Saturday, May 7, 2011

Summer is a great chance for kids to do chores

So, April has come and gone...and the “School’s over!!!” euphoria is likely replaced with “I’m bored...when will school be back?”  Is that true with your family?

This is a great chance for them to do chores in the house.  Many Filipino homes, especially in the homes of where I live and in the clients of the school I teach in, have maids or helpers.  But they’re there to do just that, help...not replace.  I even think one of the greatest disadvantages of growing up privileged is that there are servants in the house who wait on the kids hand and foot.

It should not be so.

Instead, kids should hold their weight in the upkeep of the preparation for the houses that they will eventually have when they’re adults.  I try, but unfortunately don’t always succeed, in trying to inculcate this attitude in my children.  Still I press on, even if I sound like a broken record in reminding them.

So I looked up what kids can do in the house.  I got the list below from one of my favorite parenting websites out there and so credit goes to them.  I made my kids write the age-appropriate information here as a guide for them.  Let this list serve as a guide for you as well.  It may be obvious, but no child should do these chores every single day.  It’s also good to do these together, as chances are high that they’d enjoy doing it if mommy and daddy are doing it too.

So, onto the list.  Remember, every child matures at a different pace, so adjustments may be made if need be.  This is just a guide, as I’ve said earlier.

Ages 2 and 3

Personal chores
  • Assist in making their beds
  • Pick up playthings with your supervision

Family chores
  • Take their dirty laundry to the laundry basket
  • Fill a pet's water and food bowls (with supervision)
  • Help a parent clean up spills and dirt
  • Dust

Ages 4 and 5

Personal chores
  • Get dressed with minimal parental help
  • Make their bed with minimal parental help
  • Bring their things from the car to the house

Family chores
  • Set the table with supervision
  • Clear the table with supervision
  • Help a parent prepare food
  • Help a parent carry in the lighter groceries
  • Match socks in the laundry
  • Answer the phone with parental assistance
  • Be responsible for a pet's food and water bowl
  • Hang up towels in the bathroom
  • Clean floors with a dry mop

Ages 6 and 7

Personal chores
  • Make their bed every day
  • Brush teeth
  • Comb hair
  • Choose the day's outfit and get dressed
  • Write thank you notes with supervision

Family chores
  • Be responsible for a pet's food, water and exercise
  • Vacuum individual rooms
  • Wet mop individual rooms
  • Fold laundry with supervision
  • Put their laundry in their drawers and closets
  • Put away dishes from the dishwasher
  • Help prepare food with supervision
  • Empty indoor trash cans
  • Answer the phone with supervision

Ages 8 to 11

Personal chores
  • Take care of personal hygiene
  • Keep bedroom clean
  • Be responsible for homework
  • Be responsible for belongings
  • Write thank you notes for gifts
  • Wake up using an alarm clock

Family chores
  • Wash dishes
  • Wash the family car with supervision
  • Prepare a few easy meals on their own
  • Clean the bathroom with supervision
  • Rake leaves
  • Learn to use the washer and dryer
  • Put all laundry away with supervision
  • Take the trash can to the curb for pick up
  • Test smoke alarms once a month with supervision
  • Screen phone calls using caller ID and answer when appropriate

Ages 12 and 13

Personal chores
  • Take care of personal hygiene, belongings and homework
  • Write invitations and thank you notes
  • Set their alarm clock
  • Maintain personal items, such as recharging batteries
  • Change bed sheets
  • Keep their rooms tidy and do a biannual deep cleaning

Family chores
  • Change light bulbs
  • Change the vacuum bag
  • Dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms and do dishes
  • Clean mirrors
  • Mow the lawn with supervision
  • Baby sit (in most states)
  • Prepare an occasional family meal

Ages 14 and 15

Personal chores
  • Responsible for all personal chores for ages 12 and 13
  • Responsible for library card and books

Family chores
  • Do assigned housework without prompting
  • Do yard work as needed
  • Baby sit
  • Prepare food — from making a grocery list and buying the items (with supervision) to serving a meal — occasionally
  • Wash windows with supervision

Ages 16 to 18

Personal chores
  • Responsible for all personal chores for ages 14 and 15
  • Responsible to earn spending money
  • Responsible for purchasing their own clothes
  • Responsible for maintaining any car they drive (e.g., gas, oil changes, tire pressure, etc.)

Family chores
  • Do housework as needed
  • Do yard work as needed
  • Prepare family meals — from grocery list to serving it — as needed
  • Deep cleaning of household appliances, such as defrosting the freezer, as needed


  1. Cecil DicdiquinMay 7, 2011 at 7:24 AM

    Hi Carlo, this is GREAT! I agree with you 100% that having kids do house chores is a must. This is a very important part of parenting. Just one more tip to share: just like a typical Filipino home we also had helper/s at home so it was difficult for me to practice this norm until I thought of a brilliant idea. Every summer and Christmas break I would send the helper/s on vacation to their home town for a couple of weeks (a month, sometimes) so that everyone at home gets the chance to get things done ourselves. It was not an easy decision for us because we had to pay the helper/s while they are on vacation and bear with the inconvenience of hand-holding the kids in doing their chores well. But my husband and I see the value of this little sacrifice for the sake of training the kids how to do house chores. We have practiced this for so many years and now that we have moved to a "no helper" environment, everyone simply picks up their own pieces of house chores each day.

  2. That's great Tita Cecil! That is also my goal, once my youngest kids get a bit older.

  3. wow, i'm happy that ur learning hehehehe

  4. I love this post! I'll try some of those chores on the list for my 3 kiddos. They already can do meal preparation, fixing beds, sweeping, and dusting. And the 16 yr old is our dishwasher when he's home.

  5. I totally agree as well. So much so, that I created

    It is a free online chore chart for kids in the digital age. Check it out!

    There are already 75,000 kids using it.

  6. I found your post on my quest to find age-appropriate chores my kids (ages 5 and 3) can be doing. I'm relieved that they are already doing several of these things. I'm planning on adding hygiene things like getting dressed (for my 3 year old) and brushing teeth, too, since those are definitely areas we're trying to develop. By the way, I've found this Mom's Guide to little teeth to have helpful tips, if you want to check it out: Thanks for this post. It has been so helpful... and inspiring!


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