Age Appropriate Chores for Kids (How do You Get Kids to Do their Chores?)

Ever wondered what OTHER moms' chore list for kids look like? I’ve gathered the inside scoop from over 170 mothers to show you their list of age appropriate chores for kids.

Declaring age appropriate chores and amount of responsibility that will work for every single kid is, well, kinda hard.

I mean, YOU’RE not even sure what your kid is capable of doing, or what would be ‘appropriate’, or ‘developmentally right’ to ask them to do, right? What are some chores for kids by age anyways?  That’s why you’re here.mother and kid being silly, text overlay "chore list by age revealed, from 179 real moms. Bonus: how do you get kids to do their chores?"

So, for someone else to say that THEY know what your kid is capable of or is not capable of is kind of silly.

But, I’m a mom too. We like some guidance to go along with our gut intuition, right?

It’s nice to get some guidance on what other kids in your child’s age range are capable of doing so that you can make the right choices for your family.

With that in mind, I’ve set out to do just that – not to write out a long list of age appropriate chores for kids based on what I think is right for your child, but to actually put in the market research to figure out what the other moms are doing with their kids when it comes to helping out around the household.

I’ve sifted through over 179 responses from mothers and fathers of kids aged 2-19 about the child appropriate chores in their household. I’ve charted all the responses out, and come up with an age appropriate chores list based on what mothers are actually doing.

Not based on what “gurus” say.

Not based on what best-selling authors say.

This comes directly from YOU.

And before I release this kid's master chore list, I’d like to go over two thoughts to keep in mind as you’re picking and choosing your own chores + household tasks you’ll be introducing into your family.

Pssst: don't forget to check out my review of the best chore chart for kids, and best allowance and chore tracking apps for kids and families. 

Article Content

Choose Household Chores that Will Enable Your Child to Grow

When thinking about assigning age appropriate chores for kids, I want you to pick chores from a list of chores that can fill three different buckets:

  1. Chores they’ve Mastered: Pick a few chores they’re already really good at, and can teach their younger siblings (if they have any).
  2. Chores they’re Working On: Pick a few chores they can do on their own, but that they haven’t mastered yet (creating Chore step-by-step expectation cards for these is a good idea).
  3. Chores You Help Them With: Pick a few chores that are beyond their reach, but that they can help you with to start understanding how the process works. Remember that one of the ways kids learn best is by you modeling behaviors and strategies to them!

If you fill all three of these buckets, then your kid will constantly be growing, even from just doing chores around the home! They’ll be both instructor (teaching someone else your knowledge takes practice, but is a hugely important life skill), they’ll learn how to master something + patience with seeing incremental improvements, and they’ll learn how to take on a challenge/ask for help when something is too difficult with them.

I don’t know about you, but those are lessons I definitely want my own son to learn.

That, and, one more thing: money lessons.

And I’m not talking about whether or not to pay your child for chores (another subject for another day).

I’m talking about adding in money chores to the list of chores you expect your children to do so that it normalizes money management and teaches them some important money lessons.

Psst: need help creating a family chores system? Read on. Then, you might want to check out should kids get paid to do chores.

Don’t Forget about Adding Money Chores to Your List

And don’t forget about money chores! Money management takes time and energy, and kids can definitely be involved in household money management – don’t worry, this doesn’t mean they’ll have to know your salary or other personal information you’d rather not share.

Choose from the money chores list below, listed from easiest to hardest:

  • Loose-Change Locator: Give your youngin’ a job of looking under couch cushions, in the nether regions of your car, and on top of the dryer for loose change that needs to find it’s way to the family piggy bank.
  • Roll Up Family Change Jar: You can get free coin rolls from your bank. Rotate which kid gets to do this money chore every few months!
  • Family Banking Day: Choose one day a week where everyone gets to update their banking needs by physically going to the bank or an atm to make deposits, transfers, etc. If your child doesn’t have a savings account yet, now’s a great time to get them one! Bonus: since your kids know that a family banking day is scheduled into each week, every other week, or each month, then they’ll start to learn to plan some of their money handling needs out ahead of time.
  • Store Receipts Manager: How fun would it be for your child to scan in store receipts, once a week, and actually earn money doing so? Use the CoinOut app for this. The money could go towards a family purchase, your family savings goal, or to them for doing the work (a chore you actually don’t have to pay for!).
  • Gas Price Finder: Have a kid with a smart phone? Put them to work with the task of finding the cheapest gas price for your family each week. You can use a free online tool like GasBuddy to do this.

