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Health and Fitness News

Chores for Children

Do your kids have chores? They should.

Who does the chores in your home? If chores are an adult-only activity, it’s time to change. When mom and dad do all the cooking and cleaning, kids miss out on valuable life skills, the satisfaction of a job well-done, and feeling like they’re part of the family. After all, what happens when a teenager moves out of the house and hasn’t learned how to do their own laundry, clean a bathroom, or mow the lawn? The teenager enters adulthood lacking confidence and ill-prepared to deal with real life. Whose fault is that? Yours.

But it’s not just the kids who suffer when they don’t do chores. Mom and dad suffer too. Parents may feel overwhelmed, overworked, and stressed by the mess. Sound familiar? Then you know it’s true.

Don’t underestimate what kids are capable of doing. When kids are old enough to walk and talk they’re old enough to start helping around the house. As children grow, their chore list adapts as parents teach them new skills. Here’s a reasonable list of chores kids can do, broken down by age group.

Ages 2 to 3 Years

Toddlers learn by copying what they see others doing. They won’t be too much help around the house at this young age, but they can help when it’s time to pick up toys off the floor and put them away. Additionally, young children can help make their bed, put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket, or put books on the shelf. If they’ve got toy brooms and dustpans, let your little ones can even help clean up small messes.

Ages 4 to 5 Years

Preschool-age children like to please their parents. With increase hand-eye coordination and ability to follow instructions, preschoolers should continue doing the chores they’re already doing as well as starting to make their own bed, help set and clear the table, get dressed by themselves, wash plastic dishes, water plants, help sort laundry, match socks, feed and water a pet, clean their bedroom with supervision, and help unload groceries. Will each of these activities take longer when letting your child do them? Yes. But the payoff in a few years is worth it.

Ages 6 to 9 Years

Depending on their personality, school-age kids may start to resist the idea of chores and try to assert their independence, but they should still be responsible for helping around the house. In addition to the chores already listed, kids ages 6 to 9 should be able to brush their teeth, comb their hair, vacuum, sweep, dust, wet mop, fold laundry, put away clean clothes, unload the dishwasher, help prepare meals, empty the trash, and walk the dog.

Ages 10 to 13 Years

Middle schoolers often give their parents grief over chores. Don’t give up! A chore chart may help keep kids on task. At this age, kids should be able to do the dishes, load the dishwasher, help prepare meals, do their own laundry, babysit younger siblings, clean their rooms, do homework on their own, wake up to an alarm clock, clean the bathroom, take the trash to the curb, rake leaves, wash windows, and change their bed sheets.

Ages 14 Years and Beyond

By the time kids finish high school, they should be able to do all the household chores parents are able to do. The high school years are the time parents should make sure their kids are prepared to leave the home, live on their own, and care for their own home. This is the age when kids should be able to do all the chores already listed as well as mow the lawn, do yard work, iron clothes, prepare meals, go grocery shopping, sew on a button, clean out the refrigerator, and do basic car maintenance.