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Should Kids Do Chores

Updated: Apr 6

Everything you need to know about kids doing chores: pros, cons, age appropriate chores, allowance, and more!


Kids Doing Chores


Should kids do chores? Based on existing research and studies, assigning chores to children can have numerous benefits for their development. Chores teach children important life skills such as time management, organization, and teamwork. They also help kids develop executive functioning skills like planning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Additionally, chores instill values such as hard work, perseverance, and accountability in kids.


should kids do chores

Overall, research suggests that having children do chores is beneficial for their growth and development. It helps them become more responsible, independent, and prepared for success in the future. So, to answer the question "Should my kids do chores?", the evidence points to yes. Chores are not only beneficial for children's development but also help prepare them for success in the future.


When Should Kids Start Doing Chores


When can kids do chores? What age should kids do chores? The age that a child should start doing chores varies depending on their individual development and capabilities-- you know your child best! Generally, children as young as 2 or 3 years old can begin to help with simple tasks around the house, such as putting away toys or setting the table. As children grow older, they can take on more responsibilities and age-appropriate chores.


It's important to consider your child's abilities and interests when assigning chores. Starting with small, manageable tasks and gradually increasing the complexity as the child grows older can help build their confidence and skills. Additionally, involving children in the decision-making process and allowing them to choose their favorite chores can make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding for them.


Doing Chores


Why should children have chores at home? The goal of kids doing chores is to teach children important life skills and values through household tasks while also fostering a sense of responsibility and contribution to the family unit. By starting early and gradually increasing the level of responsibility, children can develop a strong work ethic and a sense of independence that will benefit them throughout their life.


Daily Chores List

As an adult, you already know that there are endless chores to choose from on a daily basis. Here is a long list of ideas to introduce your child to helping parents in household chores:


  • Making the bed

  • Folding and putting away laundry

  • Vacuuming or sweeping the floors

  • Dusting furniture and shelves

  • Wiping down countertops and surfaces

  • Washing dishes or loading/unloading the dishwasher

  • Taking out the trash

  • Watering plants

  • Feeding and walking pets

  • Cleaning and organizing their bedroom

  • Setting the table for meals

  • Helping with meal preparation

  • Cleaning the bathroom (e.g., wiping down the sink, toilet, and shower)

  • Sorting and recycling items

  • Mopping the floors

  • Cleaning windows and mirrors

  • Raking leaves or shoveling snow

  • Cleaning out the refrigerator

  • Sweeping the porch or patio

  • Washing or cleaning the inside of the car

  • Organizing closets and drawers

  • Changing bed linens

  • Cleaning out and organizing the garage or storage area

  • Dusting ceiling fans and light fixtures

  • Cleaning and organizing the pantry

  • Cleaning and organizing the entryway or mudroom

  • Cleaning and organizing the playroom or recreational area

  • Cleaning and organizing the home office or workspace

  • Cleaning and organizing the laundry room

  • Cleaning and organizing the basement or attic


This list includes a variety of household chores that can help children develop important life skills and contribute to the overall maintenance of the home. Assigning age-appropriate chores can help children learn responsibility, independence, and valuable life skills that will benefit them in the long run.


Chores for Toddlers

For toddlers, it is important to choose age-appropriate chores that are safe and manageable for their developmental stage. It can also be helpful to get a toddler chore chart or visual schedule for younger kids.


Here is a list of some chore ideas that toddlers can participate in:


  • Putting away toys: Toddlers can help clean up their toys and put them back in their designated storage bins or shelves.

  • Wiping down surfaces: Toddlers can use a damp cloth to help wipe down low surfaces such as tables or countertops.

  • Matching socks: Toddlers can assist in matching socks after laundry to help develop their sorting skills.

  • Watering plants: Toddlers can help water indoor plants with a small watering can under adult supervision.

  • Feeding pets: Toddlers can assist in feeding pets by scooping out pet food and placing it in their bowls.

  • Sorting laundry: Toddlers can help sort laundry items into different piles based on color or type.

