Inside: Most chore charts and lists of chores for kids are age-based. But that doesn’t take into account disabilities or other issues that would leave a child lagging behind their peers. Many chores for kids are a way to develop executive functioning skills in a natural environment.

I remember being so excited about finally getting real chores when I was little. And I earned a dollar per week! I don’t remember what list of chores I had.

I’m sure cleaning my room was one of them. And I failed miserably at it. Cleaning one’s bedroom requires a kid to exhibit many executive functioning skills.

A little girl in an apron holding a mop and bucket, following a chore chart for kids.
Helping with chores has many benefits, as long as the chores selected are appropriate.

We’ve come a long way from when Gen X was raised, and kids’ chore lists have changed, too.

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Research shows that delegating some household chores to children positively affects their mental and physical health.

Printable Chore Chart for Kids

According to experts, children tend to develop a strong sense of self-fulfillment as they complete the tasks handed out to them. It boosts their self-confidence and encourages self-reliance.

It also allows them to make their own choices that consequently hone their decision-making skills.

Skill based chore chart for kids is a practical and efficient way to instill responsibility and promote the development of essential life skills. By utilizing a chore chart specifically designed for children, parents can assign age-app

Ultimately, chores are a low-risk way to teach and practice skills at home.

Interestingly, a study at the University of Minnesota revealed that individuals who perform household tasks as early as 3-4 years old achieve many academic and career goals by the time they reach their mid-20s.

They also develop strong and reliable connections with their family and friends, thus encouraging feelings of happiness, contentment, and peace.

Allowing your children to do chores benefits not only your children but also your family dynamics. As a parent, it is your responsibility to instill in your child the importance of teamwork, unity, and consideration in a family.

By requiring their participation in routine household tasks, they feel that they belong and are needed. Kids also get a clearer picture of how a family needs to work together to thrive.

Lastly, doing chores can keep children physically active. A healthy practice of reasonable cleaning activities can serve as regular exercise for kids.

The tasks can also be a fun activity you can share with them. The best example is car washing or baking, which creates memorable moments for many families.

The Problem with Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids

Most chore lists for kids are age-based. But to assign chores to my child, who is behind his peers in most skills, I would have to assign him a mental age. That fills me with a lot of icky feelings.

He’s not a toddler. He’s almost an adult. He has fewer skills and more needs than his age peers. That is his appropriate description.

Not, “He has the mental capacity of an X-year-old.” Gross.

According to experts, parents can delegate simple tasks to kids as young as two. What that translates to, as far as your child is concerned, is something only you know.

Doing so will help their mental and emotional development as they grow. The chores could also become your bonding moments to encourage positive feelings and a stronger relationship.

But never forget to assess and observe your kid. Children often grow at a different pace. Ensure they are physically and mentally ready to handle chores; if not, they can feel negative emotions such as pressure and frustration. 

A young boy, following a chore chart for kids, is wearing yellow gloves while diligently cleaning a stove.
Choose chores for kids that are appropriate to their skill set.

Language-Based Tasks

The language-based chores and tasks list includes setting the table and putting away groceries.

These chores for kids would also fit in the “advanced EF skills” category, but I put them in a language-based category. The reason?

I felt it would be a good idea for these kids’ chores to be done with an adult or older sibling. There are so many soft skills and language skills that can be developed with these chores. For example:

  • sequencing
  • decision making
  • All the “W” questions
  • reasoning
  • recall

Think about all the things you can discuss while putting away groceries!

A package of kitchen wipes in front of a refrigerator, perfect for a chore chart for kids.
You can use convenient products to make it easier for kids to complete the chores. Click on the image to purchase these stove wipes.

Good Chores for Kids

Getting your kid involved in chores is sometimes a tricky project. The secret, though, is to select skill-appropriate tasks.

You must consider the abilities of your child. Assigning tasks that are too difficult may doom your kids to failure, thus discouraging them from participating. Typically, this was done by age.

But the more we learn, the more we grow, right? And lots of our kids are not performing at the level of their age peers.

Most importantly, you have to assess the safety of the task carefully. You certainly would like to stay away from any form of danger.

Introduce the concept of doing chores to your children by sitting them down, explaining, and demonstrating how the task is done. You could also tell them the importance of the task and why it matters to your household.

While it’s understandable that they will experience difficulty at first, it’s better if you perform the chore with them until they get a good grasp of it.

However, always give them enough learning space to do the chore independently. An advanced executive functioning skill is the ability to evaluate one’s work and make corrections as necessary. Household chores for kids are a low-risk environment to learn that skill.

Chores for Kids by Skill Set

Here are some recommended chores, sorted by the skills needed to perform the task.

And, if I have it written as “one-step instructions,” I assume that the parent or caregiver will do the other steps.

For example, if the task is “picking up toys,” then I assume that the adult has a bin or closet that they are pointing to, so the child knows where to put it.

Certainly, many on this list of chores for kids will fit into more than one category.O

One-Step Chores

  • Picking up and placing toys in storage bins.
  • Sorting their clothes by color (sorting is also a math skill)
  • Carrying a small plastic bag and allowing them to pick up trash.
  • Peeling of fruits like bananas and oranges.
  • Wiping down the stove. (cooled off, of course)
  • Wipe off little spills with a cloth.
  • Watering indoor plants with spray bottles
  • Cleaning and dusting their toys.

Examples of Multi-Step Chores

These chores also require working memory skills, planning, and decision-making.

