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There are many different types of families out there.
Regardless of the type of the family, they all have one thing in common… children.
And the way we raise our children will impact the way they treat others… how they see themselves… and, ultimately, the effect they have on the world.
The planet even.
The sky’s the limit for children… they just need a good vehicle for getting them there.
That vehicle to get your kids as far as they can go is structure.
And structure starts with chores for kids.
Yes, kids should have chores.
We can’t all be the laid back, “super chill” mom or dad that does everything for their child.
No good will come of it.
Kids need to learn responsibility.
They need discipline.
And it is never too early to start.
But mine are still so little.
My son has so much homework.
Dance class takes up so much of her time.
Stop making excuses!
First off, “little’ is subjective.
Sure, an infant can barely lift its own head, let alone put laundry away.
But a toddler can do plenty.
They understand more than you think.
As for the school-age child with homework… news flash!
Life is about balance.
And they will learn that the hard way as they get older… unless you teach it to them first.
Believe me… you will be a much kinder teacher than their first college professor or employer.
Dance class? Gymnastics? Football?
I get it.
True talent should never be ignored… and passion shouldn’t be quieted.
But life is unpredictable and, well, broken bones happen.
We’ve all heard the one about the star athlete who never finished college to play football professionally… then lost everything when he tore his ACL. It happens all too frequently.
Kids need to learn how to shift gears, adapt and prioritize.
Chores and the responsibility they bring are invaluable life lessons…
Learning how to turn those life's curveballs into home runs is what we all want for our kids.
We all want to raise a well-rounded, smart, respectful and kind human being.
After all, the children are our future.
Yes, I just went all “We are the World” on you.
Try watching the video without shedding a tear.
I double dog dare you.
But don’t forget to click back here and keep reading because I am going to provide a killer list of age-appropriate chores for kids.
And you will thank me.
(Side note: Want to level up your parenting skills? Then check out this resource that will show you how to get your kids to listen WITHOUT yelling, nagging, or losing control)!
You won’t only thank me because your kids will be the envy of all your friends… but because you’ll have more time on your hands to spend with them.
And quality time with loved ones is the dream!
There is never enough time. Life moves too fast for that.
So let’s get down to business.
What You Will Learn
- The Toddler Chore List: Chores for Kids Age 2-3
- The Kinder Chore List: Chores for Kids Age 4-5
- The Early Elementary Chore List: Chores for Kids Age 6-9
- Chore #13: Make your Bed (Daily)
- Chore #14: Make your Breakfast (Daily)
- Chore #15: Place their Lunch Order (Daily)
- Chore #16: Bring their Dirty Laundry to the Washing Machine (As Needed)
- Chore #17: Put their Clean Laundry Away (As Needed)
- Chore #18: Feed the Family Pet (Daily)
- Chore #19: Empty All of the Wastebaskets (Weekly, or As Needed)
- The Double Digits Chore List: Chores for Kids Ages 10-15
- Chore #20: Take Responsibility for the Family Pet (Daily)
- Chore 21: Load and Unload the Dishwasher (Daily)
- Chore #22: Pack their School Lunches (Daily)
- Chore #23: Create a Family Shower Schedule (Daily)
- Chore #24: Help with Dinner (Daily)
- Chore #25: Get their Gear Ready (Daily)
- Chore #26: Take out the Recycling (Weekly)
- The High School Chore List: Chores for Kids Ages 16-18
- Some Final Thoughts on Chores for Kids
The Toddler Chore List: Chores for Kids Age 2-3
What a toddler is going to accomplish in their “chores” is not going to lighten your load very much, but it is the key time to start getting them used to the idea that they need to contribute their share. (as small as that share may be).
First and foremost, I have to point out here that the definition of a toddler is somewhat subjective these days.
The original term was created by the medical profession to match a child’s developmental milestones with their age. It was based on children ages 1-3.
Today, preschool programs… daycares… children’s clothing lines… they all casually refer to toddlers as 2-3 years old.
Some will even include 4-year-olds under this label.
And that is really all it is… a label.
So here’s the bottom line. My bottom line.
If your child is old enough to understand consequence and action…
If they know right from wrong (sort of)…
If they know what you are saying to them and can generally communicate, in one way or another, what they want to say to you…
Then your child is old enough for chores.
And being the oh-so-wise mom of four that I am, I believe that age starts at 2.
So here goes.
