It is no secret that our children are being pulled in many different directions, from

the demands at school to time spent at sports or other extracurricular activities. Our

children are so scheduled that household chores are often left off their to-do lists.

Parents understandably want their children to have time to “just be kids.” Children’s

inevitable push back to completing chores combined with the reality that sometimes

it is easier and faster to just do them yourself can add to a parents reluctance to

assign chores to their children. Sometimes it just isn’t worth the fight!

Chores are worth the fight! Chores not only teach important life skills (such as how

to do laundry, wash dishes or clean a house) but children that have done chores

when they were young have been shown to be more likely to be well-adjusted, self-

sufficient, have better relationships with friends and family as well as be more

successful academically and in their careers.

Summer is a good time to create and implement a chore system for your family.

Getting a chore routine set before the increased structure of “back to school” will

make it easier to keep the new habits long term.

It is important to train your children to do chores. This takes time and patience, but

it is well worth it. Begin by showing your child how to do the chore. The best way to

teach a child to do something is to simply do it with them. Once you have taught

your child how to do something it’s time to let them do it on their own. Be available

for questions the first time they do something on their own, then walk away. The

goal is for them to be able to work independently and they won’t learn to do that if

you hover. Have them call you when they are finished so that you can check their

work and give any needed feedback.

One of the biggest questions parents have is what type of chores are appropriate for

their child. Children are often capable of more than their parents give them credit.

Toddlers are eager to please and are ready to show off their big-kid skills. Children

as young as 2 years old can be given simple tasks, like helping to make the bed. As

your child grows and develops, their responsibility with chores should increase as

well. Children should begin with chores related to picking up after themselves and

eventually include chores that benefit the entire family. While children mature and

develop at different rates, here is a guide for appropriate chores for different ages:

 Ages 2 to 3: Pick up toys and books; help make the bed; help feed the

 Ages 4 to 5: Set the table; dust; put away groceries.

 Ages 6 to 8: Take care of pets; take out trash; put away laundry; vacuum

 Ages 9 to 12: Help wash the car; clean the bathroom; rake the leaves;

wash the dishes.

 Ages 13 to 18: Prepare a meal; clean out refrigerator; do the laundry.

Chores are important in developing your child’s character. Your children may not

thank you in the short term for giving them chores. This is a case where the goal is

not necessarily to make your children happy; rather it is to teach them life skills and

a sense of responsibility that will last a lifetime.