age appropriate choresage appropriate chores

Age Appropriate Chores for Kids

Family Finance
April 28, 2024
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Kids can start helping with house chores early on, and doing chores teaches them important life skills.

Chores are not just boring household tasks.

Giving kids chores suited to their age can make them feel accomplished and ready for an independent life.

They allow children to learn responsibility, gain skills, and contribute to their families.

Giving kids chores suited to their age can make them feel accomplished and ready for an independent life.

However, it's important to choose tasks that match their development level.

What values do chores teach, what age-specific chores can you give your kids, and should you pay your kids for doing chores?

Let's explore.

Chores for Kids by Age

Matching daily chores by age ensures kids are engaged and capable of completing their tasks.

For kids with older siblings, the idea of taking on harder and better-paying chores as when they're older can be exciting.

chores by age

Toddlers: Your Kid's First Chore

When to Start Chores

Children can start doing simple tasks around the house at two years of age.

Toddlers are eager to help and make themselves useful.

Simple tasks, like putting toys away, feeding pets, wiping spills, or dusting, can be your toddler's first chores.

Parents would be wise to seize this opportunity to make toddlers feel appreciated and valued.

For young toddlers, chores should be an introduction to helping out around the house - not tasks they need to do perfectly and on time.

Simple tasks, like putting toys away, feeding pets, wiping spills, or dusting, can be your toddler's first chores.

They will require your supervision and help.

Chores for Toddlers - Ages 2-3

  • Helping set the table
  • Helping make the bed
  • Picking up toys and books
  • Putting laundry in the hamper or the laundry room
  • Helping to feed pets
  • Dry mopping in small areas with help to maneuver the mop
chores for ages 2-3: put away toys

Chores for Ages 4-9

Pre-school and early elementary school-aged kids are still pretty motivated to help in the house.

They also love solo time with adults.

If parents take the time to guide them through new chores, kids of these ages are usually excited to participate.

Track chores with visual aids like chore charts to help them get motivated by their success.

Here are some ideas for age-appropriate chores for kids of this age:

  • Helping to clear and set the table
  • Making the bed by themselves
  • Clearing the dishwasher and putting dishes away
  • Giving food to the family's dog
  • Wiping the table after dinner
  • Helping take the groceries out of the car
  • Making a sandwich and prepare a lunchbox
  • Cleaning their room
  • Helping out with preparing food
  • Putting away groceries
  • Sorting laundry whites and colors
  • Watering plants with a small container
  • Pulling garden weeds
  • Washing small dishes in the sink
chores for ages 4-9: feeding pets

Chores for Ages 10-13

Tweens are usually busier and more distracted by social commitments than just a few years ago.

They're no longer as eager to spend time with their parents.

Tweens may also be more inclined to do chores if they get an allowance for them.

However, they may cooperate with chores - especially if they're involved in planning and scheduling.

They may also be more inclined if they get an allowance for doing chores.

What chores can tweens do?

  • Mowing the lawn
  • Helping to wash the car
  • Using the washing machine and dryer
  • Helping to prepare simple meals.
  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Raking leaves
  • Taking out the garbage
  • Babysitting younger siblings
  • Walking the dog
chores for kids 10-13: wash the car

Chores for Teenagers, Ages 14-18

Most teenagers can do nearly any chore at home with proper training.

At this age, the challenges are usually competing commitments - schoolwork, extracurriculars, and social life - and a general disinterest in chores.

While teenagers are perfectly capable of doing housework at this point, their desire for privacy, autonomy, and personal space also has to be respected by parents.

Some experts believe teenagers should be given free rein in their bedrooms.

On the other hand, teenagers are very highly motivated by earning opportunities.

Getting paid for chores is a great way to motivate them. It's also an opportunity to continue their money management lessons.

