Kids as young as age 10 can help load and unload the dishwasher.
Kids as young as age 10 can help load and unload the dishwasher.

Chore Charts for Kids: Age-by-Age Lists and Free Printables

It's spring, everyone is stuck at home, and housecleaning services are on hiatus: If ever there was a time to roll out chore charts for your kids, it's now! Children as young as 2 or 3 are not only capable of many household tasks but benefit psychologically and emotionally from pitching in, according to research. A famous Harvard study that tracked men over their lifetimes showed kids who did jobs, in or out of the home, were more likely to be more successful and happy as adults. (We don't need scientists to tell us extra help boosts parents' mental health, too.)

Of course, little kids and big kids are different in what chores they can handle, and what motivates them to help. We've tapped experts and veteran parents to make these age-by-age chore charts with developmentally appropriate jobs for toddlers to teenagers. Parents can use the boxes on these printable charts to check off chores kids are responsible for each week or fill them with stickers for a job well done. Check out these 20 ways kids and teens can help others during coronavirus to learn how children can pitch in outside the home, too.

How to Make Chore Charts Work

How many of us have created chore charts that withered on the vine (or refrigerator)? According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the key to getting kids to do regular chores over the long term is to "set clear and reasonable expectations" from the get-go. Some other tips:

  • Be specific about tasks. Instead of "clean your room," spell out what that entails ("make your bed" and "put clothes in the hamper.")
  • Be consistent. Changing rules and expectations week to week can create confusion and frustration, says the AACAP.
  • Be positive. Even teenagers appreciate "sticker charts" or reward systems that can earn them spending cash or certain privileges. But praise and heartfelt "thank yous" often mean more to kids than parents think, too.

Age-Appropriate Chores for 2- to 5-Year-Olds

Above all, preschoolers should focus on taking care of their own bodies and bedrooms. Some chores ideas are:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Make bed/pull up covers
  • Put toys in bins/boxes (indoor)
  • Put toys in bins/boxes (outdoor)
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Put clean clothes away
  • Sort unmatched socks
  • Stack books on a bookshelf
  • Set the table
  • Clean/gather sticks from the yard

LINK: Printable chore chart for 2- to 5-year-olds

Age-Appropriate Chores for 6- to 9-Year-Olds

Once they hit grade school, kids can start pitching in for other family members and perform tasks that might require reading (like sorting mail).

  • Carry family members' hampers to laundry area weekly
  • Sweep/vacuum (handheld) floors
  • Wipe doorknobs and faucets with disinfecting wipes
  • Wipe tables and counters
  • Dust tabletops
  • Clear table after dinner
  • Put utensils away
  • Empty small wastebaskets
  • Bring in mail and sort by family member
  • Pull weeds
  • Feed pets

LINK: Printable chore chart for 6- to 9-year-olds

Age-Appropriate Chores for 10- to 12-Year-Olds

It's tempting to give tweens big jobs, but it's important to keep safety in mind. If they are tasked with walking pets, for instance, be sure to set a local route, and give them instructions for what to do in an emergency.

  • Put away their own laundry
  • Load and empty dishwasher
  • Wash and dry dishes/pots and pans
  • Mop/Swiffer floors
  • Sweep out the garage/walks
  • Vacuum rugs
  • Carry in/put away groceries
  • Empty kitchen garbage/recycling
  • Organize pantry items
  • Walk pets
  • Pick up dog waste/clean cat litter

LINK: Printable chore chart for 10- to 12-year-olds

Age-Appropriate Chores for Teens

Teens are capable of doing most tasks adults would do, especially if they are driving. Withholding privileges if chores aren't done is fair game, but consider rewards for finishing chores, too.

  • Do own laundry weekly 
  • Change own bed sheets
  • Wash car
  • Babysit younger siblings (set times per week)
  • Wipe down inside of the refrigerator
  • Wipe down inside of the microwave
  • Pick up groceries with a list
  • Fill cars with gas (if driving)
  • Rake leaves
  • Mow the lawn
  • Bathe/groom pets

LINK: Printable chore chart for teenagers

 

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