What chores are appropriate for my ___ year old?

April 29, 2016

Posted by Lisa Lomasney

Age-appropriate chores and encouragement can promote helpfulness in your home

During the month of May, our teachers are talking to children about this month's CORE Values character trait: Helpfulness.  We promote children working together to complete tasks and helping clean up after themselves and prepare their nap areas.  These types of skills can begin to be chores at home as long as you consider what is age-appropriate for your child and their personal abilities.  Through adding a few simple tasks to their daily responsible, your child can help to contribute to the family and learn how to be responsible for their own things and pets. 

Note: When beginning a chore schedule, be sure to consider what your child is capable of to avoid frustration on both your part and your child's as well as how much time should be devoted to chores on a daily basis (children should not complete all of the chores listed below daily).



Toddlers love being little helpers but their "help" may sometimes lead to more work for their parents.  Consider keeping their enthusiasm with a chore chart with a special experience or treat rewarding their efforts.  Some chores can be modified to be completed by a parent-child team until they master the process and can do it independently.  When a toddler is completing these chores, be sure to encourage them even if their work isn't exactly perfect.

  • Help make the bed
  • Pick up toys and books - Help this process by labeling boxes and totes so children can put things back in the right place
  • Place their dirty laundry in a hamper and/or take laundry to the laundry room - Be sure to monitor the weight of the laundry basket or bag being carried or dragged by your tot
  • Help feed pets
  • Help wipe up messes



Most preschoolers love individual time with their parents - this can be especially true if there are younger siblings.  Take some time one-on-one with your preschooler to teach them new chores and responsibilities.  Most chores at this age can be independent from a parent.  Some parents begin offering an allowance to children for completing chores at this age; however, a sticker chart working towards a special experience or small toy can be successful at this age as it was with toddlers.

  • Set the table - Consider making placemats that show where the items should be.  If your child colors on a paper placement, you can have them laminated at an office supply store such as Office Max for a reasonable fee to keep them nice.
  • Clear the table - Pay attention to any sharp utensils or weights of bowls and serving trays when beginning this chore
  • Help in preparing food - Depending on the meal's menu, preschoolers can help toss a salad, stir in ingredients, and (with an adult's help) use a mixer
  • Putting away groceries - Consider your child's height in which items they are putting away and make labels for your pantry and fridge to prompt where things should be placed to make this job efficient and easy


School Age

At this age, children begin to want more independence.  Parents can promote this by giving responsibility and tasks for the older children in the home to complete without parent supervision.  Keeping track of the work completed and providing appropriate encouragement or rewards will encourage your child to continue to find more ways to be helpful around the house.

  • Make their bed independently each morning
  • Take care of pets - Depending on what type of pets you have this could include brushing, bathing, cleaning their cage, and feeding
  • Vacuum - By the time that your child is in elementary school, he or she should be able to handle operating a vacuum
  • Laundry - If your child hasn't already started folding, hanging, and putting away their laundry, when they enter elementary school this can be part of their routine.  A labeled hanging closet organizer can allow for outfits to be organized for the school day ahead of time.  Your school-ager should be able to choose or help choose their outfits.
  • Loading the dishwasher
  • Packing of their lunch - School-age children can pack their own lunch to their parents' specifications as part of their routine.  With some guidance in regards to how many of which items they can take (ex: must take 1 piece of fruit, can only take 1 snack item from the snacks drawer, must choose a 100% juice pouch), a child can pick out a well-balanced meal with something from all food groups.


If once you've established your list of expected chores for your child you would like a chore chart, check out FreePrintableBehaviorCharts.com for selections of chore charts featuring popular characters such as Lightning McQueen (from Cars), Big Hero 6, Tangled, and more.



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