What other money chores can you think of?

How do You Get Kids to Do their Chores?

Before we dive into all those age appropriate chores for kids, I want to address something else – how on earth are you supposed to get your kids to do their chores?

Let’s face it, Mamas – it can be flippin’ annoying to get our kids to do their chores. You might have to nag so much, that you wonder if the fight is even worth it (why not just do it yourself, and save the hassle?).

I’ve got some resources for you. And, again, these are from the mouths of REAL mothers who have been where you are, and found a solution that worked for their family (and so COULD work for yours!).

But since our families and kids are all so different? I’ve included several ideas and examples so that you have something to pick from.

Strategy #1: Make Chores into a Game

The first thing I want to mention is this really cool, free, chore game I created that might just have your kids begging to do their chores (or, at the very least, will make them roll their eyes a bit less). It’s called the White Elephant Chore Game, and it could change your family chore system.

Strategy #2: Create a Chore Culture from a Young Age

If you’re a mother of tweens or teens, you might want to shake me at this moment, but I want to pass on this pattern: when I asked a bunch of different Moms how they get their kids to do chores, the distinct pattern was that they had built a family culture that chores and responsibilities were part of, so they actually didn’t get a lot of pushback by the time kids enter that talking-back stage.

Gina Zak, from The Frugal Convert writes, “I honestly have chores ingrained in our family “community” obligations from when they were about 3 or 4 years old. No bribes, punishments or anything. But I have made it a point to let them know that as a family we all do our part to clean up and do chores to keep the house decent and that they are a huge part of that. Everyone pitches in (sometimes with dread, lol) and they feel it's their responsibility.”

Kylie from The Thrifty Issue says of her girls, 10 & 11, “I tell them to do their chores or I say we are doing it today. I don't pay pocket money, bribe or punish. They've been taught from a young age they're part of this family, this is their home, they are responsible.”

Andrew Fah of Medical Money says that after two months of creating a bedtime routine that includes tidying up, his toddler does it automatically. “My son is 4. He gets $2 every Sunday (10x20cent pieces) and has to make his bed and tidy his toys EVERY day. After 2 months It’s now part of his bedtime ritual – tidy up, brush teeth, pee, cuddles, zzz’s. I guess I’m just lucky.”

Strategy #3: Let Your Kids Pick their Chores

Hear me out on this one (because it works on my toddler, as well) – create a container around chores so that when you give your child choices, it’s not IF they do chores, but WHICH chores they get to do.

I find that a lot of this depends on the language you use. It’s not, “will you please do your chores?”, it’s instead, “which of these three chores are going to do?” You set up the expectation with the language you use.

Then it becomes a matter of giving them a deadline.

Like Kelly Harrell, you could just tell your kids WHEN the chores are due, not WHICH chores to do. Kelly from Money Tree Academy explains, “Weekly chores (feeding the dogs, scooping dog poop, laundry, windows, dishes, etc.) do require a bit more effort from us…ours DON'T LOVE to help out in most instances. My husband created a chore list with checkboxes that they must complete each week – usually on Saturday mornings. We no longer tell them WHAT to do. Just WHEN we need it done by.”

Kylie talks about using this strategy as well. “It helps they also enjoy doing different chores so they pick their own. No need for chore lists, charts or anything. My 10-year-old loves cleaning the bathrooms. She goes in and sings really loud as she does it. It's pretty cute. She also enjoys pulling the weeds and gardening. Both my girls like vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. My 11-year-old always picks the dishes and cleans the kitchen when asked to do something.”

Strategy #4: Instill a Teamwork Culture

Perhaps the best strategy for your household is to have everyone roll up their sleeves and do the work as a team.

A great way to make you all feel even more like a team? Explain to your kids that them helping you means you’ll have more time…to spend quality time WITH them. Then let them choose an activity you all get to do together after the work is done.

Raj Chavda from Parenting FI has two girls under the age of 10, and he uses a family-time reward. “The way I have convinced them to do their chores is that if they do it then we can spend more time together faster vs. I do it all and they complain I don't spend time with them. This was the main driver of the motivation. Once they are done, I ask them what they want to do together and we do it as long as it is feasible. We do things like go for a bike ride, walk, park, movie, go to the trampoline park. Get ice cream, go sledding (if snow permits), cook some sweet deserts (cookies, brownies, cakes] and sometimes they play in the house while I do my own thing.”

