Age Appropriate Chores While Kids Are Home For the Summer
You know what they say: it takes a village to raise kids. Likewise, it takes a village to keep your house clean! Some parents wait to get the kids involved with chores until they are older, and others choose to start them young. Whatever your preference, we can help.
Chores don’t have to be long, drawn-out tasks. There are chores for kids of every age; sometimes you just have to get a little creative (and demonstrate a little patience). Getting kids involved in routine cleaning chores is the perfect way to teach valuable life skills while getting more done around the house. Bonus!
When choosing age-appropriate chores for kids, don’t just pay attention to how old they are. Consider mental maturity, physical ability, as well as level of interest. When you take the time to pick the right job for the right kid, you both have a much greater chance of success.
Chores for Toddlers
You’ll want to start your younger kids off with chores you can do together. Toddlers require a little extra help and it’ll motivate them if you keep things light and fun. Even though you’ll spend more one-on-one time doing chores at this level, the quality time together and the positive habits you can create will be well worth the effort. Choose chores that show clear, visible progress to create a sense of accomplishment. For instance, an empty dog bowl that gets filled with food.
Age Appropriate Chores for Toddlers
- Make the bed together
- Clean up toys and other belongings
- Gather dirty clothes and put them in the hamper
- Feed your pets together
- Help with any messes or spills
- Get the mail or newspaper together
Chores for Preschoolers
Around the ages of four or five, kids still love to help and crave quality time with their parents. The best part about this age group is that after a while, most kids can quickly take over their responsibilities with more limited supervision. Though the type of chore will be a little more advanced, you’ll still want to focus on chores where they can see progress or get immediate gratification.
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Age Appropriate Chores for Preschoolers
- Set and clear the table
- Help load the dishwasher – For more fun, wash dishes together the old-fashioned way
- Cook together – This can get messy but kids love to measure ingredients
- Keep their room and play areas picked up
- Mop and sweep together – A kid-sized broom really adds to the fun with this one
- Help switch the laundry and start learning to fold it together
Chores for Six to Eight-Year-Olds
At this age, children start to crave independence. You’ll notice them wanting to open wrappers on their own or asking to buckle their own seat belts. Keep that in mind when you assign their chores. At this age, along with independence, you’ll want to start considering their level of motivation. This is also an age group that wants to make up their own minds. Try to assign them chores they can enjoy (or at least don’t hate).
Age Appropriate Chores for Six to Eight-Year-Olds
- Take out the trash and separate the recycling
- Fold and put away laundry – Start with their own laundry, then work your way up
- Help younger siblings with their chores
- Feed and water pets daily and independently – If your pet has a specific feeding schedule, set an alarm to remind them
- Vacuum, sweep, and mop the floors
- Dust with microfiber cloths – Skip the furniture sprays
Chores for Preteens
Kids aged nine to twelve have a firm grasp of cause and effect, and they’re also developing an appreciation of routines with clear expectations. Letting preteens help with choosing their chores and the day on which they’re completed gives them a sense of ownership. It’ll go a long way toward keeping their interest. Any of the chores we listed previously will work for this age group, but keep in mind the desire to prove their independence and increasing capabilities are strong. You may be better off giving them chores that require more effort and skill.
Age Appropriate Chores for Preteens
- Carry in and put away the groceries
- Help wash the car
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Prepare meals together – Don’t be afraid to let them take the lead once they get going
- Rake leaves, pick up debris and other yard work
- Clean windows – Be mindful of potentially harmful substances in cleaning solutions
Chores for Teenagers
Most teens can take on nearly any chore as long as they know how to do it. But with this increased capability comes a hurdle parents must prepare for if they want to keep things rolling. You’ll want to monitor your teens’ busy schedules and activities because you don’t want to overwhelm them. Also keep in mind the amount of homework they may have once the summer is over. Even with the right incentives and good planning, teens can quickly come to resent chores if they feel overloaded. When you plan well and stay tuned-in to your teen’s frame of mind, you can delegate many “grown-up” chores successfully.
Age Appropriate Chores for Teenagers
- Clean the bathrooms – Again, be mindful of potentially harmful cleaners
- Change out light bulbs, indoor air filters, and vacuum cleaner bags
- Do the laundry independently
- Clean out refrigerators and clean other appliances
- Create grocery lists and help with the shopping
- Other routine maintenance and cleaning
Chores for Kids Equals Responsibility and Accountability
Although each age group presents its own challenges, kids of all ages benefit from taking responsibility for chores. Research shows children who are responsible for chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration. These benefits contribute to more success in school and in adult life later on.
- Being responsible for chores gives kids an increased sense of belonging. Their contributions to the family teach them that teamwork and helping others is an important part of healthy relationships.
- Holding kids accountable for their chores increases their perception of themselves and increases confidence, which can lead them to seek more responsibility.
Tips for Parents
By making things fun and rewarding kids appropriately, you’ll have a better chance of success. But sometimes you’ll encounter resistance. Here are a few tips to keep things moving.
Work with a schedule and a cleaning chart. Kids will learn how to prioritize and manage their time. It’ll also add to the sense of instant gratification that some kids need as well as allow them to track their progress.
Relax your expectations. It’s the journey, not the destination. If you want kids to learn a valuable lesson, teach them that it is okay when things aren’t “perfect.” Sometimes you have to realize that “good” is good enough.
Build on their success. You’ll notice that the chores we listed became progressively more difficult and required more skill. As children learn, provide consistent positive reinforcement and let them do a little bit more each time. As humans, we weren’t born already knowing how to walk. We had to work at it, and eventually, not only could we walk…we could run.
Reward. Reward. Reward. Simon Sinek, a speaker and author often says, “What gets rewarded gets repeated.” Praise even the smallest success. Kids love praise and for younger children that may be the best incentive of all, so don’t wait until the chore is complete. Keep their enthusiasm alive by giving them an “A” for effort. Other rewards could include stickers on a chore chart, additional time with electronics, candy, or even allowances.
Remember That Everyone Needs a Break
Don’t spend your entire summer creating charts and assigning chores for kids. Make sure to also spend quality time with your family other than just cleaning. When you’re ready for that break, we’re here to help. Just pick up the phone and call The Maids.