  • Making their bed
  • Setting and clearing the table (Note: Make sure your dishes are lightweight and unbreakable, like plastic.)
  • Vacuuming or sweeping the floor.
  • Preparing simple meals like a sandwich.
  • Helping in grocery shopping
  • Preparing more complicated meals. You can also teach them baking.
  • Feeding pets
  • Taking out the trash
  • Folding clothes
  • Watering the garden
  • Must be given routine tasks like sweeping floors and cleaning their room.

More Advanced Chores

These chores require a higher skill set, especially for executive functions.

It can be a great way to teach responsibility and executive functioning skills, ADLs, etc., in a low-risk environment.

  • Dishwashing
  • Washing their laundry
  • Car washing
  • Preparing and cooking meals
  • Maintaining the lawn

Chores Teach Executive Functioning

Engaging children in chores can be an effective way to develop and reinforce various executive function skills. Executive function skills are cognitive processes that help individuals regulate their behavior, make plans, solve problems, and achieve goals. Here are some executive function skills that can be nurtured through doing chores:

  1. Planning and Organization:
    • Task Planning: Breaking down chores into smaller steps helps children learn how to plan and organize tasks.
    • Time Management: Setting time limits for chores encourages children to manage their time effectively.
  2. Working Memory:
    • Remembering Instructions: Following chore instructions requires the use of working memory to remember what needs to be done.
    • Recalling Steps: Remembering the steps involved in a specific chore helps develop working memory skills.
  3. Inhibitory Control:
    • Impulse Control: Waiting to finish one step before moving on to the next and resisting the urge to rush through chores enhance inhibitory control.
    • Distraction Management: Focusing on the task at hand while avoiding distractions builds inhibitory control.
  4. Flexibility and Adaptability:
    • Adapting to Changes: Adjusting to unexpected changes in chores, such as using a different cleaning tool, helps children develop flexibility and adaptability.
  5. Initiation and Task Persistence:
    • Getting Started: Beginning a chore requires initiation, and completing it teaches task persistence.
    • Overcoming Challenges: Facing difficulties during chores and persevering until completion builds resilience and persistence.
  6. Emotional Control:
    • Frustration Tolerance: Chores may sometimes be challenging, teaching children to manage frustration and work through difficulties.
    • Delayed Gratification: Waiting for the reward of a finished chore promotes the ability to delay gratification.
  7. Goal Setting:
    • Setting Chore Goals: Helping children set achievable goals for completing chores encourages the development of goal-setting skills.
  8. Self-Monitoring:
    • Checking Work: Encouraging children to review their completed chores helps them develop self-monitoring skills.
    • Identifying Mistakes: Recognizing and correcting mistakes during chores enhances self-monitoring.
  9. Cognitive Flexibility:
    • Switching Between Tasks: Engaging in different types of chores requires cognitive flexibility as children switch between activities.
  10. Responsibility and Accountability:
    • Taking Ownership: Assigning specific chores and holding children accountable fosters a sense of responsibility.
    • Learning Consequences: Understanding the consequences of not completing chores helps children develop a sense of accountability.

By incorporating these elements into the chore routine, parents and caregivers can provide valuable opportunities for children to develop and strengthen their executive function skills.

How Many Chores Should a Child Have?

There is no universal rule stating the exact number of chores a kid must have. It usually depends on your parenting style, household type, and your child’s skill sets.

However, it’s recommended to have them perform tasks for about 20-30 minutes daily to keep them active. This is also an optimal amount so that they do not feel too entitled or too burdened. Again, you may have to vary this for your child.

You should also consider that when they start school, more of their time may be dedicated to schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

During those months, I let them focus on routine tasks like making their bed and cleaning their room. This way, they can do it at their schedule and pace.

Should you Pay your Kids for Chores?

There is an ongoing debate about whether it’s healthy to pay your kid to do chores. To look at this issue deeper here are the pros and cons of paying your kid to do chores:

Pros of paying kids for chores:

  • It teaches them the value of money.
  • They learn how to save and spend their money wisely.
  • This is a good way of demonstrating the concept of consequences and rewards.
  • It helps them understand the importance of contributing through time and effort.

Cons of paying kids for chores:

  • Children often lack the motivation to do the chores, which teaches extrinsic vs. intrinsic rewards.
  • Kids misunderstand the true purpose of doing the chore because they are too driven by monetary gain.
  • They may think that every request must come with something in return.

Parenting is a complicated job. There is no easy way of raising kids. However, simple practices like letting them do household chores can help them become the best versions of themselves.

The most important thing is that you are beside them every step of the way. It’s a great way to teach skills in a low-risk environment, allowing for much repetition.

I know I get trapped in the “it’s faster if I do it myself” mode, but, we have to ready them to leave the nest.

Printable Chore Charts for Kids

So, all that to say, here are the printable chore charts for kids. I am still including both kids’ chore lists. I had removed the age-appropriate chore chart for kids, and we got a lot of emails asking us to put it back.

So I did.

And here is the skills-based chore chart for kids. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s a start. I’m sure it will evolve much like all the other content on this site.

Still, from a parent’s perspective, I find it much more encouraging to see a list of things my son can do without it saying “for toddlers.” I don’t buy into all this age-appropriate nonsense.

Mostly because when we’re talking about what is not age-appropriate, we’re only talking about our kids.

Executive Functioning Skills for Kids

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