  • Dusting: Toddlers can use a soft cloth to help dust low surfaces such as shelves or picture frames.

  • Setting the table: Toddlers can assist in setting the table by placing napkins, utensils, or non-breakable items on the table.

  • Sweeping with a small broom: Toddlers can use a child-sized broom to help sweep small areas of the floor.

  • Matching Tupperware: Toddlers can match Tupperware containers with their lids to help with kitchen organization. These chores not only help toddlers develop important skills but also foster a sense of responsibility and independence. It is important to supervise toddlers while they are completing chores to ensure their safety and provide guidance as needed.

Age Appropriate Chores for Kids

It is recommended that children participate in age-appropriate chores to help them learn valuable skills and values. Chores should be designed to be simple, engaging, and age-appropriate to foster a sense of independence and contribution to the household and family unit. A kids chore chart can be very helpful visual aid for kids to track their progress. If you want an alternative to a chore chart, this chore stick game is a creative way to make chores more exciting for the family.


Here are some examples of chores for kids of different ages:


Chores for Kids:

  • Putting away toys and books after playing

  • Helping set the table for meals

  • Sorting laundry

  • Making their bed in the morning

  • Brushing their teeth

  • Watering plants with supervision

  • Dusting low surfaces with a duster or cloth

  • Feeding pets under adult supervision

  • Assisting in simple food preparation tasks, such as washing fruits and vegetables

  • Helping to sweep or tidy up small areas with a child-sized broom


Chores for Teens:

  • Vacuuming the floors

  • Dusting furniture

  • Cleaning the bathroom

  • Washing dishes

  • Doing laundry

  • Mowing the lawn

  • Raking leaves

  • Cleaning out the refrigerator

  • Organizing closets

  • Washing windows

  • Taking out the trash

  • Cleaning the garage

  • Sweeping the porch or patio

  • Watering plants

  • Cleaning and organizing their own room

  • Walking the dog

  • Washing the car

  • Grocery shopping

  • Cooking a meal for the family

  • Helping with yard work or gardening


Paying Kids for Chores

The decision of whether kids should earn an allowance from doing chores is a personal one that varies from family to family. Why should children do chores to earn money? Some parents think that tying chores to allowance can help teach children the value of hard work and money management. It can also serve as a way to incentivize children to complete their chores in a timely manner.


should kids do chores

On the other hand, some parents believe that chores should be seen as a responsibility and a way to contribute to the family unit, rather than something that is done for monetary gain. They feel that children should learn to do chores simply because it is the right thing to do and a way to contribute to the family unit, without expecting payment in return.


If you're torn between giving your kids allowance or not, I love the idea of using these punch cards as a reward system for kids. This takes the monetary value out of it, but still provides a small reward and incentivizes kids to get tasks completed.


Some examples of rewards you could offer kids for completing chores other than allowance are:


  • Extra screen time or video game time

  • Choose a movie for family movie night

  • Have a special outing or activity of their choice (examples: trip to the park, zoo, museum, movie theatre, out to eat, out to ice cream, etc.)

  • Have a play date or sleepover with a friend

  • Choose a special meal or dessert for the family to enjoy

  • Have a day off from a specific chore or responsibility

  • Earn a privilege, such as staying up later on the weekend

  • Plan a fun family game night

  • Pick out a new toy, book, or game under a certain dollar amount

  • Have a craft or baking session with a parent


Ultimately, the choice of whether to give kids allowance or rewards for chores depends on your family's values and beliefs. It is important to consider what message you want to convey to your children about the relationship between work and reward, as well as the importance of contributing to the household.