Strategy #5: Charge Your Kids

Sooo…the carrots aren’t working (meaning, rewarding your child doesn’t motivate them to do their chores). Well, what about using a “stick” approach, where you penalize them for NOT doing what they’re supposed to do?

Tracie from Penny Pinchin Mom writes, “Now when they were younger, we would offer rewards and fines. They had a list of rewards that earned them money but fines where we took it away. So, if they picked up toys without being asked then they were paid, but if they sassed back, then they paid us.”

And Raj adds, “The only punishment is that if they don't do it that means they don't value it, and then I take it away. i.e. when I need to vacuum the bedrooms, if they leave things on the ground, then they are mine or they get sucked up by the vacuum lost forever.”

What Makes a Chore Age Appropriate?

One more pit stop before we dive into the actual results — want to give a little guidance on what would make the following chores list age appropriate for your child.

Here’s some criteria to think about:

  1. Is Not Dangerous for their Age/Capability Level: Would your child have to stand up high, or use chemicals to complete the chore (you can always have them wear cleaning gloves, or switch out to natural cleaners – in our household, for example, we use a homemade vinegar-water solution to wipe down lots of places)? Is it in an area of the house where you normally need to supervise them (like around the stove top)?
  2. Your Gut Says It’s Time: I’m a strong believer in listening to my gut, even more so now that I’m a mother. And you know what? My gut has never steered me wrong in parenting my child. Does your gut say that the chore you’re thinking about is age appropriate for your kiddo, or not yet?

Also, in general, you want to get really specific with tasks when they’re younger – such as, “pick up the toys on that rug and put them away in this box.” As they age, you can broaden your chore requests more to things like, “clean up your room”. This is because as they age they’ll know better what the broader chore expectations are from both chore experiences over the years plus their own natural brain development.

Pssst: wondering how do you get kids to do their chores? I've got a really cool, free chore game — the White Elephant Family Chores Game. You definitely want to check that out!

Chores List by Age – Kids Jobs Chores

Alright. Are you looking for a kid's list of chores to do around the house? Now the time has come to release the list of age appropriate chores for kids, per the responses of 179 mothers.

I’ll break it down by actual age, and you can click around as needed.

Note: in the end, YOU know your child’s maturity level, capabilities, skills, talents, etc. Below is what lots of other mothers are doing to give you ideas, but be sure to choose based on both where your child is now, and where you’d like them to get to.

Chores for 2-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Clean up/pick up toys
  • Put shoes on
  • Make bed
  • Take shoes off and put away
  • Throw diaper away
  • Clean up a mess such as throwing food or juice in the floor
  • Tidy room
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper

Kitchen

  • Put dishes in dishwasher
  • Help unload dishwasher
  • Take dishes to kitchen sink
  • Set table
  • Help put away groceries

Laundry

  • Help change over wash to dryer

General Cleaning

  • Sweep behind (after) the parents

Chores for 3-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Clean room
  • Pick up toys
  • Pick up messes
  • Pick up toy room
  • Make bed
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Help fold laundry

Kitchen

  • Clean off dining room table
  • Help put silverware away
  • Puts dishes in the sink
  • Set table
  • Help empty dishwasher

Laundry

  • Load washer
  • Help put clothes away
  • Hand him clothes from washer to put in dryer
  • Press button to start dryer
  • Help fold laundry

Pets

  • Feed animals
  • Feed dogs

Yard Work

  • Take care of garden

General Cleaning

  • Take out little bags of trash from bathrooms
  • Help dust
  • Help sweep

Chores for 4-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Make bed
  • Clean their room
  • Put dirty clothes into hamper
  • Pick up toys
  • Clean up playroom
  • Clean up after themselves
  • Hang up backpack
  • Put away shoes
  • Put lunchbox in kitchen

Kitchen

  • Put dishes in sink
  • Dishes/rinses dishes
  • Start the dishwasher
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Setting/clearing their spot at dinner table
  • Wipe down the table
  • Help put away groceries

Pets

  • Pets/feed their dog/feed cat/feed and water chickens
  • Help clean chicken house

Laundry

  • Laundry/help do laundry
  • Hang clothes

Yard Work

  • Take care of garden
  • Water their plant

General Cleaning

  • Hand vacuums furniture
  • Dust the house
  • Pick up trash around house
  • Empty small trash cans
  • Sweep
  • Help when asked with anything
  • Throw out his trash

