Chores for a 7Yr Old??

Updated on February 03, 2011
F.W. asks from Washington, DC
18 answers

Hi all.

My 7 1/2yr dd is super busy around the house and always wants to help me. :-) She does stuff like making her bed, quick tidy of her room and putting her laundry away but is always eager to do more, especially the stuff I class as a bit dangerous. Should i let her make toast, be near the oven, boil a kettle??(my heart is racing just typing it!! lol ) When I am making dinner or whatever and I see her coming near the oven or knives, i feel myself about to freak out in case she hurts herself. I will let her chop some veggies but to tell the truth only let her do a very small amount then I take the knife away. I know she will never learn if I don't let her try but I feel sick in case there is an accident. What kind of stuff do you let your kids do? Funnily enough I have never been the kind of mum who when there child falls outside I don't freak out and my daughter has always been a tough cookie and will be upset for a couple of minutes then is off playing again:-)

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great ideas. Wow, I should really be letting my daughter do more especially in the kitchen!! She has already made a list of things she is going to do!! :-) I will just remain calm and be full of encouragement. YIKES maybe I should have a glass of wine on standby!! (just kidding) With all her ideas it sounds like I may soon be a lady of leisure. :-) Thanks again

Featured Answers


answers from Austin on

if she's so eager to help I'd have her give me a massage!!!

my choice (really): folding laundry!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My oldest son is 7 and I let him use the microwave and the toaster, he can use a butter knife but no sharp-sharp knives for chopping and such and no stove yet...I am just not ready for that part yet :)

He does use a steak knife sometimes to cut his own meat at dinner...

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

My 7, 5, and 3 year old help do EVERYTHING. They are almost 4, 6, and 8...but either way, they have been doing it for a while. My 7 year old does toast on her own. She knows where it is, how to plug it in, and how to safely get her poptarts or toast out. If she can't, she knows to ask for help. All 3 of my kids help me cook at the stove, if I have one thing going and it is something simple like stirring or something. I try to let them try almost anything. They have to learn that things can be dangerous if you aren't careful, and that is why I am literally on top of them while they are helping the first few times. But I definitely think she can do more if she is mature and your heart can handle it - that's the biggest part! Good luck mama!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

get her a some utensils that she can handle. my mom let us cut vegetables with a pumpkin knife (those kinds in the kit you get for a kid to carve a pumpkin) she can handle one of those easily to cut vegetables. she is plenty old enough to make toast lol. she is old enough to stir a pan on the stove if she can reach it as long as your next to her. absolutely not if your not home. but my kids could all make frozen pizza's and pizza rolls by 9 or 10 in the oven. they could make mac and cheese, toast, toaster strudels and scrambled eggs all by that age also. as long as your there teaching her then she should be fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree that there's a balance between letting them learn and putting them in harms way.

I think you should start simple. Toast in a toaster or toaster oven is a good start. We have "kids knives" that we bought. Basically they are those plastic knives you see to cut lettuce so it won't brown or the spreading knives from Pampered Chef. We let our kids cut their own meat, soft veggies, etc.

Maybe you can start by cooking with her? Help her learn to follow a recipe. Do the food prep, mixing, learn how to set the oven, the timer, etc.

I think that's a reasonable start. Eventually you can move up to letting her open the oven for you, using sharper knives, etc.

We have a few kids cookbooks. My kids LOVE cooking with me. Many of them are pretty simply recipes and when it comes time to rarely use the oven or "chop" something, it tells you to get a grown up's help.

Incidentally, we are doing a Cooking Birthday Party this month! Our daughter is SO EXCITED to have her friends over to prep, mix and eat their way through our party. We're giving away aprons, paper chef's hats and making each child a binder style cook book with all the recipes we make that day. (Grandma and I will be operating the oven and are selecting simple kids' recipes like smoothies, bagel pizza bites, etc.)

Best wishes Mama. Let her get her hands dirty. And get her a little knife and apron of her own. You'll be all set for having a great kitchen helper!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

mine is only four, but i know your fears for sure. i stay right by him, and i let him do some stuff on the stove - not with a knife, i see spliced arteries in my head *shivers*...but the stove, ok we've all touched something we shouldn't and gotten a little burn, no big deal. honestly, he has touched a pan once before, and he is super careful now (isn't that how we all learn?) i make sure i am holding whatever he is stirring so he doesn't knock the pan, and i let him help. i have showed him how to check something in the oven, carefully, and with supervision. i think a 7 year old should be able to make toast okay. and of course use the microwave. just my thoughts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on

Dear F.-

Along with the suggestions about the children's knives...consider a peeler as well...they make all kinds...and being a 'kitchen clutz' cannot really hurt oneself.

