Expert Advice

What are the best age appropriate chores for children?

The list of jobs and their developmental benefits.

Kids are messy and with mess comes house work. From vacuuming crumbs off the floor to dealing with a never-ending pile of laundry, there are always jobs to be done.
Assigning kids regular chores not only helps you out but it also benefits your child developmentally by learning new skills and the importance of contributing to family life.
Here's how to choose the right job for the right age.
12-month-olds: Great imitators
SKILL: Grasp and release
IDEAL CHORES: Picking up toys to drop in a bin; smoothing bed covers, sweeping – by imitating
18-month-olds: Can't do everything they think they can
DEVELOPMENT MILESTONE: Problem solving; new attention span
SKILL: Strength and coordination
IDEAL CHORES: Serving from a tray; watering a garden, washing produce; helping to feed or groom a pet; using a mechanical carpet sweeper
2-year-olds: Routine and ritual are very important
DEVELOPMENT MILESTONE: Increased hand-eye coordination and concentration
SKILL: Following directions, sorting
IDEAL CHORES: Spreading butter or cheese; dusting, sweeping, wiping a counter, washing windows; sorting laundry, silverware, toys; washing, stirring, mashing food
Sweeping encourages hand-eye coordination and concentration. (Image: Getty Images)
3-year-olds: Work is still play
DEVELOPMENT MILESTONE: More awareness of significance of help
SKILL: Sorting and arranging
IDEAL CHORES: Setting the table; using kitchen gadgets, with supervision: sifter, rolling pin, cheese grater, mortar and pestle; planting, weeding, raking, digging, arranging garden flowers; pouring tasks
4-year-olds: Love anything new and relish their independence
DEVELOPMENT MILESTONE: Increased precision; increased sense of responsibility
SKILL: Making things; taking things apart and putting them back together
IDEAL CHORES: Using still more gadgets: peeler, pitter, slicer, food mill, juicer, whisk, even – with close supervision – a true paring knife; hanging washing on a line, neatly folding dry clothes; simple, supervised woodworking
5-year-olds: Like to please
DEVELOPMENT MILESTONE: Sense of confidence; expanded curiosity about how things in the house work
SKILL: Understanding what a job is; tackling even uninteresting jobs
IDEAL CHORES: Big supervised jobs, such as vacuuming or taking out the garbage; behind-the-scenes jobs, such as removing the vacuum bag or coming along to the dump.
6-year-olds: Full of energy and enthusiasm
SKILL: Beginning reading and maths
IDEAL CHORES: Measuring – for recipes, pet food, laundry soap; reading to a younger sibling; noticing what needs to be done, and helping out

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