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Building Household Helpers – Ideas For Each Age

TheHomeSchoolMom: Building Household Helpers - Chores by AgeMom doesn’t have to do it all.

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Homeschooling Moms, repeat this to yourselves three times. Because even though we may know it in our heads, often the reality in the home is that Mom ends up taking on more than her fair share of the household tasks. A previous article took a look at the reasons this occurs, and why it shouldn’t be the case! But once we acknowledge that our children need to be given appropriate responsibility within the home, we’ve got to actually make it happen.

As children successfully take on age-appropriate tasks to support the family, they experience truly being needed. Self-esteem, responsibility, and a realistic awareness of individual capabilities grow as kids participate in a meaningful way in keeping the family going. So give your children responsibility within the household, and give them a sense of purpose. Oh, and make your own life easier at the same time.

Here are some ideas for chores and responsibilities children at different ages should be able to successfully complete; challenge your family to find ways to serve each other rather than be served! It is assumed, for each responsibility, that the parent has demonstrated how to perform each task, has provided time for the child to practice, and has given the child feedback/reinforcement.

Ages 1-2

  • Begin to pick up after self, with assistance (one toy at a time)
  • Put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, with assistance (one item at a time)
  • Gather like items, such as shoes, and put them together, with assistance
  • Retrieve a book from the bookshelf for Mom or Dad to read
  • Put trash into the trash can

 

Ages 3-4

  • Clean up toys after self  (very large messes need assistance)
  • Put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper
  • Put away silverware from the dishwasher
  • Straighten room and put toys, clothes, projects, etc. away
  • Dust baseboards in a small area, after being shown how to do it
  • Bring in toys, trash, etc. from the car and throw or put away
  • Put dirty dishes in dishwasher after eating
  • Put wet laundry that Mom takes out of washer into dryer (with assistance)
  • Assist Mom in making food (pouring in items Mom measures, stirring)
  • Retrieve diapers, blankets, or other items Mom needs for younger siblings
  • Fill up a water bucket and water plants outside (with assistance)
  • Feed the dog or cat (if appropriate-sized measuring cup is provided)

Ages 5-6

  • Empty the dishwasher completely (as long as a stool is provided for high cupboards)
  • Rinse dishes after eating and put in dishwasher; clean off table from eating
  • Warm up leftovers in the microwave
  • Clean up toys after self and siblings (including fairly large messes)
  • Dust furniture in multiple rooms (doing one room at a time, and receiving feedback)
  • Clean fingerprints off windows and mirrors
  • Pull weeds and water plants
  • Make a simple lunch, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple, for self and siblings
  • Clean the sink in the bathroom
  • Fill up pet’s water and food bowl
  • Peel carrots and potatoes for dinner
  • Measure items for cooking (with assistance), pour and stir (including items on the stove, with assistance)
  • Gather dirty clothing and bring down to be washed
  • Sweep a porch or small patio
  • Organize toys into appropriate bins, drawers, or location
  • Make bed (possibly needing some assistance)
  • Put away clean clothing in drawers and in the closet
  • Match socks from clean laundry and organize into piles according to owner
  • Get out and put away homeschool materials used for school

Ages 7-9

  • Make bed by self and straighten room completely
  • Sort a load of laundry into lights and darks, and wash/dry a load
  • Make a simple dinner meal from start to finish, such as frozen pizza and vegetables (7s may need some assistance)
  • Use the vacuum cleaner to vacuum the carpet
  • Mop floors
  • Clean a bathroom, including bathtub and toilet
  • Provide assistance to siblings with their household tasks
  • Wash the car (with assistance)
  • Wash and dry dishes by hand
  • Fold own laundry and put away
  • Change the diaper of a younger sibling
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Assist with yard work such as mulching, weeding, planting, watering
  • Read books to younger siblings
  • Feed infant siblings food Mom has prepared

Ages 10 and up

  • Clean an indoor room from top to bottom, including dusting, vacuuming and mopping
  • Give younger siblings a bath/brush teeth or get them dressed
  • Use a lawnmower to mow the lawn (with assistance for pre-teens)
  • Cook a meal from start to finish, such as a main course meat and vegetables (with some assistance for pre-teens)
  • Be completely responsible for own laundry – washing, drying, folding, and putting away
  • Babysit younger (including infant) siblings while Mom is at home but working or otherwise engaged
  • Assist younger siblings with school work
  • Clean out the refrigerator

Expect great things from your children, and they will rise to the task. Train diligently, reinforce positively, and you will reap helpful, responsible, capable children who bring a blessing to your family (and others), and a healthy household which runs smoothly and efficiently.

Rebecca Capuano

Rebecca Capuano is the stay-at-home mom of three children (one of whom is in heaven) who also makes attempts at being a homeschooler, writer, photographer, scrapbooker, and truth-seeker. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from East Carolina University, and has worked in a variety of capacities (including group homes, day treatment centers, and public schools) with at-risk children and staff, including developing a therapeutic and educational day treatment center for delinquent youth in Wilmington, North Carolina. She currently resides in Virginia, and has written on a variety of topics for both Examiner.com and Home Educators Association of Virginia. Rebecca believes that family is created by God as the most fundamental institution in society, and she is dedicated to helping families nurture their children to become responsible persons of character and integrity. In addition to reading her posts at TheHomeSchoolMom, you can follow her search for truth (and blunders along the way) in family, faith and culture by visiting her blog, seeluminosity.com.

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Comments

  1. These is an excellent article. We, as homeschooling mothers, sometimes put a self-inflicted pressure on ourselves that we have to do it all. It takes some time, but we soon realize we do not have to do it all nor do we need to carry any guilt about not doing it all. This is a very helpful article that creates a very family-centered approach to the responsibilities around the home, and it becomes such a win-win situation for everyone.

  2. Thanks so much for this very practical list! It gives me some good ideas for areas in which I can be training my boys to help. They might not be too thrilled about it…but someday they’ll thank me. 😉

  3. Lydia

    I love how these ‘chores’ are actually life-skills. These are the things we need to make our children responsible for so they can grow to be accountable, contributing members of society.

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