Chores are an important part of teaching your kids responsibility, but it can be difficult to determine which ones to assign at which age to ensure your child will be suitably challenged but not overwhelmed.
Studies show that chores in kindergarten and early elementary years can improve self-competency in children and ultimately, lead to higher performance in school later in life.
If you're introducing chores into your child's routine, age two is the perfect time to start. At this age, it's best to assign small chores that your child can handle, and of course, keep your expectations low.
Consider chores such as feeding pets, making their own bed, or picking up their toys after they finish playing. These simple habits can encourage your child to learn and build important skills.
As your child approaches age four, they're well into their preschooler years and this is the best time to give them a bit more responsibility.
You can ask for their help with simple tasks, like putting away groceries, helping you prep food before cooking, or setting the table. You can also have them clean their room at this age, or water plants. Remember, you'll still need to offer guidance and supervision as your preschooler completes their chores.
Around age five, your child will likely be entering kindergarten. At this age, their physical development is accelerating and they're able to handle tasks that require greater concentration.
Have them help with preparing and cooking food and washing up dishes after dinner. Consider purchasing a learning tower for them in the kitchen, which gives them a safe place to stand while working at the counter.
At age 6, your child has completed their first year of school and is ready to take on jobs that require more focus. You can also expect that at this age, they'll start to feel more independent and capable.
Start asking them to help with bigger jobs like folding and putting away their own laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or making their own snacks.
By 7 to 8 years old, your child has a full understanding of rules and responsibilities. This is a great age to have them step in as caregivers for pets, taking care of feeding, clean up, and exercising.
They can even walk the dog, provided the pet is well-trained and they're supervised by a responsible adult.
At age 9 and up, your children are likely starting to have homework after school, so it's important not to overload them with chores. That said, responsibility and time management are great skills to build, so work with your child to set a chore schedule that gives them ample time for homework, relaxation, and fun.
Give them chores like washing and drying their own clothes, loading the dishwasher independently, or taking out the trash.
As with 9 and 10-year-olds, preteens appreciate a schedule that works on their terms.
Sit down with them to determine what chores best suit their strengths, and consider assigning them tasks like babysitting younger siblings, cleaning the washroom, or raking leaves and shoveling snow.
In earlier teenage years, your child is more than capable of taking on additional chores. Giving them work to do around the house is an important part of helping them become a responsible adult.
At this age, they can take on jobs ranging from simple vacuuming or window washing to preparing meals for the entire family and mowing the lawn.
As your child reaches 16 and older, they may have a job in an addition to homework and high school exams, so it's important not to overwhelm them. However, helping out around the house should still be expected, so have them contribute by performing smaller chores on a regular schedule and larger chores when they're not working or preparing for exams.
At this age, taking care of a pet, preparing meals, doing laundry, or babysitting siblings regularly are reasonable expectations. They're also old enough to have mature conversations with you about what they can and cannot handle and hear and respect your side of things, too.
When your child takes on more responsibility, it's important to show them the benefits of hard work. Rewarding your younger child with a sticker chart or your older child with an allowance can help encourage them to continue with their chores and learn responsibility.
Social rewards in the form of time spent together can also help teach responsibility while building stronger bonds between you and your child.
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