Chores help children learn how to care for themselves, their belongings, and their family. Chores also help children learn skills they can use all throughout their lives – cleaning, cooking, organizing, and more. Children learn teamwork, respect, self-reliance, and time management by doing household chores. The Center for Parenting Education states “research indicates that those children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.” A Harvard study found that “willingness and capacity to work in childhood — indicated by holding a part-time job, taking on household chores, or participating in school clubs or sports — was a better predictor of mental health in adulthood than was social class, family problems, and other factors.”
Children ages two and up should be able to help with household chores. The difficulty and frequency of the chores increases with the age of the child. For example, toddlers, ages two and three, should be able to help with simple tasks like putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket and feeding pets. Preschoolers, ages four and five, can sort laundry and help put away groceries. Children ages six through nine can help fold laundry and empty the dishwasher. Older children can wash the car and mow the lawn.
The benefits to chores make the arguments your child is sure to pose worthwhile. Parents can help children become more willing to do chores by being a willing role model. Completing chores yourself encourages your child to complete their own chores. Being open and willing to discuss chores and responsibilities will help your child be more open to the idea of having chores to complete. Some children may benefit from completing different chores every week, while others may do better if they have the same chores every week. Families may choose to have an allowance tie into chores. Families may also choose to keep chores and allowance separate. Another idea is to allow children to earn extra privileges (electronics time, a sleepover, use of the family car, etc.) by completing chores. The most important thing is to do what works for your family! Check out the chart below for more household chore ideas for your children based on age.