Oh, and keep in mind that many of the chores I’ll be listing in each category can still work for older children (so use your judgment).
Chore #1: Clean up your toys when you’re finished playing with them (Daily)
This is not rocket science. It is what it is.
If the kids are playing Barbies for 20 minutes… you know, just enough time to make it look as if Mattel® set a doll bomb off in your playroom… they can’t move onto the next thing until the toys are put back where they came from.
Chore #2: Put your Dirty Clothes in the Hamper (Daily)
Whether they can undress, or still need a little bit of help, they should not need help putting those dirty clothes into a hamper.
It’s a matter of dropping something.
A 2 or 3-year-old can do this.
They do it all day.
Unintentionally, I’m sure… but still.
They’ve got this.
Chore #3: Fetch stuff from Mom and Dad (Daily)
Your kids are not dogs.
I know this!
But the concept isn’t that different.
Small children may not be able to actually set or clear the table just yet.
They may not be able to clean the house with you.
What they can do, however, is… well… get your stuff.
Fetch if you will.
Something as simple as, “Can you please get mommy a diaper for the baby?” or “Would you please bring dad a dish towel” can make a small child feel as if they are helping you in a big way!
And they really are… in their minds.
Baby steps, people.
Chore #4: Help with the Dishes (Daily)
Before we get ahead of ourselves with all the “what?” and “how?” questions… let me be very clear.
A “toddler” should not be washing glass dishes in the sink.
A “toddler” should not be loading knives into the dishwasher.
I think we’re in agreement on that.
What a “toddler” can do under adult supervision is this:
Put his or her plastic bowls, plates, cups, utensils, etc… into the dishwasher
Dry his or her plastic bowls, plates, cups, utensils, etc… with a dish towel
Put the dishwasher tablet, pod, etc… where it goes in the machine (my kids love this one)
Put his or her plastic bowls, plates, cups, utensils, etc… back in the cupboard, pantry, drawer. Whatever.
Here’s a little tip: You should keep your kids’ mealtime items in a place where they can reach them in the kitchen. This will encourage helping in a meaningful and safe way.
Chore #5: Pick out your Pajamas (Daily)
By the age of 2, definitely by 3, a child should know where their pajama drawer is.
They may even know where their other clothes are, but let’s start small.
Make it a nightly routine that they pick out the pajamas they want to wear while you draw their bath.
Have them lay their pj’s on their bed (or yours, depending on your routine) and then meet you in the bathroom.
Choosing their own bedtime attire will give them a sense of importance and pride. It will make them feel like a “big kid”… which is half the battle when getting them on board with chores.
Chores for kids do not always have to feel like work.
They can feel like fun… and that’s ok.
Chore #6: Help with the Garden (Weekly)
It is never too early to teach kids the importance of self-sustainability.
Growing your own food and composting is an empowering, and environmentally friendly, way to let your little one help out at home.
The garden is full of chore possibilities… here are three easy ones:
The Kinder Chore List: Chores for Kids Age 4-5
Whether in pre-k or kindergarten, children ages 4 and 5-years-old are capable of doing more than you think.
After all, chances are they’ve been in school for a while now… meaning they’ve had a teacher telling them to share, assigning them classroom duties and providing instruction in your absence.
And I bet your kids listen.
Not just because they have to… but because they enjoy helping!
Kids at this age are receptive to responsibility.
C’mon. You know it’s true.
Keeping this in mind, here are my favorite chores for this delightful little group of heart-string tuggers.
Chore #7: Pick out Your Clothes for School (Daily)
This is a simple way for children to take something off of your to-do list.
Have them choose an outfit at night after their bath, just in case you have to make any minor “tweaks” to their wardrobe (ie, swapping out a pajama shirt for a short sleeve tee).
Go over their selection together and be sure to pay them lots of compliments… and also explain the reason for any changes you made, if at all.
The children will feel important, having been included in what feels like such a big part of their daily routine.
Chore #8: Set the Dinner Table (Daily)
Kids at this age should be able to put plates, most utensils, cups and napkins on the table.
Especially if they are plastic.
And I strongly suggest plastic table settings until the kids are at least 6 years old.
There really isn’t any reason to have ceramic or glass, etc…
It’s just asking for trouble.
Plus, they make so many nice looking plastic place settings now that there really isn’t any good reason to reserve them just for outdoor dining.
Not to mention, your kids will feel special if they use the same plates as everybody else.
Want in on a mom secret?
