Age Appropriate Chores for Children


Next time your child tries to fight you about doing his chores, tell him that doing chores could actually make him a more successful adult.

That’s what a 75-year-long study from Harvard found.

Chores can range from matching clean socks to mowing the lawn – and children of all ages can contribute to the function of their household. While it helps out now, the study shows it has bigger implications later in life.

Researchers looked at 268 Harvard graduates from the class of 1939 to 1944 and 465 men from inner city Boston. They examined the psychosocial variables and backgrounds of the participants and compared it to the participants’ well-being later in life. Those with chores and part-time jobs were more successful as adults in the workplace, better at individual tasks and were apt at managing relationships.

Chores can be started as young as preschool. Here are some examples of age-appropriate chores for children.

Ages 2-3

  • Pick up toys
  • Feed pets (with supervision)
  • Match socks
  • Help a parent clean up spills

Ages 4-5

  • Set and clear the table
  • Carry in groceries (light ones, of course)
  • Sort laundry
  • Fold towels
  • Make their bed
  • Wipe out bathroom sink
  • Put away laundry
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Water plants
  • Pull weeds

Ages 6-7

  • Sweep
  • Fold and hang clothes
  • Help with basic meal prep, such as washing vegetables
  • Wash dishes
  • Vacuum
  • Make lunch
  • Bring in mail
  • Wipe down bathtubs and showers
  • Put clothes in the washer and dryer

Ages 8-11

  • Clean up after pets
  • Make simple meals
  • Take garbage and recycling out
  • Clean toilets
  • Mop
  • Rake leaves
  • Peel vegetables
  • Change sheets
  • Wash windows
  • Empty dishwasher

Ages 12-13

  • Assist with younger siblings
  • Mow lawn
  • Wash pots and pans
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Complete laundry
  • Iron
  • Wash the car
  • Clean out refrigerator
  • Walk pets

Ages 14-15

  • Babysit siblings
  • Clean out vehicles
  • Clean the microwave
  • Assist with meal planning and grocery shopping
  • Shake out rugs

Ages 16-18

  • Run errands
  • Perform basic car maintenance (check tire air pressure, oil, etc.)
  • Clean out and organize closets
  • Assist with yard work

WebMD offers several ways to successfully implement a chore routine.

  • Don’t expect perfection. Kids are learning so show them how to do something and then let them learn.
  • Start the children young. By beginning chores as a young age, parents lay a strong foundation for their children.
  • Be sure to praise children for their accomplishments. If they know you are happy with their attempt to do the chores, as well as the outcome, it produces a more positive result.
  • Parents should also follow through with required chores. If parents aren’t consistent when it comes to reinforcing chores, it can send a bad message to kids.