30 Super Helpful Chores for Kids by Age
Most people don’t enjoy doing chores, but there’s no avoiding them if you want to live in a clean, clutter-free home. And when you have kids, your space is guaranteed to be 10 times dirtier, messier and stickier.
But the good news is that you can teach your little ones to get involved with chores from a really young age. Even toddlers can lend a helping hand — and the earlier you start, the earlier they’ll learn life skills, responsibility, self-reliance and teamwork. Read on to find the best chores for kids, from ages 2-3 all the way up into the teenage years.
Ages 2-3: Put Toys Away
Yes, toddlers can help out with chores — in fact, you might find this age group to be the most enthusiastic assistants.
They’re all about asserting their independence, so hopefully they’ll be willing to put their toys away at the end of the day.
Ages 2-3: Throw Away Trash
It’s quicker to throw away trash yourself, but it’s a skill you can teach your child from a young age. Also, kids of this age tend to love cleaning, so take advantage of this.
Remember, they won’t get it right all the time, and you’ll have to keep a close eye on what gets thrown away. But, at this age, it’s all about creating some early positive habits.
Ages 2-3: Fold Washcloths
A chore that will hopefully keep your toddler engaged for a few minutes is folding washcloths. They can’t do much damage with these, either!
Their sense of satisfaction when they finish will instill in them a desire to help throughout their life.
Ages 2-3: Help Set the Table
Young kids want to do everything their older siblings can, and even toddlers can get involved with setting the table.
While the more responsible family members carry the heavier/sharper items, little ones can be in charge of place mats and serviettes.
Ages 2-3: Dust the Baseboards
Toddlers are the perfect height for dusting baseboards! Again, they might not do as thorough a job as you’d like, but it’s all about contributing to the household chores.
Many young kids like to see a visual reminder of their achievements, so consider creating sticker charts to let them see all the great work they’ve done.
Ages 4-5: Make Their Bed
Preschoolers are still pretty keen to help out at home, and they thrive on one-to-one time with their parent or caregiver. At this age, they can take on a little more responsibility, and they also love rewards, so keep those sticker charts going.
Teaching them how to make their bed is a great one because it’s something they can practice every morning, without supervision.
Ages 4-5: Feed the Pets
Another quick and easy task for preschool kids is feeding pets. While they should do this under supervision, it gets them used to the idea that pets need care.
Most young kids are able to scoop out the required amount of food and refill water bowls. They can also help with training, such as asking the dog to “sit” for a treat.
Ages 4-5: Water the Plants
Watering plants is a great learning activity for preschoolers. Why not buy your child their own plant to care for? Go for something hardy, like aloe vera or ivy, and explain why plants need water and how much and how often they need it.
If it helps, you could create a watering schedule. Encourage your child to dust off the plant’s leaves as well.
Ages 4-5: Clean Door Knobs
A height-appropriate chore for preschoolers is cleaning door knobs. Simply give them a bowl of warm soapy water and a soft cloth, and let them go for it.
Explain why it’s important to clean door knobs regularly (they’re a frequently touched surface in the home) to get them thinking about the importance of hygiene from a young age.
Ages 4-5: Weed the Garden
With clear instructions on how to pull up weeds, kids ages 4 to 5 can quickly become great garden helpers. You can make it educational by chatting to your child about the different flowers and plants in your garden, explaining why it’s important to remove weeds to let everything else thrive.
Fresh air, vitamin D and one-on-one bonding time are added bonuses!
Ages 6-7: Sweep and Mop the Kitchen Floor
By ages 6 to 7, a lot of kids are able to handle most basic chores themselves. As well as teaching them responsibility, helping out around the house gives them a sense of belonging.
Sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor is a pretty simple task but one that needs to be done regularly.
Ages 6-7: Empty the Dishwasher
If you have a big family, your dishwasher probably needs emptying at least once a day — and this is something you can delegate to your kid. They’ll also become more appreciative of exactly what’s involved in mealtimes (i.e., it’s not just about preparing the food).
If you have more than one child, they can rotate this chore. Just watch out for the fragile items!
Ages 6-7: Clean Their Bedroom
A big part of growing up is keeping your own space clean. By ages 6 to 7, kids should know the basics of tidying their room, like putting their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, putting shoes in the closet, taking trash downstairs, etc.
Build on this by asking them to sweep or vacuum their room.
Ages 6-7: Peel Veggies
A great way to encourage your child to eat their veggies is to involve them in the prep. If they’ve never handled a sharp knife, emphasize that they have to be extremely careful.
Don’t worry too much about appearance — those slices might not be consistent in size! What matters is boosting your child’s confidence in the kitchen and taking some of the dinner prep pressure off your shoulders.
Ages 6-7: Fold Laundry
By this age, most kids are capable of folding more than washcloths. Show them how to fold T-shirts and pants and put them away in their correct place.
If you want to go one step further, ask your child to pick out their clothes for the next day. They’ll probably jump at the opportunity to make their own style choices!