Many of those “kid” dining sets aren’t microwave or dishwasher safe.
I learned that the hard way when Curious George®’s face melted off our son’s breakfast bowl after just one cycle.
Talk about mortifying!
I’ve made peace with it.
All kidding aside, why make your life harder by having to hand wash plates… or transfer from a microwave-safe dish to your child’s Mickey Mouse® one?
It’s just plain silly.
And I can say this now because I have four children under age 8.
And I just don’t have time for that.
A plate is a plate is a plate.
Chore #9: Clear your Eating Space (Daily)
When you’re all done eating… breakfast, lunch, dinner, whatever… have your child put his or her stuff in the sink or dishwasher.
Let them throw their napkin in the trash.
Let them wipe their placemat with a sponge or sanitizing wipe.
Let them help!
If you have more than one child this age, make them all responsible for their own.
The same goes for setting the table.
Chore #10: Dry the Dishes (Daily)
Hand your wee one a dish towel and have them start drying the pots, pans, ladles, and whisks that you don’t bother putting into the dishwasher.
Or the plates.
You know, the plastic ones that aren’t dishwasher safe.
Listen, it’s a simple enough chore… but also gives the two of you a little chance to talk, which in my mind, is a win/win.
Checking in with your child at the end of a long day is a great way to reconnect and count your blessings.
I still vividly remember drying dishes with my cousins after Sunday dinners at my grandma’s house… wasn’t much older than this when I started.
I loved it.
Your children will likely love it too.
Chore #11: Help with Bathtime (Daily)
Young kids love baths.
But you know what they love even more?
Turning the water on
Putting bubbles into the bath
Dropping color changing tablets into the water to turn it pink or green
Setting up their mermaid/pirate adventure island
Placing the bath markers on the ledge for when they’re ready to write their names
All of these cool things make for an awesome bath experience… so why should you deprive them of setting it up?
With your help, of course, have them get their bath ready.
The shrills of excitement and smiles on their face every step of the way will put them in the best mood for bath time… which makes your job easier, especially if they’ve had a long day.
Lather them up a bit… then just sit back and let them play for a while before you wash the shampoo out under the waterfall (aka, faucet).
Chore #12: Help with the Grocery List and Shopping (Weekly)
Kids love their snacks at this age.
My 4-year-old can eat all day long.
Seriously, feed her scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast… and she’s ready for a snack 20 minutes later. Then lunch within an hour or so.
This is typical of most small children.
Eating is often not as much about necessity as it is boredom.
It’s a way to pass the time.
So view this as an opportunity.
An opportunity to make them accountable for helping with the weekly grocery shopping.
Have them sit with you and create a shopping list. Then, take them to the store and have them help put items into the cart… even have them read off the list if they can.
Children will feel as if they had a real hand in deciding what your family eats this week.
But more than that, you can use this as a chance to teach them the important lesson of a well-balanced diet.
They can’t just put cheese crackers and ice cream on the list.
Explain why they need different foods to stay healthy and avoid obesity.
The Early Elementary Chore List: Chores for Kids Age 6-9
By the time most children reach first grade… they are bombarded with added responsibility in school.
For many, it starts with going from half-day kindergarten to a full day of classroom stimulation. Multiple subjects… recess… lunch.
Bye bye, naptime.
Teachers expect our kids to focus for 6-7 hours a day… and that doesn’t include the time before school and after.
When we need them in the present…
Listening. Cooperating. Helping.
But now there’s the homework.
It’s a lot.
Still, life can put a lot on our plate. They need to get used to it.
You can’t just sit back and say, “the poor kid had a long day… let him unwind at home.”
Do that and you might as well be handing them a plate of caviar and glass of sparkling water.
I’m not saying hand them a mop as soon as they walk in the door… what I am saying is they’d benefit from a chore chart and schedule at this age.
You can purchase magnetic ones online, dry erase versions, or even use a printable.
Whatever works for you.
But what does not work is just letting your kids sit idle all afternoon. Especially on the weekends.
As fun as video games are, they won’t teach your child responsibility.
Or the important lesson of earning a dollar.
Incentives, such as allowance, are perfectly acceptable when it comes to assigning chores for kids.
Rewards are another good option… such as 10-30 minutes of free time earned for every chore completed*.
*Free time earned is dependent on the chore. More time working translates to more free time earned.
This age is the perfect time to introduce an allowance.
That being said, here are some great chores for kids ages 6-9….