Thankfully, there are plenty of household chores outside their bedroom teenagers can do:  

  • Vacuuming, changing vacuum cleaner bags, or emptying the canister
  • Replacing light bulbs
  • Ironing clothes
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Caring for pets (feeding, walking, grooming)
  • Setting and clearing the table
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Walking younger siblings to school
  • Cleaning bathrooms, including toilets and showers
  • Doing laundry
  • Washing windows
  • Cleaning out​ the refrigerator and other kitchen appliances
  • Preparing meals
  • Preparing grocery lists

The Value of Chores

Most American parents believe in the educational value of getting kids to do chores around the house.

According to one study, 75% of American parents think that regular chores make their children "more responsible".

Responsibility, accountability, and dedication are all skills and values learned when doing chores.

63% of US parents believe that helping out at home teaches kids essential life skills, according to research.  

Let's dive into some benefits for kids pitching in around the house.

Self Esteem and Confidence

Helping with house chores makes kids feel like they are important members of the family.

They feel needed and appreciated for their role in the family unit.

Holding kids accountable for their chores can increase their self-confidence.

When they're successful in their chores, they develop confidence that they can be successful in the outside world - with friends and at school.

Basic Life Skills

Self-care and maintaining your space are basic skills for life.

Keeping yourself and your space clean is important for family life.

It also prepares the kids to be tidy later in life, with roommates, romantic partners, colleagues, and friends.

Contributing to the Community

Developing a sense of belonging, giving, and contributing to society is fundamental to adulthood.

When kids help out in the house from an early age, they get a head start on these skills early on.

Work Ethic

Responsibility, accountability, and dedication are all skills and values learned when doing chores.

Just like work, mandatory chores are not so comfortable and enjoyable.

Even if the work is unpleasant - like cleaning the toilet or the kitchen sink - getting the job done helps kids learn the value of their task to the household as a whole.

Time Management

Juggling school, sports, clubs, social life and chores is essential for developing good time and task management skills.


Cooperation with other family members is the stepping stone for collaboration in school, work, and other forums.

Long-Term Success

Doing chores at a young age prepares kids to be successful adults.

One study found that doing chores at age 3 or 4 is the strongest sign of success in young adults.

Paying for Chores

Whether or not to pay kids for chores is a personal choice that varies from one family to another, based on the family's unique values and beliefs.

Some families feel that doing chores is a responsibility that comes with being part of the family, so kids shouldn't expect to get paid.

Others view paying for chores as an opportunity to teach children important lessons about money management and the value of hard work.  

Paying for extra chores teaches kids about earning money without forgetting family rules.

If you adopt a mixed approach, consider paying your kids for chores above and beyond their basic chores.

By this logic, clearing the kid's own plate could be mandatory and unpaid.

Landscaping work or mowing the lawn would earn your kid money.

If you do decide to pay your kids for chores, make sure to teach how to manage their earnings.

Get them a piggy bank and wallet, and teach about saving and spending.

Use a chores and allowance app to get kids engaged.

With an app, you can assign chores to kids and set the rates of pay.

How Much to Pay

How much you pay for chores is your choice.

It is a reflection of your values and financial ability.

Here are a few methods to help you figure out how to structure payment.

paying an allowance for chores

Pay for Chore Complexity

One way to price chores is to create a chore list with tiered pricing according to task complexity.

  • Easy chores: Making the bed, picking up toys - $0.50 to $1
  • Intermediate chores: Vacuuming, doing the dishes - $2 to $3
  • Complex chores: Mowing the lawn, washing the car - $5 to $10

A basic guideline is $0.50- $1 for simple tasks for younger children, scaling up to $5 or more for complex tasks for older children.

Pay a Set Amount for Multiple Chores

Another way to price chores is to give them a set amount for completing several chores.

List all relevant chores for your kid and mark each chore completed.

When a group of chores is done, pay your kid a fixed fee for several completed chores — for example, earning $1 for any four chores completed.

