Parenting 101: Chores by age

Summer is definitely a time to put school days behind us and relax a little... but it's also a great time to get some extra help around the house. It's important that kids of all ages pitch in at home, and there are chores that kids as well as teens can easily do. Make it obligatory or an allowance-driven thing - it's your call.

Preschoolers

Little hands need to be kept occupied, but attention spans are short at this age. Stick to "busy jobs" that will keep them moving, like collecting garbage cans around the house, helping you pair socks, or dusting with a feather duster. They can help you set the table, put away groceries, or unload the dishwasher.

Kids ages 4-8

Able to handle more delicate jobs, children this age can do things like put laundry away, clean the bathroom, or put dishes away on their own. Maybe they'd like a bigger responsibility like washing the car or watering the garden. They may even be able to cook a simple, light meal.

Any kind of pet to-do's can also be handled by kids this age: cleaning after a pet, replenishing food and water, walking the dog, etc.

Tweens

By the time they're pre-teens, they should be ready to do their own laundry. It might take a few refresher classes the first couple of times, but there's no reason they shouldn't be able to sort loads of laundry and move them from the washer to the dryer. They can also fold and put it away.

There's really not much at this age tweens can't do: they can do any basic housecleaning, take out the garbage, and help with outdoor chores such as raking, sweeping, or cleaning windows.

Teens

Teenagers can help out with bigger tasks, like mowing the grass or shovelling the driveway. Perhaps they could also help an elderly neighbour with these chores. 

And, if you have a driver in the house, don't waste this missed opportunity: arm them with some errands or grocery lists so help save you time.

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