Are you looking for ways to teach your children responsibility and the importance of contributing to the household? Assigning age-appropriate chores is a great way to achieve these goals!
Today I'm going to share some of the benefits of chores for children, some reasons why 6 to 8-year-olds are ready for regular household chores, and provide a comprehensive list of age-appropriate chore ideas for you to consider for your own kids!
For chores for younger children, check out my post on Chores for 4 Year Olds!
Chores are a requirement at our house, for everyone old enough to walk. For little ones, these are very basic tasks such as helping put the blocks back into a toy bin when we finish playing with them. As they get older, we gradually add new chores and they are split into several categories. Some are basics that are required from everyone (like putting your dirty clothes in the hamper) and some are assigned chores that we rotate through.
Why Should Children Do Chores?
Teaching children to do household chores at a young age is an excellent way to instill in them a sense of responsibility and hard work. It is important to start teaching younger kids about family chores as soon as possible, as it helps them to develop good habits and feel like valued family members. Even simple tasks such as putting toys away or making their bed can help them feel like they are contributing to the household.
As children get older, they can take on more complex household tasks such as vacuuming, washing dishes, or doing laundry with the washing machine. Older children can also help to prepare meals, assist with grocery shopping, and take care of pets. The good news is that research has shown that children who are given household chores at a young age are more likely to be successful and self-sufficient adults.
Assigning age-appropriate chores can have many benefits for children. It can help them feel valued and respected, and increase their sense of belonging in the family. It can also improve their self-esteem, as they feel a sense of accomplishment after completing a task.
By taking on responsibilities, children can also develop a stronger work ethic and a greater sense of independence.
Children between the ages of 6 and 8 are typically ready for regular household chores. At this age, they have developed the necessary motor skills and cognitive abilities to take on more complex tasks. They are also eager to please and are generally excited about helping out around the house.
We also have a list of chores the boys can choose from to earn money or rewards. When you first introduce chores to young children, start small with basic chores and praise them often.
Be prepared to have to redo something while they are napping or playing later, but try not to say anything that would discourage them or make them feel like they aren't doing a great job!
After they master the skill required for a chore and don't seem overwhelmed, consider adding extra chores but keep things small and manageable.
Your family's schedule and routines should be considered when choosing which chores should be done, when they should be done, and how many each child should be doing. While I believe chores teach children valuable life skills, the last thing you want to do is cause stress for yourself or your child because they need more time for a task than that part of the day allows or you urgently need to get somewhere and they have spent the last 20 minutes putting their clothes away.
- Start small. Do not suddenly introduce a long list of required daily chores. If you didn't start at an early age, you may hear some whinging, especially from older kids. Gradually grow the list to what you feel is an appropriate amount as your child masters each chore and be prepared to adjust during busier seasons, especially if your children are in sports or other activities.
- Make it fun! Show them that cleaning isn't some horrible thing you have to do at the expense of everything interesting. When teaching them a new chore, turn on some of their favorite music and dance a bit. Tell them some funny “dad” jokes. There are so many puns about cleaning – in fact, ScaryMommy put together a list of 53 cleaning jokes like this one “What did the broom say to the vacuum? – I’m so tired of people pushing us around.” My kids always got a kick out of silly jokes like that, especially if related to the task they were learning.
- Keep rewards realistic. Do not offer large amounts of money or unsustainable rewards. While they may hop on board with excitement, you'll face backlash later when you cannot increase rewards as chores become more time-consuming or difficult.
- Keep rewards balanced. Someone I know offered $5 to sweep the entire house and $5 to set the trash in the bin right outside the back door. I'm sure you can guess which ones the kids always went for there.
- Train them. Do not expect them to understand HOW to do something, even if it seems very simple to you. Demonstrate it first, then walk them through it. Try to teach each new chore several times and without younger siblings around initially, whenever possible.
- Get feedback. We have monthly family meetings and one thing on our “agenda” is always to check in on how they feel the chore load is, both in comparison to their free time and to their siblings, to help ward off resentment or sibling rivalry.
List of Age-Appropriate Chores for 6 to 8-year-olds
Personal Care Chore List:
- Brushing teeth twice a day
- Washing face in the morning and before bed
- Washing hands with soap and water after using the toilet, before eating, and after playing outside
- Bathing or showering regularly, with help as needed
- Combing or brushing hair daily (braid longer hair at night to lessen tangles and overwhelm)
- Trimming nails as needed
- Using tissues to blow nose and disposing of them properly
- Learning to use toilet paper correctly and independently
- Putting clean clothes on by themselves
- Putting dirty clothes in the laundry hamper
- Making their bed
- Put away their clothes (label drawers to help them put away correctly)
- Put toys away
- Tidy bookshelf
- Bring trash down
- Wipe down instead of windows
- Dust tops of height-appropriate furniture
- Wipe down doorhandles
Indoor Household Chores:
- Setting the table for meals
- Clearing the table after meals
- Helping with meal prep (with adult supervision and guidance)
- Getting their own breakfast (cereal, prepped foods, fruit, toast, etc)
- Preparing simple meals (sandwiches, wraps, etc)
- Help put away groceries
- Wash produce
- Wiping down kitchen counters and appliances
- Load/unload the dishwasher
- Wiping down the bathroom sink and countertop
- Cleaning the mirror with glass cleaner and a cloth
- Cleaning the toilet bowl with a toilet brush
- Cleaning the outside of the toilet bowl and base with a disinfectant spray and cloth
- Cleaning the bathtub or shower walls with a scrub brush or sponge
- Rinsing out the bathtub or shower after use
- Refilling the toilet paper roll or tissue box
- Replacing the hand towel with a clean one
- Taking out the bathroom trash
- Take small rugs outside & shake off
- Dry/damp mop
- Carry dirty laundry to the laundry room/area
- Sort dirty laundry (labels and a consistent system help here)
- Help fold and/or hang laundry
- Pick up outdoor toys
- Rake up leaves or grass clippings
- Sweeping the sidewalk, patio, or driveway
- Watering plants, flowers, and vegetable gardens
- Helping to plant flowers or vegetables in the garden
- Pulling weeds from garden beds or flower pots
- Cleaning outdoor furniture and cushions
- Washing bicycles
- Pick up sticks before an adult mows
- Mowing the lawn (with adult supervision and guidance)
- Bag up weeds and yard clippings
- Helping to set up and take down outdoor decorations for holidays or special events.
- Feeding pets (under adult supervision)
- Refilling the pet's water bowl
- Brushing pets (with supervision)
- Cleaning up pet toys and putting them away
- Assisting a parent with giving the pet a bath
- Cleaning up pet waste in the backyard or litter box (with adult supervision and guidance)
These are just some general guidelines on the types of chores young kids are typically capable of doing. If you have a neurodivergent child, you may find some of these are very stressful for them while others quickly become one of their favorite weekly chores. My middle child absolutely thrives on bathroom chores & even reorganizes in there often…but any other organizational chore is a struggle for him.
Motivating children to do chores can be a challenge, but there are several strategies that can help. Praising children for a job well done can be a powerful motivator, as can creating a chore chart to track progress.
Additionally, making chores fun and engaging by turning them into games or competitions can increase motivation. Providing incentives and rewards can also be effective, such as offering a treat, some pocket money, or a special privilege for completing a chore.