Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Kids Chores for all Ages

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kids-chores-helping-cook-dinner
kids-chores-setting-the-table
kids-chores-taking-care-of-pets
toddler-chores-unloading-the-dishwasher

In our house “teamwork makes the dream work” and that means all of our kids, big and small, help with chores. Having 9 kids means 9 times the laundry, dishes, Legos… We have to work as a team to make our house function. I think age-appropriate kids chores are a great way to teach our kids responsibility, respect, and ownership of the family home.

We have our kids begin to help around the house at an early age. Please don’t think I am Mrs. Hannigan in Annie, no one is on their hands and knees scrubbing floors! We start at an early age because our toddlers think it is fun to help unload the dishwasher or play music to do a playroom clean up. Believe me, that enthusiasm won’t last for long so we try and harness it while we can. My older kids do complain about doing chores, but at the end of the day they understand that we all need to work as a team.

Breakdown of our Kids’ Chores by Age:

2-4 Years Old Kids Chores

  • Unload the dishwasher. They hand me the items and I put them away (I remove all glass and sharp objects first)
  • Clear their own plates after a meal (throw away leftovers and put their plates/utensils/cups in the sink)
  • Help put away toys
  • Put their diapers/pull-ups in the trash

5-7 Years Old Kids Chores

  • Same chores as younger kids
  • Help set the table for dinner (silverware/plates and fill up water cups) and clear plates from dinner
  • Feed the dog
  • Put dirty clothes in a hamper
  • Pick out school clothes
  • Clean up bedroom

8-10 Years Old Kids Chores

  • Same chores as younger kids
  • Walk the dog
  • Take out the trash and help sort out the recycling
  • Help fold laundry
  • Put away their own clean clothes
  • Help with meal prep – our kids love to help cook
  • Help with younger siblings (Ex. Read books at bedtime, entertain while I fix dinner)

11-14 Years Old Kids Chores

  • Same chores as younger kids
  • Help with laundry
  • Prepare their own school lunches
  • Prepare a simple meal from start to finish (Breakfast for dinner, Sausage and Pasta, Grilled Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese)
  • Watch younger siblings for short periods of time
  • On clean up days – vacuuming, cleaning windows
  • Outside chores – mowing the lawn, raking leaves

Due to the size of our family, our kids do not get allowances. If a kid goes above and beyond to help without being asked, or if my two oldest are watching my littles for an hour, then we will pay them a small amount. Right now, I don’t have a formal chore chart, but it’s definitely coming soon! My goal is to have a regular chore chart by the time the time school gets out.  Another goal during the summer is to have my two older daughters age 13 and 15 pick one night a week to plan and prepare dinner. 

So how do we motivate our kids to do chores without any incentives? We start at an early age having our kids help out. It becomes part of their daily routine. We also try and have some fun with chores. When we do a playroom cleanup, we’ll put on dance music and set a timer to see who can pick up the most toys during a certain time. When we do weekend bedroom cleanup, we will sometimes have a small monetary prize for the roommates that do the best job. Sometimes nagging is inevitable, but we try to keep things positive. I try to always thank the kids when they complete a chore so they feel appreciated.

Here are a few of my favorite online chore charts and chore ideas:

  • Mom Ooze has a great round-up of chore chart ideas, from simple to super creative!
  • The Chic Site is useful. It follows the idea that your child has everyday chores that they have to do as part of the family; however, there are some specialty chores they can do to earn money. 
  • I love a good use for all the past years of school clipboards we have lying around. I Heart Naptime has a great idea for a DIY clipboard chore chart.

In our house, our goal is to create a team environment where each child is a valued team member. We want our kids to learn the importance of taking responsibility for themselves and teach them life skills for after they leave us. I know that every family has a different take on chores… just like everything in parenting there are lots of different ways to do it! Do your kids do chores? If so I would love to know how it works in your home!

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