How to Determine Age Appropriate Chores

Stephanie Figy
Written by Stephanie Figy
Updated March 19, 2015
chores for kids
Professionals recommend guiding your child through chores before asking them to perform the tasks themselves. (Illustration by Matt Mukerjee)

Many hands make light work, which is why most people remember sorting laundry or doing the dishes as a child.

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But doing chores also teaches valuable lessons. If you’re thinking about making a chore chart for your kids, read on to find out how to assess what tasks they can handle.

Benefits of chores for kids

Starting chores at a young age instills confidence, independence and a sense of responsibility into children. “Chores also teach children to be a part of a team and contribute to the family as a whole,” says Alexis Rubin, owner of highly rated Funktional Home in Littleton, Colorado. “A major goal in parenting is to raise a child to be a contributing member of society. There’s no better place to start that than learning how to chip in at home.”

Susan Wade, owner of Sunflower Strategies Organizing Services in Houston, adds that accomplishing household chores helps boost kids’ self-esteem.

Considering capabilities

Wade recommends guiding children through the chore at least twice before letting them tackle it on their own. “You want them to be successful, so be sure that you ask them to do things they are physically able to handle,” she adds. She says to consider what they can lift and how high they can reach.

Rubin says another way to gauge what kids are capable of is by basing it off what they are expected to do at school. “If a child can put their toys away in a preschool classroom, they can put them away at home too,” she says. “If children are expected to clean off their desk with a rag and soap and water at school, then they can clear the dinner table and wipe it off at home too.”

As your children get older, Rubin says you’ll have a better sense of what they can do. All kids are different, so she says to make sure you really assess what your child can handle.

Looking for some chore ideas? Check out this infographic for a list of chores for different age ranges

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