Grab your free printable chart of chores for kids by age here. And if you have your doubts about this chart working, you need these tips for success!
Is it a constant struggle to get your kids to help out around the house?
It’s true that we keep ourselves busy worrying over details that, in the long run, just don’t matter. In the chaos of life, just doing everything yourself is easier.
But is it better?
Guys. Getting your kids to learn responsibility is a fight worth having.
But don’t worry! I’ve got some tips that will make this fight a little less of a battle on both sides.
It’s all about setting realistic expectations of the right household chores for kids and following through.
Here’s how to do it.
How to Find the Right Chores for Kids
Why Chores Are Important
Maybe you don’t need to be sold on why kids should have chores. But if you skip the rest of this section, remember this:
Kids deserve a Mom that isn’t feeling overwhelmed and crazy.
If you’ve put yourself in charge of doing every single thing for every child in your house, you won’t have the energy to be a happy mom.
Most children are capable of cleaning up after themselves better than we give them credit for.
I often think of the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Farmer Boy. The children were expected to keep up the entire farm while their parents went to visit relatives for an entire week!
We live in different times, of course. But my point is, don’t let your kids make you think they aren’t capable of doing simple cleaning jobs.
Let’s prepare our kids for the real world by teaching these life skills. They should be experts in nearly all household tasks before they begin college.
Responsibility is a skill that will help them thrive in any line of work.
Set Them Up for Success
Here are a few rules I’ve learned about getting kids to do their chores.
Before you pass out any chore assignment, make sure they know how to do it.
Asking them to sweep a floor without showing them a few simple steps (here’s how I hold the dust pan so the dirt doesn’t go everywhere) causes problems.
You might think they know how to sweep because they’ve seen you do it a thousand times. But usually, they need pointers.
Let’s say you just emptied and reorganized an entire closet, and you’re wiped out. You sit down on the couch and ask the kids to finish up tidying the room.
That rest is totally deserved! But here’s what your kids see; Mom is sitting down doing nothing while she asks me to do all the work. That’s not fair!
And yes, the “life isn’t fair” lecture is valid. But this isn’t the time for it.
Work alongside your kids. If they know how to sweep a floor, you don’t have to sweep with them.
But if they see you washing dishes while they sweep, they’ll feel like you’re both making contributions to the family.
I always get fewer arguments from my kids when they see that I’m working, too.
Make Sure It Gets Done
Life would be beautiful if we could just ask once for something and know it would be done. But sadly, that just isn’t the case.
Somewhere, there are (probably) children who obey immediately without any follow up.
But I don’t personally know any. Without consequences and follow through, most kids won’t complete the chores you give them.
It’s not necessarily malicious.
Ask a child to clean their room, and you’re putting them in a place with a thousand distractions. That’s where everything they love the most is kept!
Of course they’re going to be drawn to their favorite things.
Here are a few tricks to making sure the chores happen:
Timing Is Everything
When will the chores be done? If there is a time of the day when you personally do chores, it’s natural to ask the kids to pitch in at that time, too.
Otherwise, meal time is a great trigger.
“We’ll eat as soon as the living room is clean” is an easy consequence. By doing this, you give them a time limit to get the job done.
Plus, meal time is one thing few people ever forget. Associating chores with meals means you won’t forget to do them.
Screen time is always an easy “chores timer” in our home.
My kids will do almost anything to earn 30 minutes of screen time! And they always get it done quickly and correctly the first time (so they don’t have to keep doing it) when they can immediately do something fun.
Try putting marbles in a jar for every chore completed. A full jar means a fun outing!
Check It Out
Set a timer. When time is up, go see what each child accomplished.
If they did the job correctly, great!
When parts of the job aren’t quite right, remind them how they can do it better. And watch them rework it.
If they completely blew off the job, you’ll have more work ahead of you. But remember that it’s worth the extra effort you put into your kids.
If they blow off their work, try this:
Stay with them while they complete the job. Set a timer you both can see so they know how long they have to complete the task.
If they still refuse to work, you can try an old Army exercise. For instance, if kids won’t put their clothes away, practice putting clothes away. Empty their entire dresser. Then have them refold everything they own and put clothes away in drawers.
It’s ok to repeat this step as necessary, but you’ll need to talk them calmly through this step so it isn’t an empty exercise in frustration.
(I would only use the redo it method for older children…let’s say 8 and up.)
If that fails to work, it’s time to tomato stake them.
That means you keep the child at your side all day long. This way you can keep an eye on them and talk with them about the importance of respect and responsibility in a family.
Age Appropriate Chores Chart
Choosing chores that match the abilities of your kids is the best way to get all the work done in a timely manner.
A Mom once told me to give any chore to the youngest kid capable of doing it. That helps everyone learn new things and keeps you from automatically asking your oldest to do everything.
So below is a list of age appropriate chores for children.
Depending on the maturity and size of your children, you may find that some of these jobs need to be moved to a different age grouping.
But don’t let the kids talk you out of work. Remember, they are capable of more than you think. You just have to teach them!
Print this Chores for Kids By Age chores chart and use it to help you decide the tasks someone else can handle.
Just click the picture to open a printable pdf!
These chores for kids are realistic things your children need to know in this world.
What chores do you assign your kids?