Chore #13: Make your Bed (Daily)
Making a bed is not difficult.
Especially if it’s a twin bed.
It’s simply just one more thing you don’t need to be doing… so that you can do other things.
Your school age child can certainly take two minutes to make their own bed.
In fact, they make covers now that essentially make the bed for them… with the pull of a zipper.
Yes, a zipper.
My kids are all about the Zippy Sack. It’s basically a sleeping bag that hugs your mattress.
And as silly as it sounds, it works. Kids love zipping up their bed.
Fun for them, helpful for you.
Chore #14: Make your Breakfast (Daily)
Ok. Maybe your child is still a bit young to be whipping up homemade pancakes on the griddle….
But, they are not too young to pour themselves a bowl of cereal… butter themselves a bagel… grab a yogurt… microwave some oatmeal.
Don’t disable the able.
And don’t encourage them to be lazy by doing these simple tasks for them.
Sure, if you want to make them waffles or french toast on Sunday morning… go for it! During the week, however, let them get their breakfast while you get their lunches ready.
Chore #15: Place their Lunch Order (Daily)
If your child is brown-bagging lunch during the week, make it a point to sit down together each night and go over what they want the next day.
Take their order, if you will.
I actually found cute little order pads/guest checkbooks at the dollar store, which the kids get a kick out of filling out for me.
You can find them in larger quantities on amazon, of course.
Ideally, their lunch order is something you can already prep in the evening so that all you have to do is put it in the lunchbox and send them on their merry way in the morning.
This may not always be the case, though, as lunches have gotten so fancy these days…
A hot thermos filled with pesto noodles.
Hummus with pita chips and olives.
There are things you can do ahead of time.
Like putting the pretzels in their lunch bag… or pre-cutting the cheddar cheese they want with their crackers.
And taking the guesswork out of what they actually want saves valuable time in the morning.
Chore #16: Bring their Dirty Laundry to the Washing Machine (As Needed)
Every child this age should have their own laundry basket, hamper, bag, etc… in their room.
And when that basket becomes full, they should be responsible for bringing the said basket to the laundry room.
Of course, if there is something they need to be washed sooner, they can certainly bring it to the washing machine so you know it needs to be done.
This happens all of the time with my kids’ soccer jerseys.
And I’m here to tell you there is nothing like pulling a smelly jersey out of the hamper on game day. Mmmmm.
Personally, I try and dedicate one day per week to each family member’s laundry.
Four kids mean four laundry days for them. One for husband. One for me. One for sheets, towels, etc.
Ah, the seven days of laundry.
It doesn’t always go according to plan, but when it does… it makes the whole laundry experience seem a bit less daunting.
Chore #17: Put their Clean Laundry Away (As Needed)
I don’t know about you, but for me, the worst part about doing laundry is putting the clothes away. Especially if you have multiple family members in one load.
That is why I prefer to assign each person a laundry day (as I mentioned above).
If it’s your 7-year-old’s turn on Tuesday, fold the clothes and place the basket in her room for her to put away.
If your 9-year-old is up on Thursday, give him his basket that evening.
Having only one room to worry about saves time.
Having your child handle it for you… well, that saves yourself time for that glass of wine you deserve after a long day!
Chore #18: Feed the Family Pet (Daily)
We’ve all been there.
You child staring up at you with puppy dog eyes… literally asking for a puppy.
It’s hard to resist.
And most of us don’t.
If it isn’t a puppy, it’s a kitten.
Or a goldfish.
Or a hamster.
Yes, our daughter wants a bunny.
Regardless of what pet you welcome into your home, kids need to understand that it’s an added responsibility.
And one that shouldn’t fall on you alone.
In fact, and you hear this all the time, taking care of a pet can be as much work as raising a small child.
The potty training.
The sleep training.
Finding a sitter for them.
So, my advice to you is this… make your child accountable for, at the very least, feeding the family pet.
Putting food in a dog or cat bowl is not difficult.
Sprinkling food into the fishbowl… not difficult.
Giving the lizard some lettuce leaves… easy enough.
They wanted the pet… they have to help take care of it.
That should be non-negotiable.
Your best bet, of course, is to keep your kids first pet something simple, like keeping fish, that can keep the kids happy, teach them responsibility, but make minimal impact on YOUR workload.
Chore #19: Empty All of the Wastebaskets (Weekly, or As Needed)
Most families have a main trash can in the kitchen… and a slew of smaller wastebaskets in the various bathrooms, bedrooms, office, etc.
