Chores for all! (age appropriate chore assignments)

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Chores for all

Between us there are 10 children, ranging in age from 17 months to 14 years old.  That’s a lot of laundry, a lot of dishes, a lot of sock-matching and bathroom cleaning.  If we felt it was our job as mothers to do all the housework we would never see the light of day.  And we’d have a few more wrinkles.

Thankfully, we do not feel it is our jobs as mothers to do all the housework.  Our job is to train our children to be mindful and responsible members of society–and that starts in the home! They need to learn as soon as they are able to pick-up after themselves, to lend a hand in everything from meal preparation to basic repairs.  We are all members of this family and we all love this home.  Therefore, we are ALL homemakers.  In recent years our children have been doing more and more with us and for us–from helping us to host retreats to catering Christmas parties for clients.  They do amazing things with skill, beauty and most of all WILLING HEARTS!  This didn’t start when they turned 12.  This started when they were just wee ones toddling around our homes and making messes.

To encourage you in training your children to be equal and capable participants in your home life, we offer a list of what we consider age-appropriate chores for all.  Have thoughts about this? Leave us a comment and let us know what chores your children could do when?  And which ones do they despise and which ones do they like?  And most of all, which ones are you most eager to push off on them because you hate it so much? (I submit the dreaded job of matching socks.)

2-4 years old

  • change hand towels in the bathroom and/or kitchen
  • help put away non-breakable dishes
  • help put away groceries
  • help set the table
  • put toys in toy boxes and shelves

 5-7 years old

  • Tidy toys and bookshelves
  • Put away dishes on their own
  • Set table
  • Clear table
  • Water indoor plants
  • Help with food prep (such as peel garlic, wash vegetables, tear lettuce and greens for salads, etc.)
  • Sort dirty laundry and fold and put away clean laundry
  • Take kitchen scraps to compost bins or chickens
  • Make bed (basically just pulling up the covers)

8-10 years old

  • Sweep porch, steps, walk
  • Clean bathroom
  • Wash dishes (minus difficult scrubbing for pots and pans)
  • Clean cobwebs
  • Dust
  • Vacuum area rugs
  • Prepare simple meals such as PB&J sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, etc.
  • Use stovetop with supervision
  • Help with food prep (such as chop vegetables, bake muffins and cookies, boil eggs, etc.)
  • Do own laundry (sorting, washing, drying or hanging on line, folding and put away)
  • Iron own church clothes
  • Hand raise animals
  • Collect eggs
  • Wash dog
  • Make bed (with higher expectation for neatness)
  • Change sheets

Kids Can Do Big Things

11-13 years old

  •  Help with meal planning and shopping list making
  • Prepare basic meals, including using knives, ovens and stove
  • Sweep and mop
  • Vacuum
  • Wash dishes, including scrubbing pots and pans
  • Clean ovens
  • Organize common spaces (pantry, linen cabinet, coat closet, etc.)
  • Tend to garden, including helping design and plan, harvest, etc.
  • Walk dog
  • Clean chicken pen
  • Tend to compost

14-16 years old (Our children are just entering this phase, so these are our goals for them.)

  • Handle meal planning and grocery shopping
  • Change the oil in the car
  • Change a tire (they must learn how before they get their driver’s licenses)
  • Start a little business to make some money of their own (tutor younger children, give lessons in instruments or dance, baking, babysitting, etc.)
  • Volunteer on a regular basis


  1. Great list for all the parents out there. I really wish my parents forced me to do more than just mowing the lawn and the dishes. I grew up barely knowing how to cook or take care of my car. Parents really need to force their kids to get used to chores at young age, it’ll greatly benefit them later in life.

    Or they’ll have to learn the hard way like I did! ;P

    -Yossif

  2. This is great and rings very true for my own experience. My 5 year old delights in bringing in fire wood and is also good at setting the table. He is just starting to improve in his abilities to pick up cheerfully and effectively. My 13 year old is great at meal planning and cooking but I’m sure will be even more adept over the next few years. It’s nice to be sensitive to their development and strengths.

  3. Great suggestions, especially for the littles!

  4. Isn’t that why we have babies is to make them do our housework? 😉 Just teasin! I think it’s SUPER important to teach kids how to do chores around the house and learn how to work. I remember when I went off to college my roommate asked me how to clean a toilet. Apparently her mom never had her clean the bathroom. I was appalled! When they all grow up how much better are they going to be when they are willing and able to help around the house? Nobody wants to live with a lazy slob who doesn’t do anything. Plus I think it will be fun teaching the kids how to do stuff and watching them learn and figure it out on their own.

  5. This is a tough one!  I find I still struggle with getting my kids to do their chores- sometimes I give up and just do them because I need them done.  I know it is not helpful for the long term but it sure makes life easier in the short term.  I get so tired of nagging the kids but I know it is important for them to have responsibility and follow through.

  6. Thank you! I think it’s really really important for kids to do chores and help around the house and be part of helping the family and the home run smoothly. And my FIVE YEAR OLD loves setting the table and straightening the shoes.

  7. I raised my five children this way and as adults, they have all thanked me for what I taught them and expressed that they wished I had taught them even more. My grandson lives with me (he is 2) and at the age of 18 months, he could put away the silverware in the appropriate receptacle. So, I encourage any parent or grandparent to let them try things, even if it seems that they may be too young (within reason, of course).

    Good job Daja and Kristina!

  8. Georgina - December 11, 2014

    Yes. Good job Kristina and Daja!  You gals are proof that this can be done! I know because I see it 🙂
    I have commented on this before, but for any mommy (is there one of you out there like me?) who feel like it is too late to start, stop.  Do not give in to that wrong thinking.  If you have breath then you can still do something to help your children, even young adults if they still live in your home.  No one wants to hear my life story, so I will just say that I am a recovering “supermom”.  Allow me to add an idea to the 14-16 year old list:  writing own business emails/making own appointments by phone (with you on cc and/or sitting nearby to agree on dates since you need to be available for driving). 
    God bless The Provision Room and all who stop by for a little encouragement to keep fighting the good fight of faith. 

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