16 answers

What Is a Good Age for Children to Start Doing Chores?

I was wondering what would be a good age to put your kids to work? My children are 10, 8 and 1. The older ones already have the task of keeping their rooms clean, making sure their laundry is in for laundry day and makeing their beds every morning. My son who is 10 has trash duty. But what is really a good age to start doing other things such as dishes, bathrooms and laundry? I don't want to make them have too much responsibility too soon, but I want to make them responsible at the same time.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

As soon as they are able. Starting early, like 2 or 3, with age appropriate chores (helping with toy clean up or putting away the silverware when you unload the dishwasher, for example) gets them on the right track of learning to be responsible. If you just start chores out of the blue the day you deem them old enough you may get some resistance.

hi A. i have 4 children 15 yrs, 6 yrs, 3 yrs, and 2 months the older ones have chores the youngest is to feed the dog but she needs a little help. i would say now because as they get teenagers they tend to not here you. i know. also you can show them how to clean things correctly and what cleaners to use on what. its never to earlyu to tech responibility. hope this helps W..

More Answers

Here's a good guideline

2 moms found this helpful

hi there...my son is 10. When he was around 6 he used to put away the dishes and take out the garbage everyday. My daughter has been cleaning her room and picking up her toys through out the house since she was 3. After a year of those chores, I switched him to laundry and vacuuming. Now he is old enough to do what I ask without complaint so specific chores are not necessary. Anyway bottom line is start small when they are small and work your way up from there.

Hi A.,

My 9 year old son cleans his room, makes his bed, helps unload the dishwasher - he knows where all the dishes go so he puts away everything that he can reach, helps with dinner things like setting the table & getting paper towels & things. He puts away all of his clean laundry, except for his shirts which I hang for him. He cleans up his bathroom every night after his shower:
Takes dirty clothes to hamper, puts shoes away, closes shower curtain, wipes down counter after brushing teeth & on the weekends he mops it. I sweep, but he likes to mop. I was worried about giving him too much also, but he really came to me asking what he could help with so that's pretty much when it started & I think he was 5 or 6!
He also feeds & waters the dogs everynight when we get home. He also gets rewarded for doing his chores if he gets them all done without complaining about it. I hope this helps.

My 1 year old on the other hand doesn't help out much yet, but when thier 2 they are ready to start putting toys away & books.
my younger one will put stuff on a shelf for just a second when asked, but it won't stay there long so I would wait a little longer for him to do chores.

My step daughter is 10 and we started her helping with dishes when she was 8. Now she does them on her own. She helps me out alot with things from picking up the house to taking out the trash. My 4 yr old even helps pick up his play room and bed room. Don't be afraid to start them doing it early. I think it's important for them to take just as much responsibility for their things as we do ours. I'm a stay at home mom and I still make my kids do their chores. It helps me out so much. Hope this helps

Here's a topic I feel passionate about!

Kids get chores as soon as they can understand what you are telling them. :) At my house we don't have regular duties for each child (ages 8,6,4) but they are all expected to help out as my DH and I are working on tasks.

1-yo kids get to help "clean-up" after playing. For most of the year, you'll be helping them the entire time, but by the time they are nearing age two, if they've been cleaning up with you all year, they will be able to do simple tasks without you. For example, "You can put the cars in the box and I will clean the blocks".

2-yo kids will continue the supervised clean-up and can add simple tasks like setting the table. Laundry is also fun for this age. Let them pull out all the socks or underwear for you to put together. They might even be able to put in into piles according to family member! Take time with them to sort by colors too!

3-yo kids can start learning how to fold simple laundry items like wash cloths and hand towels. Maybe pants if they are small. They can also help make the bed and are more likely to be able to clean-up their room or play area unsupervised if you give them specific tasks to tackle. (ie. Just clean up the crayons and markers right now). Setting the table can be really fun at this age. Get some fun placemats!

4-yo kids can make their own beds, wipe down the sink in the bathroom, rinse their dishes (if you have a stool in the kitchen) and by the time they're nearing 5, they can also put their dishes into the dishwasher. Laundry - folding the easy stuff as well as their own clothes (shirts are still difficult). Let them help with the Windex duties. You spray, they help wipe.

5-yo kids can possibly break down tasks and clean their own room completely if they "want to". :) HA HA! You can start teaching them how to vacuum - even though it'll be a few years before they get how to move methodically around the room rather than randomly. Make their own beds and it looks pretty good by now. They can help you sort the laundry before washing as well as pretty much all the folding (except maybe dad's clothes). They can also help with food preparation. Teach them how to make easy things like instant pudding. They can help carry dishes from the table to the sink and help with rinsing and loading the dishwasher.