These don’t typically need to be taken out daily, as they are mostly filled with tissues or paper… still, they do need to be emptied.
My family averages every 3 days or so, but our little guy is still in diapers and one is in pull-ups at night.
Lingering wet diaper smell… no thank you!
If you line the baskets with plastic bags from the grocery store, it makes emptying them a cinch for your kids.
Then simply have them add the contents to the larger bag that’s ready to be taken outside.
One and done!
The Double Digits Chore List: Chores for Kids Ages 10-15
So this age group is a bit tricky… for a number of reasons.
Kids tend to develop major attitudes at this age.
They feel grown.
They likely have no concept of what things cost.
They often try and emulate the “popular” kids… or maybe they are the popular kids, sporting the latest fashion trends.
Their bodies are changing.
Their likes and dislikes fluctuate almost daily.
What? Wait! Harry Potter isn’t cool when you’re 11 anymore??
Don’t tell my 8-year-old. He’d be crushed.
To be frank, while there is a decent age gap between 10 and 15-years-olds… they share one very important thing.
They are struggling to find themselves and to fit in.
It’s all just a melting pot of confused kids trying to find their voice.
That is why chores for kids at this age should be geared towards instilling in them a feeling of self-worth.
Self-esteem is critical at this age.
If you build them up at home, make them feel important… they will likely carry that with them for the rewst of their lives.
Dealing with bullies… figuring out who their real friends are… finding their place in the world… it will all be much easier if they respect themselves.
Give them a purpose at home and they will find purpose in the everyday.
Chore #20: Take Responsibility for the Family Pet (Daily)
Yes, the pet thing makes a second appearance in this blog.
Because tasking a child with taking responsibility for another living thing is huge!
It teaches them empathy.
A child aged 10-15 is not only capable of feeding the family pet… but taking the dog for a walk.
Emptying a litter box.
Cleaning the fish tank.
There is no reason for you to do these things, at all, unless your child isn’t home.
Chore 21: Load and Unload the Dishwasher (Daily)
There is no reason why a child in this age group can’t safely handle full-on dishwasher duty.
I’m not suggesting you hand them the sharp knives to juggle… but they can certainly manage the rinsing off and loading of plates, glasses, mugs, forks, spoons, butter knives.
Then they can empty the dishwasher.
And put the items away.
It will be ok.
Plus, they probably know where the band-aids are.
Yes, I went there.
You need to let these children help.
I mean, you don’t cover them in bubble wrap before sending them off on their bikes.
That would just be weird.
A cut may happen here and there, a glass may break.
It will be ok.
Chore #22: Pack their School Lunches (Daily)
You are off the hook for school lunch.
You may actually get to straighten your hair in the morning once in a while!
At this age, a child knows what he or she likes… and what they don’t like.
That is not to say they should have free reign… you can still provide a list of “criteria”, if you will, for packing their lunches.
Like it must include one fruit or veggie.
Or that they have to have some protein in addition to carbs.
Limit it to one sweet treat.
Each school night, have your child write down what they are going to have for lunch the next day… and leave it for you to approve.
Once you make the necessary changes, if any, they are good to go.
All they have to do the next morning is pack it up.
Time-saving tip: have them pack up or prep whatever they can the night before. It may just mean an extra 10 mins of sleep… and who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Chore #23: Create a Family Shower Schedule (Daily)
By this age, baths are a thing of the past.
And the kids’ schedules are often all over the place.
Gym on Monday.
Soccer on Wed and Saturday.
Swimming on Friday.
Sometimes it may make sense for them to shower at night…
Other days, the morning works best.
Let them create a shower schedule (especially if sharing bathrooms is an issue), so that everybody knows what time to set their alarm clocks.
Chore #24: Help with Dinner (Daily)
Having your kids help with dinner is different than having them cook dinner.
Helping means that they can microwave leftovers.
Helping means they can preheat the oven.
Helping means they can bring out the condiments.
Helping means they can dress the salad.
Helping means they can plate the meal.
Helping means they can pour the beverages.
Have them do all of the little things so that you can direct your focus towards getting food onto the table in a timely fashion.
Because the less time you have to spend in the kitchen means more time to sit down and chat with each other.
And that is priceless.
Chore #25: Get their Gear Ready (Daily)
The mornings have a tendency to get away from us.
Or at least, from me.