I let my LO (developmentally about 5 or 6) do peeling of potatoes...carrots...and I really appreciate her help! She also helps set table (complete with napkins) and have done some vacuuming!

Oh, and on 'garbage day' she collects from other rooms...and helps sorting recycling!

Catch her NOW while there is an interest...(it usually 'wanes' during the teen years!!)

Take Care

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

It is wonderful to have your daughter help out with the cooking. As long as you are there with her observing and assisting, the experience should be a fun bonding one, not a close encounter on the verge of a heart attack! Tearing up lettuce with hands, preparing salads with ready shredded carrots and coleslaw and nuts, mixing things together are great. My 3 yr old already flips the pancakes (with mommy's help!) and she can lay the meat on the skillet with tongs and flip them. Filling the pot with water and placing it to boil, adding butter or sauce to pasta and mixing it, preparing the table with place mats and all, cleaning up afterwards, the list goes on. She can smear jam, jelly or butter on bread with butter knives and do the same with bananas, strawberries for a fruit salad and scoop out the flesh for avocadoes. It all depends on what you have planned for dinner. There are kids cooking classes and books that can help you come up with more ideas for your daughter's age group. This is the time to let her shine!


answers from Jacksonville on

Yes, you should let her do those things. You just need to stand right there and walk her through it the first few times. Unless she is really uncoordinated and clumsy, in which case, you'll want to stand right there for a long time to come, lol.

My daughter is now 9, and she has always enjoyed doing things in the kitchen. Lately she is interested in doing the laundry. :))

Explain to her about the hot parts of the things she is using, how to use the potholders effectively, what is ok (and what is not) to set the hot baking sheets down on when they come out of the oven, etc. If you are worried about the knives, maybe start with a vegetable peeler, and let her peel cucumbers and carrots for salads. Once she gets the hang of it, she'll understand un'explainable' concepts about how veggies move when they are being cut/sliced/diced/peeled, etc. Think about it... if you've never cut or peeled a carrot, do you "know" how much pressure to apply with the knife? Doesn't it matter if you are slicing thinly or into a thick piece? It rolls around, too... and can be a little uncontrollable.. so let her use a relatively safe veggie peeler to get a grasp on how they move before "graduating" to knives.

And bake cookies often.. she will love it and will get lots of practice this way. I know 10 yr olds who can make a batch of cookies completely on their own.



answers from Tampa on

I have always incouraged my daughters to do more and if it concerned me I would only let them do the things I deemed dangerous if I was there to supervise. You will become more comfortable each time and be able to give her tips to help you and her. Not to mention it is a great way for her to build a trust with you even more then before...



answers from Tallahassee on

My is 4 and I my get grief for this but he already turns the oven/stove on/off, helps me cook etc. He has to know how EVERYTHING works and loves taking things apart. He is always under supervison and it makes me crazy but he has to learn sometime. :)



answers from Victoria on

My daughter is five, my son four. I have them get all the ingrediants out of the fridge or cabinets for me. This helps them learn where things are and then they help put groceries away too. I have them feed pets each morning. I have let them both make their own toast. i have my toaster on a power strip, so they have to just flip strip on. i don't let them plug & unplug appliances yet. I let them enter timing on the microwave and they can both do microwave popcorn LOL! they both have helped me fold laundry, but I prefer them to help put it away. I actually pay them a dime for every item they hang up as this is so worth it to me. My daughter loves to clean mirrors or windows and if there is a streak or two, no biggie here cause it is still better than it was. I create a shopping list for them and I go over the list with them and they memorize the words and now they can read certain grocery items just from memory & I do doodle a picture to help if I can. I have my four year old help sort my business papers for filing. I file customer invoices by last name, so I have him put al the A's together B's together etc... I just use flashcards to mark the stacks. Love his help here! they both clean their rooms and I have them be in charge of shoe duty too. they take all shoes out and shake or stomp to remove any mud or dirt, and then they are in charge of putting them all away nicely. My son can fix his own bowl of cereal as long as i the milk isn't full. I took an old carton and washed it out and let them practice pouring in the tub for a long time. I have her dust. I have her straighten out cabinets & organize drawers. I have them gather trash. I have them gather laundry for the wash. We all do a what does not belong game...this is where we go from room to room collecting things that do not go in that room, person who finds the most wins & then we divide everything up & rush to see who can put their pile away fastest, course fastest person wins. I let the winner pick the snack for the day and the other winner gets to pick the tv show during snack, or book etc... I have my daughter go thru & tie all the shoe laces so that none are free when I vacuum or sweep. she hasn't quite got it perfect, but is great practice. Hope this helps... Both mine love to wash our fresh produce & then I soak mine for about 15 minutes to get rid of any residual pesticides then they dry & put away nicely in fridge.



answers from Orlando on

My 5-year-old daughter helps cook, wash dishes, do the laundry. She also is responsible for making breakfast when we have frozen waffles or pancakes to put in the toaster and knows how to microwave the single servings of mac & cheese. Even my 3-year-old, and occasionally my 2-year-old, is permitted to help in the kitchen under strict supervision.

