Which chores are appropriate for children of different ages?
Getting a child to do his chores is just as important as getting him dressed in the morning or in bed at night. If you care for a child every day (or even every other day, or every weekend), you should establish a routine that dictates his tasks. First, of course, you’ll need to figure out what, if anything, his parents have already established. Ask the following questions:
- What chores are your child responsible for? When does he perform them?
- Are there any chores you do not allow him to do?
- What are the consequences if he refuses to do his chores?
- What are the rewards?
If parents haven’t picked chores — and they don’t mind you doing so — choose a few age-appropriate tasks from the following list.
Ages 2 – 3
- Pick up toys
- Hang clothes up on hooks
- Wipe up small spillages
- Carry the newspaper or post
Ages 4 – 5
- Put clothes into drawers
- Sort out the clean laundry
- Wipe the skirting boards down with baby wipes
- Dust the windowsills (A sock on his hand makes this job more fun!)
Ages 6 – 9
- Feed a pet
- Lay the napkins and cutlery on the table
- Water the plants
- Make his bed
- Help with meal preparation (Tear lettuce, hand-mix ingredients)
Ages 10 – 12
- Sweep with a child-sized broom and dustpan
- Sort out dirty laundry
- Hoover with a hand-held vacuum cleaner
- Help to make snacks
- Empty small wastepaper bins into a regular sized bin bag
Ages 13 & Up
- Change light bulbs
- Wash the inside of windows with paper towels and non-toxic cleaning products (A mixture of one part vinegar to four parts water works really well!)
- Help put the shopping away
- Prepare part of a meal — start with a side dish or pudding
- Clean the sink or toilets
- Take out the rubbish
All in a day’s work
To help the child enjoy his chores, make games out of them whenever possible. See how fast he can make the bed, or whether he can sort out the dirty laundry without any mix-ups.
The bottom line
Be firm. Establish a routine and don’t stray from this. Make sure a child knows what is expected of him, and what will happen if your expectations aren’t met. Also, make sure you share your child’s chores with your nanny or sitter.