Getting kids to do chores - what chores for what age?

Would you love to have a helping hand with the housework? Check out our quick guide and get your family working together as a team to get the chores done!

What’s the chore score?

Consider your child’s age and abilities when it comes to assigning chores. Expect to have to remind them constantly and for them to make mistakes at first – as they get older they'll need less supervision and fewer reminders. Don’t be tempted to step in and take over even if it is taking ages!


Toddlers and pre-schoolers…

Check out our quick guide below to decide who can do what, and when.Children this age love ‘helping’ but it can take a while so try to take a step back and not hurry them too much. They’re learning about responsibility and will feel so proud of themselves once they get it right! They can help with:

  • Making beds: Get your toddler to help pull up the covers; your preschooler can probably make her bed by herself.
  • Picking up toys: It helps if they have one large toy box to throw them into.
  • Dusting: Young children love doing this, especially if they get to use a proper ‘tool’ such as a duster! As a precaution, keep the furniture polish out of the equation if your kids are helping.
  • Carrying laundry to the wash basket: Get your child his own small laundry basket and train him to throw his dirty clothes in there at bedtime… thereby avoiding him picking up the traditional teen habit of leaving his socks to rot under the bed!
  • Fetching the post or the newspaper: Restrict this chore to sensible preschoolers and keep a close eye on your child if he has to cross the road to get to the mailbox.


Kids aged six to twelve can help by doing the same tasks as listed above, along with:

  • Washing the car:  Although you should mix up any detergent yourself
  • Vacuuming or sweeping any hard floors: Older kids can mop, but supervise if there are any younger siblings who could slip if your tween doesn’t wring out the mop sufficiently.
  • Walking the dog or generally helping to take care of pets: including brushing them and giving them food and water.
  • Preparing after-school snacks: such as a drink of milk and a bowl of crisps or some fruit.
  • Setting the table: and fixing drinks for themselves and younger siblings.
  • Helping in the yard: by weeding, raking leaves and watering plants.


Teenagers can help by doing any of the tasks listed above, as well as:

  • Washing windows: Avoid using chemical window washers: a dash of vinegar in water rubbed on and buffed off with rolled-up newspaper will do the job.
  • Doing the laundry: They should be able to load up the washing machine, add detergent and start a wash cycle.
  • Taking out the rubbish: and any recycling boxes that need to be emptied.
  • Mowing the lawn: with a push mower until you’re sure they can handle a ride-on.
  • Cooking a simple meal: such as toast or a pasta salad.

Related links

Shared Chore Technique: As seen on the show, the Shared Chore Technique aims to discourage sibling rivalry by showing the kids they can get along together (sometimes!)

Involvement Technique: Getting your children involved with chores and shopping trips can make all the difference to how much they (and you!) enjoy them

How to Get Your Child to Listen: Before you can expect your child to listen, you need to ensure you really listen to your child

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