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South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids

Saturday or Sunday mornings are made for cleaning in my house. I usually get up, turn on 90s/early 00s pop-punk and get to work. I’m fairly convinced that I will cause some sort of Pavlovian response in the members of my household. I’m picturing Fall Out Boy coming on the radio and them suddenly having

Saturday or Sunday mornings are made for cleaning in my house. I usually get up, turn on 90s/early 00s pop-punk and get to work. I’m fairly convinced that I will cause some sort of Pavlovian response in the members of my household. I’m picturing Fall Out Boy coming on the radio and them suddenly having the overwhelming urge to pick up any laundry that may be on the floor!

But one question I find myself wondering is, what chores are appropriate for kids of different ages? I know that NO chores isn’t good for them (despite them trying to convince you otherwise), but I’m never really sure what the answer is.

True to the style on my behalf (google it), I went to the internet for answers. What I found is that chores can play a vital role in kids’ development. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children can learn time management skills by doing their chores, teaching them how to balance work and playtime. Kids can apply those lessons throughout their childhood and into adulthood. Giving kids chores also benefits them by teaching them to accept responsibility within the family and providing them with an opportunity to be successful.

The AACAP notes the importance of picking age-appropriate chores for children. Children given chores more suited for older youngsters may fail at completing those tasks. Setting kids up for failure can lead to self-esteem issues and make getting them to do chores in the future even more difficult. No one wants to do something they know they are going to fail at. On the flip side, “picking an age-appropriate chore for a child will increase his or her likelihood of success, which can boost their confidence and make them more likely to approach their chores with enthusiasm as they navigate their way through childhood and into adolescence.” In other words, set them up for success to breed more success and them wanting to help!

So here are some age-appropriate chores by ages to help get you started on what can work for you in your home.

2- to 3-year-olds: Children in this age group can put their toys away and help put groceries away as well. Stick to groceries that can be dropped without breaking or spilling, which rules out jars of pasta sauce or milk and juice. Children in this age group also can start to dress themselves, though the AACAP recommends parents offer help when necessary, so kids do not become discouraged.

4- to 5-year-olds: Four- and 5-year-olds can help feed pets and make their beds. Also, children in this age group can help clear the table after meals, but parents should be sure to take sharp objects like knives to the sink before kids begin helping.

6- to 7-year-olds: This is a good age for children to begin taking on more complicated chores, including wiping tables and counters, putting laundry away, and sweeping floors.

7- to 9-year-olds: Children in this age group can help their parents prepare meals and even pack their lunch for school. The responsibility of loading and unloading the dishwasher also can be given to kids between the ages of seven and nine.

10- to 11-year-olds: More difficult tasks like changing the sheets on their beds, cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, and doing yard work are appropriate for kids in this age group.

12-years-old and older: Children 12 and older can help take care of younger siblings and pitch in with grocery shopping and running errands.

Chores play a vital role as children grow up and mature. If all else fails, remember the rule my sister told me — if they can reach it, they can clean it.

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