Here are the chores your kid can help with, sorted by age

I’LL NEVER FORGET the smug look on my then pre-schooler’s face the day I arrived at pick up and caught him putting his coat on all by himself.

“Wait. He can put on his own coat?” I asked the nearest teacher, completely dumbfounded.

“Yep. Does he pretend like he can’t at home?” (Clearly my son wasn’t the first kid to ride the clueless parent gravy train.)

“Of course he does! He acts like he has Tyrannosaurus arms when I even suggest it. THE JIG IS UP, KID.”

I was a first time mom who had been duped by a person who still had to be told not to lick things. By the power of the flip trick, I had been liberated; not just from helping my limp and stubborn son into his coat multiple mind-numbing times per day, but from the notion that I had to do everything for him.  (The flip trick, for the uninitiated, is the pre-school patented coat application wherein the kid places their coat open on the floor, stands at the hood, bends down to insert their arms and then in one fell swoop, whips it up and over their head onto their body. Half mechanics, half theatrics.)

It was the dawn of a new day. I started to evaluate just how much I was doing for him that he was plenty capable of doing for himself.

Now that he’s nine and my second is three, there’s no shortage of chores, both personal and family related that they’re responsible for.

My general rule is, if they can do it for themselves, they should. Getting dressed, carrying things to and from the car, clearing their place at the table, cleaning their own messes, making their bed, hanging up their towels, personal hygiene to the extent that they can do it effectively; all things they are held accountable for.

I’m not saying I don’t often step in and do things for them just because. I tame my son’s wild mane, fix snacks, and hunt for lost toys. It would be hypocritical not to, as I’m constantly asking favors of my husband AND kids. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone do something for  you.

But keeping a house running smoothly requires pitching in from everyone. So in addition to taking care of themselves to the best of their abilities, here’s a list of chores sorted by age appropriateness:

2-3 year olds

  • Clean up toys
  • Wipe down baseboards
  • Fold hand towels
  • Sweep under their chair after meals
  • Fill pet’s water and food bowls
  • Help make their bed
  • Wipe cabinets

4-5 year olds

  • All 2-3 chores
  • Sweep the floor
  • Prepare simple snacks
  • Sort clean silverware
  • Help carry groceries
  • Set the table

6-7 year olds

  • All 2-5 chores
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Gather trash
  • Fold towels
  • Rake leaves
  • Weed garden
  • Wipe down counters
  • Clean bathroom surfaces

8-11 year olds

  • All 2-7 chores
  • Walk the dog
  • Take out trash
  • Vacuum floors
  • Wash walls
  • Dust
  • Laundry duties
  • Clean car
  • Prepare an easy meal

12 and up

  • all 2-11 chores
  • Mow the lawn
  • Babysit
  • Wash windows
  • Assist with home repairs
  • Thoroughly clean bathroom