I’m not ashamed to admit it.
I’m a hot mess in the morning.
No matter how early I get up, or how prepared I think I am… my kids have a gift for making me feel like I’m playing a game of “Beat the Clock”.
It’s sad, really.
But it happens.
So how do we fix it?
Planning the night before.
“For what?”, you ask.
Well… for starters:
1. Check the weather for the next morning.
If it’s calling for rain, have your kids hang their raincoats by the door in the evening.
If a cold front is moving in, make them swap out the jean jacket for a lined one.
2. Check the kids’ schedules for the next day.
If they have lacrosse right after school, have them place their gear in a duffle bag by the door.
If they are going to a friend’s house for playdate, have them place a change of clothes and a snack in their backpack.
Whether your child takes the bus, walks, carpools, or you drive them… being prepared the night before will help ensure smooth sailing out the door.
One can hope.
Oh, and another little tip: if you’re on drop-off duty in the AM… you can load up the car the night before to save time and lower your chances of forgetting something amidst the morning madness.
Chore #26: Take out the Recycling (Weekly)
Be mindful of your carbon footprint.
Respect the planet.
It’s a valuable lesson to impart on our children now.
If you haven’t done so already, that is.
Recycling is one of the easiest things you can do to help keep Earth healthy.
And it’s a perfect chore for kids age 10-15.
Discuss with them the importance of recycling.
Explain to them what goes where.
Then put your child in charge of the family’s recycling obligation.
Have he or she make sure everything is in its proper bin each day… and then let them take the recycling out for your town’s pick up each week.
They will feel important… as if they are making a real difference.
And they are.
You all are.
The High School Chore List: Chores for Kids Ages 16-18
If your kids are in high school, odds are they are driving… or very close to it.
Perhaps they have a part-time job.
They have curfews.
And it most certainly feels as if they are eating you out of house and home.
Where on earth do they put all of that food?
Despite all of this, they are not grown-ups… not just yet.
They are still your children.
And until they decide to leave the nest, they need to step up their chore game at home.
It’s a lesson their future roommates and potential spouses will thank you for.
Trust me on this.
Selecting the right chores for kids in high school is vital to helping them prepare for the not so distant future.
Whether it be college…
Pursuing their dream of becoming an actor…
I know, slow down… slow down!
They are only in high school.
Well, I’ve got news for you… it goes fast.
You blink… and your kids are in 1st grade.
Blink again… they’re graduating high school.
Dare I go on?
I didn’t think so.
Ok, let’s get down to business then, shall we?
Chore #27: Sign them up for Babysitting Duty (Daily)
If you have younger children, put your high schooler in charge of seeing them home safely from school.
Whether they drive, walk or meet them at the bus stop… let big brother (or sister) handle it.
It shouldn’t be too difficult, given most public school districts stagger school dismissal times so that the older students start and finish earlier.
Convenient, isn’t it?
Not only will this save you time, and possibly money (picking kids up from school and watching them for a couple of hours is big business these days)… but it creates an excellent opportunity for siblings to bond.
I know what you’re thinking… again…
I’m a mind reader.
Didn’t I tell you?
What if your high schooler is involved in after school activities?
What if they have to work?
Then this may not be a chore for them… every day.
But helping out with the little ones should certainly be on the list for when they do have free time to do so.
Parents aren’t the only ones who can drive their kids to ballet class.
Or baseball practice.
Clock them in and enjoy a little downtime!
Chore #28: Get Dinner Started (Daily)
If you work outside the home, you may not get home before 5pm.
If you’re lucky.
If you work from home, or are a stay-at-home mom (or dad), the unpredictability of your day can often make getting dinner on the table a bit tricky some days.
An unscheduled conference call here… a kid scraping their knee there….
However, if you have a child in high school… well, it’s almost like having a sous chef in residence.
I’m not suggesting they cook every meal from scratch… every day.
Unless they wanted to.
They may find their calling!
But what I am strongly suggesting is that they take responsibility for getting dinner started, either by:
- Putting an already prepared or leftover meal into the oven or microwave
- Following a quick and easy recipe, using ingredients you’ve already set aside for them
- Boiling water
- Ordering the pizza
Yes, sometimes it’s perfectly acceptable to order a pizza.
Anything that gets the family eating together is okay in my book.
It should be in yours as well.
Chore #29: Do the Laundry (Daily, As Needed)
No more baby steps… your little bird must fly!
