Chores For Kids: A First-time Parent’s Guide

Chores are necessary part and parcel of growing up. Successful parenting involves a chore chart that is followed diligently. Assuming chores and duties in the house has been shown to be a positive factor in a normal life functioning individual. That is, children who have taken on chores and duties from a youth consistently do better at mental tasks used in most jobs. Giving a child responsibility shapes him or her for their future. It prepares them for the ultimate test – when their parents leave them as they must one day – will the child be able to take care of himself? It is absolutely required training for kids as young as 10 years old, and for adolescents. Adolescents respond very favourably towards being given responsibilities. In general, adolescents have very high levels of energy and that energy needs channelization in a positive way, otherwise their own energy levels and intelligence can lead them to indulge in self-destructive dissipative activities. We shall list out possible chores for kids from childhood and to maturity.

Chore list for Ages 8-12 Years

If children are taught from a young age to take responsibilities in family early, they will be prepared when the demands of real life hit them hard with the harsh truth of reality. During this age-range, the child starts to develop a sense of personality and individuality. Relations with family are normally at good levels. One of the simplest ways to introduce these kids to the job of doing chores around the house is to involve them in their self-care and the needs of the family. Children can be taught to:

  1. Tidy up the house after themselves.
  2. Wash and fold their own clothes – children 10 years onwards can iron as well.
  3. Elementary cooking for the family or for family.
  4. Making tea and coffee when guests arrive.
  5. Doing shopping at a local store.
  6. Taking care of a pet.

Taking care of a pet in particular is a very effective way to instil care for others in a young child. The child can be shown that the pet is his own responsibility, and so, he must do everything for it. For a dog, that would include taking it for walks, cleaning up after it, brushing its coat, giving them baths and, of course, feeding them. Not only will the child learn how to care for others, but he will enjoy the activity as well.

Chore list for Ages 12-16 Years

This age range covers adolescence, which is always a traumatic time for kids. They are struggling to cope with their new physical urges which nothing can prepare them in advance. Usually, family relationships are strained at this point, with the occasional moment of adolescent rebellion. But what many parents fail to realize that giving chores to adolescents firmly and making sure that they do them can help them deal with their primary problem; adjusting to the new needs of their bodies. Responsibilities give them structure and purpose at a time of turbulence. If nothing else in their lives are fixed, they know that they have things to do and so they need to have a basic discipline of time management and prioritising their daily activities as per the needs of the hour. At this age, kids can do nearly everything an adult can do. Some things a child of this age can do are (in addition to the previous list):

  1. Complex and difficult cooking for everyone in the family
  2. Going to the supermarket to buy goods for family needs
  3. Driving a cycle to local places (learning to travel alone and navigate)
  4. Pay household bills, especially including their own
  5. Cleaning expensive and formal clothes
  6. Cleaning the entire house at a time of an event or function
  7. Working at part-time jobs along with school (an excellent way to teach them how to deal with money – saving and planning for their future needs)

Part-time jobs are often the best way to go. The added thrill of earning extra money is beneficial to their future prospects of being financially independent. It also teaches the values of hard work and discipline, which will be critical for their future college and professional life. It doesn’t hurt for the family to have some extra income either. The most responsible kids turn out to be the most responsible adults – in general. Discipline is not a magic tool or quality which you acquire magically. It has to be built up through a lifetime of good habits and knowing how to manage yourself, especially your time.

Chore list for Ages 16 and above

This is the age when children reach maturity both physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. At this age the child can do everything that a fully grown adult can do. It’s critical for kids of this age to learn to take responsibilities so that they are prepared for the challenges that will definitely come their way in the future. Dysfunctionality, if present, manifests most prominently at this age. Children at these ages are supposed to be as responsible as an adult. They have to do everything an adult is capable of doing (in addition to the previous lists):

  1. Driving the car for family needs
  2. Taking care of the needs of younger siblings
  3. Managing finance of the family
  4. Shopping for every conceivable need
  5. Working at part time jobs
  6. Taking care of their parents/grandparents when necessary.

The last chore may be a surprise, but a child becomes mature when he understands that his parents are also very human people who have needs as well. This is the best indicator that your child is now an adult – when he starts taking care of you. Feeling needed can actually be a positive experience that can have beneficial effects on their personality and their character.

Why do chores? Implications of Taking Responsibility

When a child starts to do chores, he understands that being responsible for something means being accountable to others for things that he has to do. There is no better way to prepare them for the future needs in life. So often you see children who have been so busy studying that they end up being absent-minded professors, incapable of even the smallest tasks like ironing their own clothes. It is so much healthier for a child to grow up aware of those around him and the things that he will be expected to do as an adult.


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