Pros and Cons of Allowance

Pros of giving kids an allowance:

  • Teaches financial responsibility

  • Provides a sense of independence and accomplishment

  • Rewards hard work and completion of chores

  • Can motivate children to take on more responsibilities

  • Teaches the concept of earning money

  • Encourages goal setting and saving

  • Can be used as a tool for teaching budgeting skills

  • Helps children understand the connection between work and reward

  • Fosters a sense of accountability


Cons of giving kids an allowance:

  • May create a sense of entitlement

  • May lead to materialistic attitudes

  • Children may become dependent on the allowance

  • May not accurately reflect real-world financial situations

  • Can create inequality among siblings if allowances vary

  • Children may not learn the value of hard work if money is given without effort

  • Parents may struggle to enforce rules and expectations around allowance

  • Children may spend money impulsively without understanding consequences Can create tension or conflict within the family if allowances are not managed effectively

  • Children may not learn to appreciate the value of non-monetary rewards or experiences

Chores for Kids to Earn Money

If you decide to give an allowance for chores in your household, here are some ideas of chores for kids to earn money:


  • Washing Dishes: Washing dishes teaches children responsibility and the importance of cleanliness. It also helps them develop fine motor skills.

  • Folding Laundry: Folding laundry helps children learn organization skills and attention to detail. It also promotes independence.

  • Sweeping/Vacuuming Floors: Sweeping or vacuuming floors teaches children the importance of maintaining a clean living space and physical activity.

  • Setting the Table: Setting the table helps children understand table manners and the importance of helping out during meal times.

  • Watering Plants: Watering plants teaches children about nurturing and caring for living things. It also promotes a sense of responsibility.

  • Taking Out the Trash: Taking out the trash helps children understand the importance of cleanliness and proper waste disposal.

  • Making the Bed: Making the bed promotes tidiness and organization skills. It also helps children start their day on a positive note.

  • Dusting Furniture: Dusting furniture teaches children the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy environment. It also promotes attention to detail.

  • Feeding Pets: Feeding pets helps children understand the responsibility of caring for animals and promotes empathy and compassion.

  • Sorting Recycling: Sorting recycling teaches children about environmental awareness and the importance of reducing waste.

  • Cleaning Windows: Cleaning windows promotes attention to detail and helps children understand the importance of maintaining a clean living space.

  • Organizing Toys: Organizing toys helps children learn the importance of tidiness and organization. It also promotes creativity and imagination.

  • Raking Leaves: Raking leaves teaches children the value of hard work and physical activity. It also promotes outdoor play.

  • Wiping Countertops: Wiping countertops helps children understand the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in the kitchen.

  • Helping with Meal Prep: Helping with meal prep teaches children valuable cooking skills and promotes family bonding during meal times.


Consequences for Not Doing Chores

It is a common parenting strategy to establish consequences for not completing chores. Consistent consequences can help teach children about responsibility, accountability, and the importance of following through on tasks. However, it is important to ensure that the consequences are appropriate and fair, and that they are communicated clearly to the child in advance. Consistency and positive reinforcement for completing chores can also be effective in encouraging children to fulfill their responsibilities. Ultimately, the decision to give consequences for not doing chores should align with your parenting style and values.


Most people give kids consequences for not doing chores by implementing a system of rewards and consequences. Some common consequences and approaches include:


  • Time-based consequences: Setting a deadline for completing chores and implementing a consequence if the task is not done within the specified time frame.

  • Loss of privileges: Withholding privileges such as screen time, outings, or other activities until the chore is completed.

  • Natural consequences: Allowing children to experience the natural consequences of not completing their chores, such as having a messy room or not having clean clothes to wear.

  • Extra chores: Assigning additional tasks or chores as a consequence for not completing the original chore.

  • Verbal reminders: Providing verbal reminders and warnings about the consequences of not doing chores.

  • Written agreements: Creating a written agreement outlining the expectations and consequences for not completing chores.

  • Positive reinforcement: Offering rewards, incentives, or allowance for completing chores to motivate children to fulfill their responsibilities.


It is important to choose consequences that are age-appropriate, fair, and consistent to effectively teach children about responsibility and accountability.


There are many benefits of doing chores and it will take some trial and error to strike a balance between rewarding hard work and fostering intrinsic motivation, while also setting clear expectations and consequences for not fulfilling responsibilities. By tailoring your approach to align with your own family values and goals, you can effectively teach children the value of work, responsibility, and financial literacy through the completion of chores.

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