It is no longer acceptable for a high schooler to just dump their dirty clothes off at the laundry room.
At this point, they should and need to be able to actually do their own laundry.
If you haven’t already, show them where the detergent and fabric softener goes.
Show them which cycles to run.
Then move onto the dryer settings.
Let them wash their clothes.
Then dry and fold them.
Put them away.
Nobody is going to do it for them after they leave home… at least not right away… so why not get them used to the idea now?
It will not only save you a time… but will shield them from the potential embarrassment of having to wear all pink shirts to class for a week after the accidently mix darks and lights in one load.
Been there, done that.
Chore #30: Get them Involved in Meal Prepping (Weekly)
As parents, most of our days start and end in a blur.
So many schedules to keep track of…
So many errands to run…
So many hours of homework to supervise…
So many things to do…
And only so many hours in a day.
As I’ve mentioned a few times now…
Color me a broken record, but…
Mealtime is critical for checking in and keeping tabs on one another.
Eating together as a family, at least once per day, keeps you up to speed.
It brings you closer together, no matter how far apart the day takes you.
And if you take advantage of creating a meal plan for the week… you’ll never be caught asking yourself, “what’s for dinner tonight?”
Better even… when done properly, meal planning allows you to have meals already prepped and ready to go on any given day.
Which makes this, my friend, one of the perfect chores for kids ages 16-18.
Together with your child, sit down and come up with one day a week that you can dedicate to meal planning.
Go through recipes together and make your grocery list.
There are even meal-planning apps and websites to help with this… perfect for your tech-savvy teens.
The only thing left to do now is deciding who does the grocery shopping for the week (maybe it’s both of you!)… and which day you’re going to actually do the meal prepping.
The beautiful thing about meal prepping is that it’s meant to fit into your schedule. If, for example, you pick Sunday as your prep day… you can prepare yourselves seven delicious meals to either refrigerate or freeze, for whichever night of the week you choose.
Then all your teen has to do is take them out when you’re ready to cook them.
Meal prepping saves time without compromising on meal quality.
Plus, if you play your cards right, it creates a wonderful opportunity for you to bond with your teenager.
You’ll miss those days soon enough.
Chore #31: Yard Work, Clean the Car (Weekly)
At this age, many children are learning (or already know) how to drive.
Heck, they’ve probably even borrowed your car a few hundred times.
Insert sarcasm here.
That being said, your children need to pitch in and keep the family vehicle presentable. After all, I doubt it was you who dumped potato chips in the back seat.
Or got mud from your cleats on the passenger side mat.
Task them with cleaning the car once a week (more if it’s really bad).
Washing it would be going above and beyond, but at least they can spiffy up the interior… whether they do it themselves or use allowance money to take it to the carwash.
Since they are old enough to drive a car, I’m fairly confident they can handle pushing or riding a lawnmower. It’s not exactly considered heavy machinery or anything.
So let them cut the grass.
Rake the leaves.
Weed the garden.
Manual labor builds character… and muscles.
Your son’s girlfriend won’t complain.
What? Too far?
He’s your baby.
All teasing aside, this is a no-brainer chore for kids in high school.
Male or female.
We don’t discriminate here.
Some Final Thoughts on Chores for Kids
You are a parent.
You’ve raised your kids the best you know-how… you are there for them, with them, every day.
I can give you all the advice and suggestions that I want… but nobody knows your child as well as you.
If they have special needs, interests, strengths, weaknesses, etc… work the appropriate chores for them into your family’s routine.
For instance, if you feel your 5-year-old is more apt to do some of the chores I listed for 2 and 3- year-olds, work those in to their day.
Conversely, if your 6-year-old can handle some of the chores I suggested for a 10-year-old… let them have at it!
By no means is this list age restrictive… it is merely a guideline to get you started.
Also, some of the chores I outlined work better daily … while others are “as needed” or weekly.
Again, that is entirely up to you.
Your family’s schedule is different than mine.
Your situation is different than mine.
Like a snowflake, no two families are the same.
But know this… and it’s important…
Chore assignments must be realistic in order for them to get done.
Assigning age-appropriate chores for kids is the best way to ensure that… and ultimately the best way to prepare them for adulthood.
And while they may not realize it now… your kids will thank you for it later.
Finally, if you want to level up your parenting skills, then check out this resource that will show you how to get your kids to listen WITHOUT yelling, nagging, or losing control.
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization and product reviews.