7-yo They are getting more independant in the kitchen help area, but still need your guidance with how to rinse and load the washer. Let them dust with you. If you use a Swiffer wet mop - they can do that. Over the next couple of years start teaching some basic cooking skills - how to heat up pizza or make toast. Measuring skills.

10-yo+ If they've been helping out for the past couple of years, they can be independent in sorting and loading both the laundry and the dishes in the kitchen.

Trash - that all depends on what's in the trash. Let kids help out with it as young as 5 or 6.

Outdoor work - as soon as they want to start raking and weeding. Mowing - depends on the kid.

Recycle bin - my 6-yo is in charge of it and love the task. I even let him have the money from taking the cans to the can recycling truck. :)

As soon as they are able. Starting early, like 2 or 3, with age appropriate chores (helping with toy clean up or putting away the silverware when you unload the dishwasher, for example) gets them on the right track of learning to be responsible. If you just start chores out of the blue the day you deem them old enough you may get some resistance.

They are old enough to help! Your 8 and 10 year olds would be great at doing dishes, sweeping floors, vacuuming, and helping with the laundry. Your one year old is a little young but I have a 2 year old that likes to dust...we put old socks on her hands and she follows me around and helps dust things...my 6 and 8 year olds have been doing this forever!
Get creative, give them more allowence to do it, or a reward chart...you need all the help you can get!

Household Job Participation Chart

The chart lists common household tasks, the percentage of children involved with the task, and the average age of children at different levels of involvement.

H means the child needs help with the task
R means the child needs to reminding or supervision, and
A means the child does a task as needed without reminding or supervision.

Task / Percent(children involved)
Dress self 99%
Brush Teeth 99%
Bathe self 99%
Pick up belongings 99%
Put dirty clothes away 99%
Hang up clean clothes 97%
Make bed 93%
Tidy room 98%

Wipe spills 93%
Vacuum floors 79%
Clean sink 75%

Take out trash 72%
Care for pet 72%
Do laundry 54%

Set table 93%
Wash dishes 75%
Fix snack 89%
Cook meal 71%

Age & Involvement:

Dress self: Age 2-3(H)
Age 5 (R)
Age 10-1/2 (A)

Brush teeth: Age 3(H)
Age 8-9(R)
Age 10-11 (A)

Bathe self: Age 3 (H)
Age 7 (R)
Age 11-12 (A)

Pick up belongings: Age 4 (H)
Age 8-9 (R)
Age 12 (A)

Pick up dirty clothes: Age 4-5 (H)
Age 8-9 (R)
Age 11-12 (A)

Hang up clean clothes: Age 4-5 (H)
Age 10 (R)
Age 12 (A)

Make bed: Age 4 1/2-5 (H)
Age 10 (R)
Age 11 1/2 (A)

Tidy room: Age 5 (H)
Age 11 1/2 (R)
Age 12-13 (A)

Wipe spills: Age 3 1/2 (H)
Age 9 (R)
Age 10 1/2 (A)

Vacuum Floors: Age 5 1/2 (H)
Age 11 3/4 (A)
Age 12 3/4 (R*)

Clean sink: Age 6 1/2 (H)
Age 11 (A)
Age 12 (R*)

Take out trash: Age 5 1/2 (H)
Age 11 1/2 (A)
Age 12 1/2 (R*)

Care for pet: Age 5 (H)
Age 10(R)
Age 11 1/2 (A)

Do laundry: Age 10 (H)
Age 13 (R-/A) 14yr, 4 mos.

Set table: Age 4 (H)
Age 10-10 1/2 (R)
Age 11 1/2-12 (A)

Wash dishes: Age 6- 6 1/2 (H)
Age 10 1/2 (R)
Age 11 1/2 (A)

Fix snack: Age 4- 4 1/2 (H)
Age 7 1/2 (R)
Age 12 (A)

Cook meal: Age 7 (H)
Age 9-9 1/2 (R)
Age 13 (A)

Data from a study of Washing state families by Elizabeth Crary, 1989

*Children require supervision again after becoming independent

From: Pick Up Your Socks...and other skills growing children need! by Elizabeth Crary Reprinted with permission. (c)1990 Elizabeth Crary

NOTE: Be sure when children are initially learning that you (as the parent)are teaching your child the correct way in detail and then make sure you don't set too high of expectations for standards. Remember that you may need to lower standards of cleaning (on some level) down to your child's age. They may not clean or cook as well as you do. It's a learning process...

Hope this helps.
A. H.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.