Ages 8-9: Walk the Dog
By this age, children are typically more than capable of taking the family dog for a walk. This chore has multiple benefits — it not only teaches your kid how to be responsible for the safety and well-being of another living creature, it helps to establish the roles within the household for your pooch.
Before the first walk with your child in control of the leash, work on the command “sit” to teach your dog that the child has the power to give the commend (and dish out the subsequent treats).
Ages 8-9: Put Groceries Away
Putting groceries away is an unavoidable household chore, but it’s one that kids can get involved with. Start by explaining what goes where (chilled items in the refrigerator, jars and tins in the pantry, etc) and encourage them to do it neatly.
To save time, show them how you want it done (i.e., tins stacked on top of each other or side by side).
Ages 8-9: Clean the Bathroom
By this age, your child is hopefully able to perform simple bathroom cleaning tasks, like shining the mirror, wiping the sink and emptying the trash can. It’s a good idea to supply non-toxic, natural cleaning products, so you don’t need to worry about exposing them to harsh chemicals.
For instance, a mixture of water, vinegar and essential oil makes a great natural glass cleaner. You could even get your child involved in creating the mixture, explaining at the same time why it’s good for the environment to use these products.
Ages 8-9: Change Light Bulbs
Your kids will never know how to change a light bulb (a pretty important life skill, right?) unless you show them how it’s done. At around age 9, they should be able to understand the directions and do it themselves without causing any breakages.
You might want to supervise the first couple of times, though, just in case.
Ages 8-9: Bake Cookies
If your kids love eating cookies, let them bake their own! A cookie recipe is the perfect introduction to baking because it involves lots of stirring, and they only need around 10 minutes in the oven.
It’s going to get messy, so supply aprons and pop a tablecloth over the work area. Encouraging your child to clean as they go will help to keep messes to a minimum, too.
Ages 10-11: Clean the Toilets
Nobody likes cleaning the toilets, but at this age, kids will benefit from understanding that some household chores are more “ew” than others. It’s all about pitching in and instilling a strong work ethic that will serve them throughout their life.
As always, show your child how you want it done, and make sure they wear rubber gloves.
Ages 10-11: Clean Glass Items
You don’t want your preschooler to handle your fragile glass items, but a 10-year-old should be able to get them sparkling again without smashing them to pieces.
But it’s wise to take your child’s personality and energy levels into account for this one as well as their age — if they can’t sit still, they might be better suited to a less delicate task.
Ages 10-11: Make a Simple Meal
If your child is able to make a simple meal for themselves (or even better, the whole family), you’ll suddenly find yourself with so much more free time. Cooking is a valuable life skill, and there are lots of basic dishes that a 10-year-old can make without assistance (although you should supervise from a distance).
Pasta with tomato sauce, veggie stir fry and omelette are good beginner meals.
Ages 10-11: Straighten Their Closet
With a little help, your tween can go through their closet, decide what items they’ve outgrown or outworn, and organize them into piles for recycling or the local thrift/charity store.
Hopefully, the satisfaction of seeing their closet more accessible and functional will encourage them to keep it tidy for years to come.
Ages 10-11: Do the Recycling
Nowadays, taking out the trash is a major chore. Encourage your tween to get involved in emptying trash cans throughout the house, sorting the recycling into the appropriate bins and taking them to the curb on pick-up day.
After they’ve been emptied, your kid can put the bins back where they belong.
Ages 12+: Mow the Lawn
Hopefully, by the time your child reaches adolescence, they’ve been helping out around the house for years.
At this stage, there are few chores they’re not able to handle, and they’re physically strong enough to mow the lawn (while you sit back with a refreshing beverage, perhaps).
Ages 12+: Do Their Own Laundry
Teach your kid how to do their own laundry, and they’ll only have themselves to blame if they run out of clean underwear! The first step is getting the dirty clothes to the laundry room, so cue plenty of eye-rolling when you ask them to retrieve all the socks from under their bed.
Then, it’s time to check those labels — possibly the most important part of the process if you don’t want your wool sweater to shrink — and sort by colors and fabrics. Go over all the different steps a few times and don’t overload them with information.
Ages 12+: Iron Clothes
Teaching your kids how to use an iron is another important life skill. Hopefully, they’ll take it on as a challenge and enjoy learning something new. You might want to start with something simple, like a cotton T-shirt, before leaving them to their own devices with dress shirts.
Make sure you explain all the different features on your iron and emphasize the importance of selecting cooler temperatures for delicate fabrics.
Ages 12+: Grocery Shop
As soon as you think your kid is mature enough to go to the grocery store on their own, give them a shopping list!
But before you do, it’s a good idea to take them with you and show them how to check expiration dates and so on.
Ages 12+: Paint a Room
Lots of older kids like to update their bedroom decor, so why not take the opportunity to teach them another great life skill? Painting really isn’t as difficult as you might think if you do the prep, have all the necessary tools (roller, brushes, masking tape, stir sticks, etc.) and take your time.
Don’t forget the drop cloths, of course!