As long as your daughter understands about safety, there is no reason for her to be left out.



answers from Topeka on

This is what my son does he is 7 he has always poured his own cereal & milk since he was 3..When asked he will get cups out for dinner,clear off table,take the trash out,vacuum up what he made a mess of,make toast,stir the food,chop up veggies here & there (just to try & under supervision) take the clothes out of the dryer.
What I expect him to do daily is after showering or change of clothes put them in the hamper,hang up his coat,put shoes away,throw away his trash after a snack,brush hair/teeth,feed the fish,keep room free of clutter,make bed,keep his crayons~pencils~markers~pens out of reach from baby sissy,&home work assisgnments
Most of these are just a given he will do without asking as part of our routine
Now my 4 yr old will give me trouble on cleaning her room,she will very happily take the clothes out of thewasher/dryer,put the dirty clothes into the wash,get the cups for her & sissy,pick out their fruit with meals,take out the bottle of milk or juice from the fridge or get items out of fridge or pantry



answers from Oklahoma City on

My DD is 7, and as kitchen chores: she wash dishes (sometimes), she wants to help on the chopping but I'm scare of the knives too, so she ups on mixing , she can use the toaster, make her own cereal bowl,set the table, other chores, she helps folding laundry, and to get the whites and colors to the washer , vacuum her room and swipe the kitchen floor (sometimes) ....
she clean up her room and made her bed, I mean as long as they want to help you can let them try ...she try once to mop the floor but its was to hard for her, she says its look fun but didn't like the hard job hehe...
also when she's in the shower, she's always scrubbing the walls so I never have to wash them but the bath tub....



answers from Tampa on

Have you explained safety to her? If yes then always let her help.
best, k



answers from Minneapolis on

My kids are almost 7 years old and almost 4 years old. They both have to help set the table and carry their own plates with food to the table. Clean up when they are done. This includes scraping plates into the garbage. My oldest is expected to put his dishes in the dishwasher and was his hands. My youngest just has to put them on the counter. As for helping out cooking. I have them get things we need out of the fridge. Help measure and my oldest can stir things on the stove as long as I'm there. My oldest also has a weekly chore of swiffering under all furniture and both have to clean up their rooms. I personally wouldn't trust my oldest with a knife and chopping yet. Just letting them watch you is helping them learn to cook. Also he can use the microwave and toaster oven and make a pb&j sandwich.



answers from Mansfield on

my girls are 7 and 5... they help cook- turn on the oven, help brown the ground beef for tacos, stir the pasta while it boils, etc. My youngest always asks to help chop or peel veggies- I guide her hand to help with chopping but do not let her peel- too easy to cut herself. My older daughter also shreds cheese for pizza. The girls also help with laundry- getting it too the laundry room, help me sort and fold it. They put it away in their own dressers and help hang up stuff in the closets. Yep my kids use the toaster- infact my 7 year old is usually making breakfast for everyone while I am trying to get the other 2 out of bed and dressed for school. I do not let them near the open oven though.
The actual chores they do- which may help her feel like she is doing more to help you but keep her away from the things you wish she didn't do.
Every day all 3 kids (my son is 12) have a room they are resposible for. So they empty and load dishwasher, wipe down table, counters, etc, sweep floors and straighten up in the kitchen. Livingroom they straighten up, put toys, books away, gather laundry (my hubby and kids all take off socks in the livingroom and leave them lay and we have a puppy who loves to get things a run off to chew them) dust, vacuum floors. In the bathroom they throw all laundry down the laundry shoot, declutter the counters, wipe down counters, sink and toilet with disinfectant wipes, floor swept, empty trash can. Basically each child is responsible for a room a day and they do their best to keep that room in tip top shape. I also have a room a day that I go and do MAJOR cleaning everyweek every room in my house gets a good deep clean without me working all day long on chores. The kids are also responsible for taking care of the entry way- shoes on the shelf, rugs swept, no clutter gathered, etc. and ofcourse keeping their bedrooms clean. Because i have 3 kids and they do these things every day it only takes about 15 minutes to complete their chores and the house doesn't get to out of control.
There will be accidents no matter how much you try to protect them- but would you rather your daughter learn by helping you and with your close supervision or decide one day to try something like bake brownies all alone and really get hurt or burn the house down? And at the same time if you do not let them have responsibilities and learn to make things you will have a helpless child on your hands. My oldest is more likely to ask his younger sister to make toast for him then to do it himself because when he was younger I didn't let him 'help' me. Now he says "I don't know how" to everything.
Good luck :)

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