Chores for Children
We recently found the following guide to age-appropriate chores for children:
While having a guide can be a really useful starting point, we wanted to update the list to make it more relevant for a modern family in the UK. You can have a look at our list below.
Getting your child to help with the housework will not only save you time and energy in the long run but will also help them learn important and practical life skills such as cooking and cleaning.
Children will need some supervision when they first try new chores, and you can’t expect them to do anything perfectly the first time (or indeed the second or third time) around. They will learn best from copying, so we suggest first letting your child help alongside you, then slowly withdrawing the amount of support you give them.
Giving chores as a punishment can cause children to think that work is a negative thing, so it is best to avoid this. Instead, you can keep track of how much your child has helped out this week with a star chart, which will help motivate them to continue doing chores as well. Children can also do chores to earn pocket money, helping them learn the value of hard work.
NOTE: Please remember that children do mature at different rates, so the ages are a rough indication only (based on a child’s physical ability and understanding).
With all chores, do not let young children near dangerous objects, such as sharp knives or household cleaners.
Chores for 2-3-year-olds
1. Putting their coat and shoes away when they come home
2. Helping make the bed by putting sheets and pillows in the correct place
3. Setting out and collecting safe cutlery (i.e. not knives, or anything breakable or heavy) at mealtimes
4. Clearing away toys and books
5. Putting laundry in the basket
6. Matching pairs of socks
7. Dusting non-fragile areas such as furniture (without polish)
8. Watering garden plants (a small watering can or plastic cup will make this easier for them)
Chores for 4-5 year olds
9. Pouring breakfast cereal (warning: be prepared for them to make a mess!)
10. Helping make meals – mixing/pouring, tearing up lettuce, spreading butter on bread (do not let them use anything sharp or touch anything hot)
11. Helping wash and dry the dishes/cutlery (not sharp or breakable objects – for example, they could help with plastic plates/cups)
12. Giving pets food and water – it may be useful to have a small scoop to help your child measure out the food
13. Helping with younger siblings (e.g. feeding, dressing, entertaining)
14. Sweeping up with a hand broom
15. Carry in (light) food shopping and help put it away
16. Pulling weeds (you will need to tel your child which ones are weeds and which are flowers!)
Chores for 6-7 year olds
17. Helping make their own lunch (sandwiches etc.)
18. Pouring own drink (into a plastic cup in case of an accident – you can also get your child to practice pouring with bath toys or outside, where it doesn’t matter if they make a mess)
19. Wipe kitchen counters (if they can reach!)
20. Folding and putting away the laundry (demonstrate first and remember, they may not do it as well as you!)
21. Sweeping with a large broom
24. Emptying small wastepaper bins (i.e. not bins with food waste etc.)
25. Helping wash the car
Chores for 8-9 year olds
26. Making a cup of tea (for you!)
27. Using a microwave to reheat food
28. Unloading the dishwasher
29. Independently tidying their room
30. Taking washed laundry out of the washing machine and putting it into a basket
Chores for 10-11 year olds
31. Making meals with some help – they can start using the cooker but will need supervision
32. Cleaning the bathroom (wiping down but not using household cleaning products)
33. Using the washing machine and tumble dryer
Chores for 12-year-olds and upwards
34. Preparing meals independently
35. Replacing light bulbs
36. Cleaning out kitchen appliances (such as the fridge)
37. Washing windows
It is important to keep in mind that children will make mistakes and probably a bit of mess too when they are helping out with these chores. But this is all a part of their learning, and it is much better for your child to develop these skills while they are young as it will improve their independence in later life.