Chores for 5-Year-Olds – Appropriate Chores for a 5 Year Old

Personal Responsibilities

  • Pick up toys
  • Make bed
  • Clean personal room

Kitchen

  • Make meals
  • Set table
  • Clear plate at dinner
  • Wipe off table after meals
  • Dishes

Laundry

  • Learning to wash/dry/fold/hang laundry
  • Bring dirty clothes to laundry room

Pets

  • Feed/water chickens
  • Help clean chicken house
  • Feeds/waters animal

Yard Work/ Outside

  • Take garbage/recycling cans in from curb
  • Weed
  • Help wash car
  • Get mail (with supervision)
  • Rake

General Cleaning

  • Cleans mirrors/windows (with vinegar)
  • Pick up trash around house
  • Take out bathroom trash
  • Help clean up toys in living room at night
  • Help dust
  • Help vacuum
  • Help clean the house (bathrooms, etc.)

Chores for 6-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Clean room
  • Clean up playroom
  • Clean up after themselves
  • Fold personal laundry
  • Put clothes in hamper

Kitchen

  • Get their own snacks
  • Get ingredients from basement pantry for parent while cooking
  • Help make meals
  • Take dishes to the sink
  • Dishes
  • Put away dishes
  • Load/unload dishwasher
  • Set/clear table
  • Wipe off table

Laundry

  • Separate laundry
  • Load laundry into washer
  • Move laundry over to dryer
  • Put laundry away

Pets

  • Feed/water chickens
  • Help clean chicken house
  • Give the dog treats

Yard Work/Outside

  • Water flowers
  • Weed
  • Get mail

General Cleaning

  • Gather house trash
  • Help take trash out
  • Mop floors
  • Vacuum
  • Sweep the tile
  • Gather house trash
  • Dust
  • Wipe windows/mirrors
  • Clean bathroom
  • Use clean wipes to clean surfaces
  • Clean bathroom floor
  • Clean all doors in house
  • Weed
  • Help when asked with anything

Chores for 7-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Clean room
  • Pick up after himself/herself
  • Keep room tidy (clear bedroom floor, make bed, put shoes away, etc.)

Kitchen

  • Bring in groceries
  • Clear the table
  • Unpack lunchbox and school bag
  • Set table
  • Unload dishwasher/put away clean silverware
  • Dishes
  • Wipe down cabinets

Laundry

  • Match socks
  • Put laundry in hamper
  • Put away their clothes + little sibling's clothes

Pets

  • Gather eggs from chickens
  • Feed/water dog
  • Put dog outside

Yard work/Outside

  • Weed garden/gardening help
  • Clean out car

General Cleaning

  • Clean living room
  • Sweep floors
  • Dust
  • Mop
  • Take out trash
  • Help with garbage
  • Clean the baseboards
  • Help cleanup messes
  • Use clean wipes to clean bathrooms
  • Tidy bathrooms
  • Clean hallway
  • Clean living areas
  • Anything else I ask help with

Siblings

  • Help younger siblings as required

Chores for 8-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Puts away personal laundry
  • Make bed
  • Clean room
  • Ensure own clothes are in hamper and that they are not all rolled up into a ball

Kitchen

  • Cooks one night/week
  • Assist with cooking preparation
  • Set the table
  • Sweep/mop (swiffer) kitchen and dining room
  • Load/unload dishwasher
  • Wipe down kitchen table
  • Put away dishes
  • Hand-wash dishes once/week

Laundry

  • Fold towels
  • Switch laundry loads
  • Wash laundry

Pets

  • Collects eggs in morning
  • Coop scooping
  • Take care of pets/Clean the cat litter box/feed cat

Yard/Outside

  • Clean out car
  • Pick up any trash
  • Trash/recycle duty
  • Clean yard/weed/help in yard when we do yard work
  • Light gardening
  • Take trash out/bring in big garbage can from street

General Cleaning

  • Vacuum downstairs
  • Wipe down all counters and kitchen table
  • Clean mirrors
  • Wipe down bathroom sinks
  • Sweep/mop
  • Sweep room
  • Clean their bathroom counter/toilet
  • Clean all doors in house
  • Put the trash bag in the can
  • Help when asked for anything
  • Pick up toys
  • Dust

Chores for 9-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Clean room
  • Pick up after himself/herself
  • Puts laundry away
  • Put laundry in hamper
  • Brush teeth

