Getting Started with Chores

Getting Started with Chores

Start young.  Ease into the process.

Offer much praise.  This is your child’s greatest reward: Your approval. 

Don’t insist on perfection.  You can insist on completion without demanding perfection.

Be specific about the chores.  Develop a list indicating the chore, the deadline, and a box to check when completed.

Here are some first steps in teaching the benefits of industriousness. 

Give your young child some regular “Help Me” household chores to do around the house.  You can start be saying, “Johnny, it is your job to _____ every day.  This will help Mommy so much.”  Your display of satisfaction is payment enough at this age.  Post a list of chores in the kitchen.  Show your child how to check off the items as they are done; this gives satisfaction. 

  • Help me set the table (Start with simple tasks and add as appropriate)
    • Put the salt and pepper shakers on the table.
    • Put the cups on the dinner table
    • Put the forks and spoons on the table
  • Help me feed the dog
    • Fill his water bowl
    • Fill his food bowl
  • Help me make the beds
    • Put the blankets and pillows back on the bed each morning when you wake.
  • Help me keep your room neat
    • Before naptime and bedtime pick up your toys and put them in the toy box or on the self.

Consider adding the chores listed at the following ages: [1]

Age 2-3 Years
  • Bedroom:
    • Help make bed
    • Pick up toys in room (with help)
    • Put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Kitchen:
    • Help clear the table
Age 4 Years
  • Bedroom:
    • Make own bed: pull up bed spread, straighten pillow
    • Pick up toys and tidy room routinely
  • Kitchen:
    • Help set dinner table: napkins, silverware, cups
    • Help clear table after meals
  • House:
    • Help gather dirty laundry
    • Empty certain wastebaskets in the house
Age 5-6 Years
  • Bedroom:
    • Put clean clothes in drawers neatly
  • Kitchen:
    • Set place mats for dinner table
    • Load dishwasher: own plate and glass
    • Empty dishwasher and put dishes away ??
    • Set and clear table
    • Help put groceries away
  • House:
    • Feed and water the pet
    • Help with clean-up in yard: picking up branches and leaves
  • Begin Allowance System: saving, spending, giving
    • Partially based upon completion of chores
    • Give to each child on Saturday night
    • Require child to pay for small desires (Prov. 16:26)
Age 7-8 years
  • Bedroom:
    • Making own bed
    • Strip own bed of dirty sheets for laundry
    • Dust low areas of bedroom weekly
    • Use vacuum cleaner in bedroom
  • Kitchen:
    • Help with cooking: measuring cups, hand mixing, pouring ingredients
    • Simply tasks, such as peeling carrots and potatoes
    • Make own sandwich for lunch
  • House:
    • Folding undergarment clothes
    • Water house plants
    • Sweep floors inside and outside
  • Outside:
    • Watering outdoor plants
Age 9-11 Years
  • Bedroom:
    • All above tasks
    • Dust furniture and vacuum bedroom
  • Kitchen:
    • Increase skilled work in kitchen, such as cooking hotdogs, cooking eggs, making toast, operating microwave.
  • House:
    • Sorting clothes for wash by color and checking pockets
    • Water house plants
    • Fold sheets and blankets neatly
    • Load and run clothes washer
    • Load and run dryer
    • Clean bathroom sink, toilet and tub
  • Outside:
    • Outside: sweep, rake, clean windows
Ages 12-15 Years
  • Bedroom:
    • All of the above, but with greater expectations for regularity and completeness
  • Kitchen:
    • Increase cooking: baking and cooking entrees
    • Clean kitchen completely after meals
  • House:
    • All of the above, but with greater expectations for regularity and completeness
  • Outside:
    • Begin cutting grass depending upon size and strength
  • Community:
    • Take babysitting course and begin sitting for family and close friends
    • Look for opportunities to serve at church and in community
Ages 16 years & older
  • All above tasks and responsibilities
  • Driving: With license to drive comes:
    • Responsibility to carpool siblings
    • Run grocery errands
  • Community Service:
    • Seek opportunities to serve in the community

[1] Some ideas obtained from Martin, Gail. What Every Child Should Know Along the Way. pp. 100-116. 1998. Parent-Wise Solutions.