A Chore Guide for the Ages! (Literally)

Hiiiii-eeeee! Remember me?

I could go on and on about where I’ve been and what we’ve been doing over the past 4ish months…and maybe I will…eventually. I have several beginnings of “catch-up” posts saved in drafts, but, suffice it to say, we have been living life and doing it so prodigiously that I have not felt the freedom or even the need (quite like in the past) to document that here.

If, however, you are interested in keeping up with at least a small portion of the minutiae of our day-to-day, I do post very regularly on Instagram. I even posted what I ate for lunch. See? Min-u-tiae.

ANYhoo, as awkward as it might be to just jump in with both feet and ignore the fact that we haven’t chatted in a while, I’m going to do just that, assuming that we’re the kind of friends who can go months without talking and then pick right up where we left off. Sound cool?

Cool.

Without further ado, I give you the topic du jour: CHORES.

Fuuuunnn, right?

But I posted on something on training your children to be helpful to Instagram a few weeks back, and as a P.S., I asked if it might be helpful to make a list of the chores my children can do by age category. WELL. Let’s just say this: when the response to the P.S. (at the end of a long paragraph already #loquatious) is that overwhelming, you kind of haveto blog about it.

ALTHOUGH! As always, I write this with the giant disclaimer that I’m no expert on any of this. I am simply relaying what works for our family, and if it happens to work for you too, great!

So! Here you have it: a somewhat complete, though certainly not exhaustive, list of jobs that our children help out with and at which age.

**If I don’t RE-mention a chore from a younger age, it’s not because I think it’s no longer age appropriate. It’s because, if they could do it as a 5-year-old, they should be able to do it as a 10-year-old too. :)

1-year-old+

Throw away/fetch diapers

Fetch/put away shoes

Put away books

Wipe up spills

Pick up toys and put in basket

Help look for lost items (ahem: paci + blankie)

chores

(Getting a bit ahead of themselves. Pretty sure toddlers making dinner wasn’t on my list)

*I require very little of this from an 18-month-old, but if the opportunity arises, and the mess is there for the cleaning, I encourage my little bitties to pitch in. 

3-years-old+

Put away plastic dishes

Tidy room (with supervision)

Carry laundry to correct rooms

Use handheld vacuum to clean up crumbs

Stack/organize “like” things (books, cards, game pieces, pencils, etc.)

Clear place at table

Wipe down surfaces (cabinets, small tables, etc.)

Feed animals

Help clean out car

Fetch clothes for younger siblings (just don’t complain if they don’t match!)

Scrub small/detailed surfaces with toothbrushes (they LOVE this!)

5-years-old+

Set table

Unload/put away dishes

Dust with Swiffer/rag

Polish appliances with water/microfiber cloths

Clean windows (it’s not pretty, but they might end up less smudgy than they started)

Put away laundry

Clean room thoroughly (with supervision)

Empty small trash cans + replace bags

Fold towels/washcloths

Match socks

Make own/others’ snack or lunch (PBJ, turkey sandwich, wash grapes, etc.)

Tidy common areas (replace throw pillows, look for small toys, pick up trash. etc.)

7-years-old+

Fold all categories of clothing

Vacuum

Sweep

Scrub toilets/bathtubs

More detailed scrubbing of things like high chairs, drawer interiors, floor trim, etc.

Put away groceries

Clean mirrors with microfiber cloths + water

Tidy house exterior (fallen sticks, shoes, stray balls, forgotten toys, etc.)

Weed flowerbeds

Cook simple foods with supervision (scrambled eggs, banana toast, pancakes, etc.)

Help dress younger children

chores1

9-years-old+

Make simple dinners with supervision (spaghetti, breakfast for dinner, DIY pizza, casseroles, etc.)

Change diapers (this doesn’t happen often and almost never a poop diaper, but sometimes you need all hands on deck, and, let me assure you, kids are perfectly capable of changing a diaper)

Dust light fixtures

Mop floors

Vacuum out car

Wipe down all kitchen surfaces well

Scrub dishes/load dishwasher

Thoroughly clean rooms (dust, sweep, vacuum, mop, wipe down, straighten)

Empty large trash + take out trash

chores2

11-years-old+

Mow lawn

Weed eat

Make dinner unsupervised (this does not mean that an adult is not present…just not hovering)

Water plants

Help move furniture

Clean out refrigerator

Make beds well

Do laundry from start to finish

Clean off patio areas with blowers

Paint

Sand

Help build things

Change light bulbs, batteries, filters, etc.

chores3

I am SURE that I’ve forgotten lots of good opportunities to help out, but I still feel like I’ve touched on the most obvious ones. Also, you may look at this list and think: “Ppshaw! My kid could totally do that early. Or my kid would totally do that later.”

That, of course, is fine. It’s all fairly fluid, depending your kids’ personalities and maturity levels. This is not some sort of chore chart gospel, of course. Merely a set of (hopefully) useful guidelines. And, no, my children don’t do all of these chores every day. (And, yes, I know this is a LOT of disclaimers. Just trying to cover my bases, folks).

So, now it’s your turn. Hit me with some of the chores your kids do and at what age. I may get some new ideas for mine! (Insert evil cackle).

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8 thoughts on “A Chore Guide for the Ages! (Literally)

  1. I struggle having the patience to teach them how and allow mistakes–in the short term it’s so much faster to do it myself. Obviously, I know in the long run it’s better to take time to teach them and be okay with it not being done perfectly. And I am sometimes amazed at how much kids actually like helping out around the house and taking responsibility for certain tasks. It’s still a struggle, though. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Hi there! Love following your blog and Instagram account. We have chickens so our chores also include collecting eggs from 4 years old and on. My older kids(9 years plus) have their own laundry day that they share with their room buddy on their chore list, and we HAVE to put shower on our chore list because sadly that is always a fight over here with 4 boys!

    Question off topic! How are your laminate floors holding up? We are looking at the same flooring you used in your house and I am wondering how the floors are doing awhile after installation. We have 5 kids and lots of guests and rowdiness :)

  3. I love that looking for paci and blankie made the list! Our 15 month old is very good at finding his missing paci!
    I have found some children are just better at certain jobs. My 6 year old used to match socks, but is better at folding towels because they require/allow more movement for his active body. The three year old on the other hand, is amazing at matching the socks.
    I feel like it is good for children to be able to do many chores, but play to their strengths. We randomly switch chores for a day so they are used to and willing to do other chores.
    Thanks for sharing this information with us!

  4. These are such helpful ideas! We’ve been trying to think of a chore for our 5 year old that would actually take something off our plate and she’d be motivated to do (previously she wiped down the fridge but no one cared enough about it to be consistent!) we landed on sweeping up under the breakfast table with a hand broom. Though I have to get used to it being done even if not done perfectly :) Our 3 year old loves his special chore of restocking the bathrooms with toilet paper – usually when someone realizes too late there is none left, they just give him a holler and he delivers!

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