Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Age appropriate chores and responsibilities

I tried to have my 7 year old be responsible for mowing the lawn this year. Please stop laughing. It's a self propelled mower and he wanted to try it out. It seemed to go well when he tried it out so I thought perhaps it could be his Saturday job.

It didn't work out.
He could not see if he got all of the grass mowed. There would be stripes all over the lawn in haphazard patterns. I would point them out and explain the concept of mowing in rows. He tried so hard. But he just couldn't see it on his own and it was frustrating to both of us.

I mentioned this to my mom and she politely explained he was just too young for the job. That in a few years he would be capable. She said I should build up his excitement to be old enough to have the job eventually. So I've been asking her things like "Can I have him do his own laundry yet?" and I have been looking for lists of age appropriate suggested chores.

Teaching children to do household work is important to me - I do not want my boys to go to college or on missions and not know how to sew on a button or do laundry. I want them to be capable of taking care of household chores and learn responsibilities from them. This was underscored at a recent stake conference when our mission president's wife said she had to hold lessons on things like "how to clean a bathroom" because many missionaries had never cleaned a toilet before in their lives.

At the same time, teaching kids how to do chores is a lot more work then doing it myself. I have to be very patient as I explain the entire process of jobs that are so simple to me I don't think at first that an explanation should be necessary. When I'm frustrated I keep reminding myself that its more important to help my child learn than to get it done fast.

So I was delighted when this suggested list of age appropriate chores and responsibilities appeared in my email. While I don't know if I agree with it all, it is a helpful starting reference point to create my own list.

Chores and responsibilities children can learn.


3 Year Olds can learn to
  • dress self
  • use potty by themselves
  • start to brush their own teeth
  • put toys away
  • say prayers
  • take laundry to the laundry room
  • help feed pets
  • dust with socks on their hands
  • help wipe up messes
4 Year Olds can learn to
  • brush teeth
  • make bed, pick up in their room
  • get a bowl of cereal
  • help make sandwiches
  • memorize address and phone number
  • start learning articles of faith
  • carrying and putting away groceries
  • clear and set the table
5 Year Olds can learn to
  • straighten a room
  • vacuum
  • empty household trash cans
  • set  the table
  • make own sandwich
  • warm up canned food (with supervision, of course)
  • help in the garden, plant vegetables and seeds
6 Year Olds can learn to
  • take shower without help
  • dust the furniture
  • load dishwasher
  • empty dishwasher
  • run microwave
  • water the plants
  • make and answer phone calls
7 Year Olds can learn to
  • wash dishes
  • clean cupboard doors
  • floss their own teeth
  • clean the bathroom (including the toilet)
  • pull weeds in the garden
  • have a saving account (if they get an allowance or do jobs for money)
  • read aloud
8 Year Olds can learn to
  • grooming (nails, notice dirty face)
  • notice and develop personal talents
  • clean mirrors
  • sweep
  • do own hair
  • begin piano lessons, or other instrument
  • read scriptures daily
  • have their own library card
  • care for pet
  • help with younger siblings
  • be aware of their testimony
9 Year Olds can learn to
  • mop the floor
  • clean and dust pictures on walls
  • bake cookies
  • be aware of their 72 hour emergency kit
  • learn basic first aid
  • wash car and vacuum interior
  • basic carpentry--hammer nails, saw wood
  • cook vegetables
  • write letters , maybe have a pen pal, thank you notes
  • email grandparents
  • wrap gifts
  • sew on buttons when they’ve come off
10 Year Olds can learn to
  • do own laundry
  • play musical instrument
  • write in journal on their own
  • understand the benefits of exercise 
  • clean stove
  • help more in the kitchen, make salads
  • understand basic nutrition
  • iron their own clothes
  • use leaf blower
  • plan their own little garden space
  • place a collect call
  • know articles of faith
  • write creatively
11 Year Olds can learn to
  • clean refrigerator
  • straighten drawers
  • straighten closets
  • sew hems
  • start cooking---breads, pies, main dishes
12 Year Olds can learn to
  • have basic fashion awareness and help shop for their wardrobe
  • read  a newspaper article and report on it
  • speak in public (4-H or church)
  • consider weight management
  • make and keep dentist appointment
  • iron own clothes, if needed
  • plan family meals
  • mow lawn
  • use weed eater
  • start mission preparation
  • have good basic math skills
  • use a camera (if you dare)
  • learn to crochet or knit
  • learn first aid
  • take a babysitting class and babysit
  • clean windows
  • use internet (parental supervision, of course)
  • keep personal calendar
  • use common computer programs
  • read the Book of Mormon through
  • basic auto maintenance (check oil, fluids) 
  • Mend clothing
13 Year Olds can learn to
  • sew simple items
  • shop for clothes and other items
  • find bargains
  • plan parties
  • have own recipe files
  • shop for groceries
  • care for plants –teaches responsibility of keeping something alive
  • keep a simple budget
  • household bills (gain an understanding)
  • Certify for CPR
  • Type without looking
  • Understand prescriptions
  • Learn meat-handling rules
14 Year Olds can learn to
  • understand basics of food storage
  • memorize social security number
  • understand about interest, debt and securities
  • use makeup
  • identify business skills to get some experience with sales
  • understand basic civics and politics
  • accompany parent to vote
  • perform thorough car detailing
  • change flat tire
  • use proper etiquette 
  • clean garage
  • understand basics of car operation
  • do simple household repairs
  • memorize scripture mastery
16 year Olds can learn to
  • get driver’s license
  • understand credit cards, debit cards
  • Use ATM if they have their own account
  • sell and by on eBay (only if you are comfortable with it)
  • learn about retirement plans
  • focus on mission prep
  • understand interviewing
  • understand advertising
  • start career planning
  • file insurance claim
  • shop and pay for car insurance
  • perform household repairs
  • assist in purchase of car-research and compare  vehicles before you buy
  • open checking account
  • file tax return
  • interact with auto mechanics
  • pay for and use a cell phone
  • get a job
List Originally posted here. No source given. Some slight modifications by me.  

Do you have a great book or list like this to share? What do you think of the age suggestions on this list? How do you help your kids learn to do chores?

By Malina.
You can learn more about Malina and her family at her personal blog.

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