Give Allowance in Exchange for Chores  

Allowance amounts vary from family to family, but the average weekly allowance is $30, according to a 2019 survey published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

This survey also found that the average hourly rate for children whose allowance is based on chores is $6.  

A popular rule-of-thumb for giving an allowance is paying kids between $1 and $2 weekly for every year of their age.

By this logic, a 12-year-old could earn between $12 and $24 weekly.

A 16-year-old might receive between $16 and $32 weekly.


We've summarized our tips and thoughts into a table for you to easily read through.

Kids' Ages Best Types of Chores Grown-up Needed? Pro Tips
2-3 Simple: Tasks that involve picking up or cleaning with assistance. Can be done in 5 minutes. Close monitoring and assistance needed Make chores fun and appreciative, focus on encouraging effort
4-9 Moderate: Tasks that can be done independently but might need initial guidance. Up to 15 minutes. Guidance and occasional help Use visual aids like chore charts, celebrate successes Consider small rewards for extra tasks
10-13 Advanced: Tasks requiring more skill or multiple steps. Could take 20 minutes to an hour. Oversight for safety, independence in tasks Encourage responsibility through planning and scheduling chores Consider paying for some chores
14-18 Complex: Nearly all household tasks, including those requiring significant responsibility or time. Over an hour for some. Trust and verify, respect for privacy Use chores as a way to teach teens about real-world responsibilities. Integrating technology with chores can increase engagement


What age is appropriate to start household chores?

Children as young as 2 can start with very simple tasks.

At the age of 5 kids can usually do tasks somewhat by themselves.

The complexity of chores can increase with the child's age and ability.

What chores can kids do at what ages?

Every child develops at their own pace.

It's important to ask kids to do chores they're developmentally ready for.

Here are general guidelines and suggestions:

  • Ages 2-3: Simple tasks with help from an adult.
  • Ages 4-9: Tasks that can take a few minutes at a time. Setting the table, making their bed, clearing the dishwasher, and helping with groceries.
  • Ages 10-13: At this age kids can independently perform chores. Mowing the lawn, washing the car, preparing simple meals, and using the washing machine.
  • Ages 14-18: Nearly all household chores, including vacuuming, doing laundry, cooking, and shopping for groceries online.

What chores should kids get paid for?

Every family chooses differently when it comes to paying for chores.

Some families consider chores regular responsibilities, some choose to reward for all chores.

Some families choose not to pay for everyday chores and pay for extra tasks beyond the child's regular duties.

Chores that are beyond a child's personal responsibility are great candidates to be paid chores.

These may include sorting laundry, yard work, car washing, and vacuuming the house.

What should a 7 year old be able to do independently?

At the age of 7, kids are capable of performing tasks that take about 15 minutes without losing focus.

For example, a 7 year old should be able to make their bed, clean their room, help with pets, and help set and clear the table.

Should a 10 year old do chores?

Having household responsibilities and chores is good for kids.

It teaches them to be responsible and learn essential life skills.

At 10, kids can do many tasks on their own.

Chores can help them learn to be responsible, manage their time better, and care for themselves.

How many chores should a 14-year-old do?

It's more than reasonable for teens to complete 3 to 5 chores per week, depending on the complexity and time required for each task.

This approach ensures they contribute to the household while maintaining a healthy balance with their studies and hobbies.

Should a 19-year-old have chores?

It is very common for 19 year olds to have chores, especially if they are still living at home with their parents.

19-year-olds are adults, completely capable of doing all household chores.

It's reasonable for them to contribute to household maintenance.

What chores are appropriate for a 12 year old girl?

Some fitting ideas are cleaning her bedroom, helping clean the house, cooking simple meals, doing laundry, and helping with yard work.

Should 13 year olds do chores?

Many families expect 13 year olds to help with chores around the house.

Doing chores teaches to be responsible and helps learn important skills for life.

Young teens can handle complex tasks and contribute to daily house management.

For example, they can help cook meals, do laundry, clean bathrooms, and even take care of younger siblings.

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