from the entryway to the correct person's room so that the only thing sitting there is a pair of tennis shoes for each person and one coat and backpack on each hook. It gets very cluttered if we don't stay on top of it.
I have a nine-year-old and six-year-old twins. One, they must pick up and put away all their stuff every day. Two, they each have one of the three chores: put dishes away, clean off the dining-room table and sweep the floor, or clean the bathroom countertop and pick up and organize the bathroom. Each task takes less than 10 minutes to do. They can mope all they want but it's such a routine that I usually don't have a problem with them anymore.
My daughter is six years old. She's been helping put away her clean clothes since she was about three. She liked to help sweep the kitchen floor at that age, too -- she didn't do a very good job, but she had fun! She's always had to at least help pick up her toys. She's been putting out the napkins for dinner for quite a while, and now sometimes she does the silverware if I have my son doing something else (that's usually his job). I don't make my kids make their beds, but a three-year-old could help pull up the covers on their bed. If you have a pet, a three-year-old could help feed it. A six-year-old can do all of the above, dust, wipe down the bathroom sinks, empty small trash cans, help empty the dishwasher, and get food and water for a pet.
My three-year-old, five-year-old, and ten-year-old all have chores. My three-year-old picks up her toys and makes her bed. My five-year-old picks up his toys, makes his bed, and helps with outdoor chores. My ten-year-old helps with outdoor chores, makes her bed, and does the dishes three times a week as well as two loads of laundry a week.
Try These Tasks for Younger Kids
My six-year-old son cleans up his room and any toys downstairs every night before bed. He also lets the dog in and out a few times a day, and he empties the bathroom trash can when it's full.
My six-year-old has to feed our dogs twice a day, feed his goldfish, help with his laundry, take the sheets off his bed when they need washing, clean his room every night before bed, and he has to put his dishes in the dishwasher.
My boys are five and six and they have to clean their room, take dirty clothes to the hamper, help load and unload the dishwasher, help put clothes in the washer and dryer, pick up outside toys, and they put away their toys at night before bed.
My kids are five and seven and neither of them have any specific chores that they do all the time. However, we do ask them to help out with things around the house a lot. For example, when my husband and I are having a date night and the babysitter is coming over, as soon as I get home with the kids, they will be helping me straighten up the house before the babysitter arrives. They can clean up the mess of shoes in the foyer while I clean up the kitchen. They can pick up their toys while I straighten other things. I also often have one of them feed the dog when we get home.
It's just stuff like that as it comes up that we have them do. We don't have a schedule and I can't rely on them to remember on their own (especially for things like feeding the dog). I think it still gets the idea across that they have to pitch in and help out with household stuff.