Kitchen

  • Dishes
  • Clear plates from dinner
  • Unload/load dishwasher
  • Bring in groceries
  • Wipe down kitchen counters
  • Sweep floors

Laundry

  • Put clothes away
  • Sort/wash/dry all laundry
  • Get dirty clothes to laundry room

Pets

  • Gather eggs from chickens
  • Feed/water dog
  • Put dog outside
  • Clean litter box daily
  • Clean bird cage
  • Change water for pet
  • Give dog a bath

Yard/Outside

  • Garbage
  • Take trash out to curb
  • Pick sticks and pine cones out of yard to prep for mowing
  • Clean out car

General Cleaning

  • Clean bathroom
  • Dust
  • Pick up dog poop
  • Sweep floors
  • Mop
  • Vacuum
  • Clean personal bathroom
  • Empty trash
  • Cleans sink/mirrors in bathroom
  • Clean up when asked

Sibling Support

  • Oversight for sibling's chores

What are Some Good Chores for a 10-Year-Old?

Personal Responsibilities

  • Clean their room

Kitchen

  • One weekend morning/month cooks breakfast
  • Mop
  • Dishwasher
  • Dishes
  • Wipe tables
  • Putting utensils away

Laundry

  • Sort dirty laundry
  • Put away personal laundry

Pets

  • Feed pets
  • Take care of pet

Yard/Outside

  • Take garbage out
  • Water flowers
  • Mow lawn
  • Cleans out car/wash car
  • Pull weeds

General Cleaning

  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Clean family room
  • Sweep
  • Gather trash
  • Clean bathroom
  • Clean bathroom toilet
  • Clean mirrors/windows/glass door
  • Helps with household projects

Chores for 11-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Clean room

Kitchen

  • Help bring in groceries or other bags from car to kitchen
  • Clean kitchen after dinner
  • Take lunchbox to kitchen counter
  • Dishes
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Wipe down kitchen

Laundry

  • Fold laundry
  • Personal laundry
  • Put laundry away in closet

Pets

  • Help with pets
  • Clean out litter box daily
  • Feed and water pets

Yard/Outside

  • Pick up trash outside
  • Garbage/recycling
  • Take garbage out to the curb
  • Clean the deck

General Cleaning

  • Maintain dining room area free from food
  • Collect trash around house
  • Vacuum/vacuum upstairs
  • Sweep
  • Clean bathroom
  • Mop

Sibling Support

  • Help with babies
  • Clean kid's bathroom on rotation
  • Maintain the house clean/free from toys
  • Clean up little sister's messes

Chores for 12-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Personal laundry
  • Clean personal room

Kitchen

  • Set/clear table
  • Load/unload dishwasher

Laundry

  • Hang and put away shirts/clothes
  • Fold/put away towels

Pets

  • Bath/walk/feed dogs/feed pet
  • Pick up dog poop

Yard/Outside

  • Cut grass
  • Trash/take out trash
  • Get mail

General Cleaning

  • Clean bathroom/clean their bathroom
  • Clean the living room
  • Dust
  • Sweep floors

Chores for Teenagers

Chores for 13-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Personal laundry
  • Clean their room

Kitchen

  • Clean kitchen
  • Load/unload dishes daily
  • Dishes

Pets

  • Water chickens
  • Pick up dog poop/take care of dogs
  • Water dogs
  • Feed cats
  • Clean litter box

Yard/Outside

  • Pick up trash outside/clean yard
  • Trash out to curb/back
  • Garbage/recycling
  • Clean the deck
  • Mow lawn

General Cleaning

  • Clean bathroom
  • Mop
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Sweep
  • Bathroom rotation
  • Clean mirrors

Chore Ideas for 14-Year-Olds

Kitchen

  • Make dinner
  • Some cooking
  • Dishes
  • Empty dishwasher

Yard/Outside

  • Outdoor chores
  • Cut grass
  • Walk the dog

General Cleaning

  • Vacuum
  • Laundry
  • Help set up/break down at shows for your business
  • Sweep/mop floors
  • Clean bathroom
  • Dust

Chores for 15-Year-Olds

  • Clean bathroom
  • Taking out grandmother's garbage

Chores for 16-Year-Olds

Personal Responsibilities

  • Organize shoes

Kitchen

  • Load/unload dishwasher
  • Vaccuum under table
  • clear table/set table
  • help cook

Yard/Outside

  • Garbage
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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2016 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.
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