When I was a kid, my family’s backyard was home to two peach trees. They stood tall and sturdy, and my sisters and I spent many an afternoon climbing the trees and feasting on fresh fruit. The peaches were sweet; the perfect treat after long summer days spent exploring outside.
The trees grew a lot of fruit though, and it was impossible to eat every one (even for four ravenous kiddos and our friends). The peaches that we left on the branches eventually rotted and fell to the ground, littering the backyard lawn. It seemed nearly impossible to keep the lawn clean.
So, my parents gave us a chore. Every week, my sisters and I would spend a few minutes outside, picking up the rotten peaches. We got a nickel for every one we picked up. The trees have since been cut down, but the memories made as we worked are still some of my favorites.
Just as my sisters and I helped pick up peaches, kids can do chores and help around the house from an early age. There are tons of benefits to including your children in the cleaning process (in addition to creating less work for yourself). As Verywell Family notes, giving kids household chores inspires higher self-esteem, emphasizes the importance of organization, and builds foundational teamwork skills.
However, it can be difficult to know exactly what tasks your child can help with. After all, your middle schooler can probably do chores that your littler ones can’t. That’s why we at Troomi put together a handy list of chores for kids, grouped by age, to inspire your kiddos to roll up their sleeves and start helping out.
Chores for Toddlers (2–3)
You may not think to include toddlers in the weekly chores. After all, they only recently discovered how to use their legs! However, toddlers are some of the best household helpers. Once they learn how to walk and grab objects, simple chores become a piece of cake. Including your toddlers in chores also gives them some necessary practice picking up and carrying items, improving their fine and gross motor skills in the process. Chores can also provide your child with a powerful sense of purpose and teach them responsibility. Check out these toddler-friendly tasks:
- Dusting shelves and tables
- Wiping up spills
- Picking up clutter from the floor
- Placing dirty clothes in the hamper
- Putting toys away
- Helping load the washer and dryer
- Filling a pet’s food dish (but make sure you measure out the food)
Chores for Preschoolers (4–5)
By the time your child is ready for preschool, their hand-eye coordination and motor skills have likely improved. While they may not have a perfect grasp on things yet (pun not intended), this improved coordination means that they can handle more responsibilities. Kids this age may even enjoy helping with chores! After all, they get to spend time with the coolest person ever—their parent. Here are some tasks to include your preschooler in:
- Watering plants
- Pulling weeds
- Picking up fallen fruit
- Matching socks
- Carrying light objects around (groceries, books when dusting)
- Putting away utensils
- Cleaning their room
- Making the bed
- Bringing in the mail
Chores for Early Elementary School Kids (6–9)
When I taught first grade, our classroom was an all-hands-on-deck space. The other teachers and I assigned each student a chore that they were responsible for completing at the end of the day. Before the bell rang, we spent fifteen minutes dusting, sweeping, and feeding the class fish. My students loved helping us teachers clean and, surprisingly, cleaning the toilet was their favorite job! Take a look at these jobs for elementary aged kids:
- Feeding pets
- Taking pets on short walks around the neighborhood
- Outdoor yard work (gardening is so beneficial for kids—click here to learn more)
- Wiping the kitchen after a meal
- Dusting shelves and bookcases
- Emptying and loading the dishwasher
- Folding and putting away laundry
- Cleaning the bathroom
Chores for Middle School Kids (10–15)
When kids make the jump to double digits, they may start to complain about helping around the house. Be patient with your kiddos and have an open conversation about your expectations. Remind them about the importance of a clean living space and work with them to develop a regular chore schedule. Following a consistent routine allows kids to manage their expectations and plan time for their preferred activities—because nothing is more important than having some fun! Your middle schooler is capable of all the previously listed chores as well as these:
- Packing their lunch
- Making simple meals
- Starting the washer and dryer
- Taking out the trash
- Sewing buttons
- Helping parents with household repairs
- Organizing their closet
Chores for High School Kids (16+)
High school kids are on the border of adulthood, and their increased responsibilities around the house should reflect this growth. Older teens are capable of completing the same chores as adults—they likely just need some guidance.
A little guidance goes a long way. That’s why smartphones from Troomi Wireless guide your children to develop a healthy, non-addictive relationship with their devices. Click here to discover why Troomi is the best cell phone for kids, then encourage your teen to get familiar with these tasks:
- Mowing the lawn
- Edging the lawn
- Deep cleaning the kitchen
- Deep cleaning the bathroom
- Taking care of pets
- Babysitting younger kids
- Running errands (once they can drive or maneuver public transit)
Chores Aren’t All Bad
Not all chores are as fun as climbing trees and picking peaches, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. After all, helping around the house inspires children to develop a good work ethic and teamwork skills from a young age. So next time you have laundry to fold or a fish to feed, encourage your kiddo to help you out. Who knows—they may even enjoy it!