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The Best Chores for Kids by Age

Viva® Towels | May 09, 2023 | 6 min Read
Kid involved in daily chores

Get your kids involved in daily chores with the help of Viva®’s cleaning expertise and tips from child psychologists 

While a clean, tidy home might be your idea of bliss, your kids may not have quite the same passion for a spotless bedroom or playroom. Whether they’re diving into crafts or kicking back with friends, cleaning up is usually the last thing on their minds.

But believe it or not, there are some tips and tricks that can help engage kids in day-to-day chores. The first step is to get smart on how to introduce this new activity to your kids, and the best chores for kids by age.

We’ve paired Viva®’s cleaning know-how with the advice of child psychologists to help you tee up a successful chore routine. You’ll find an array of tips on how to get your kids to buy into doing chores, and which chores are good daily cleaning tasks for kids, according to their age. Since Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth™ paper towels give you 4x cleaning power*, your kids will be tackling even the toughest messes in no time!

5 tips to get your kids engaged in chores

Before we dive into the best chores for kids by age, there are some tips and tricks that can help you get your kids on board, manage expectations, and even inspire them to take pride in their contributions.

While every parent knows their kid best, here are five essentials for a chore routine that really works:

  1. Explain the “why”: To get kids engaged in chores, we first have to explain why it’s important for them to help out around the house. Teach them that everyone has a part to play in daily chores—kids and grown-ups alike!

    Chores teach kids responsibility and don’t need to be matched with an allowance or monetary reward, unless your kid is older. Older kids can earn money for chores that are above and beyond their “normal” duties, like a raise or bonus at a job.

  2. Be specific: To help your kids complete their chores with confidence and pride, give specific directions on exactly what you expect. For example, instead of saying “clean the toy room,” opt for “please put the books on the shelf and stuffed animals in the basket.”

    As they grow, they’ll be able to handle tasks more and more independently, without you having to explain each step in detail.

  3. Stay consistent: As well as giving specific instructions for individual tasks, it’s important to establish a consistent routine for your kid’s daily and weekly chores. This is when a chore chart is super helpful: it can help kids visualize their tasks for the week and feel accomplished when they check off completed items.

  4. Embrace flexibility: Now that your routine is in place, it’s still important to stay flexible as your kids adjust. Even when communication is clear, things might not turn out exactly as planned.

    Accept that it’s okay if mistakes are made. Allowing kids the space to learn and grow will help prevent them from getting frustrated—and encourage them to stick with chores for the long-run.

  5. Show gratitude & respect: We all love that feeling when a partner or roommate notices our cleaning efforts

    Show appreciation to your children for completing chores, and recognize milestones as they achieve more complicated tasks. It’ll help them stay the course, and even seek out new challenges!

Age-appropriate chores for kids

The next step in creating a successful chore routine is to figure out which tasks make sense for your kid’s age group.

Below, we’ve outlined the best chores for kids according to their age, from preschool to high school, as recommended by experts. And if you need some extra help kicking off the new routine, Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth™ paper towels can get kids started with easy tasks like wiping up spills and dusting surfaces. (No excuses, little chore champions!)

Best chores for toddlers (2-3 years old)

Time goal: Up to 10 minutes a day doing chores 

The smallest humans need the most supervision and help with their chores. This is when kids are enthralled with the idea of helping, so it’s a wonderful time to start building good habits.

As you might guess, the best tasks at this age are the simplest. Picking up toys and books, wiping down play tables, helping make the bed, and putting laundry in the hamper are all accessible chores for this age group.

Best chores for preschoolers (4-5 years old)

Time goal: Up to 10 minutes a day doing chores

This is the sweet spot where the desire to help is still there, and kids’ coordination and motor skills are improving. At this stage, kids can complete some chores without supervision and may also be able to remember directions with two or three steps.

You can introduce tasks like helping to set, clear, and clean off the table, using a small container to water plants, washing small dishes at the sink, and pulling garden weeds.

Best chores for younger grade schoolers (6-7 years old)

Time goal: Up to 10 minutes a day doing chores

In first and second grade, kids can take on more responsibility and complete more difficult tasks. This is also a time when some kids, depending on their personality, become more independent and may push back on completing chores. Try to stay consistent and patient during this time.

At this age, kids can try chores like vacuuming and sweeping, folding and putting away laundry, emptying and loading the dishwasher, and making their own snacks and lunches. (Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth™ paper towels are perfect to slip into a lunch box, in case of any spills at lunch time!)

Best chores for older grade schoolers (8-9 years old)

Time goal: Up to 15 minutes a day doing chores

In third and fourth grade, kids are well on their way to taking on more advanced tasks. Similar to younger grade schoolers, they may push back, but it’s important to stick to a structure so you can create a strong routine.

Try introducing tasks like helping make dinner (e.g. peeling vegetables), wiping out lunch boxes after school, taking a pet for a walk, taking out the trash, and cleaning animal cages.

Best chores for middle schoolers (10-12 years old)

Time goal: Up to 15 minutes a day doing chores

At this age, children can do tasks independently without frequent reminders. Parents should hold children accountable and check they’ve completed their chores once a day. The goal at this stage is for children to become responsible when no one is watching.

You can incorporate chores such as helping to wash the car, dusting surfaces throughout a room, raking leaves, operating the washer and dryer, and babysitting younger siblings.

Best chores for high school, and beyond (14+ years old)

Time goal: Up to 30 minutes a day doing chores

As your child progresses through high school, they’ll be able to handle tasks with multiple steps, completely independently. Parenting experts suggest this is the perfect age to start ensuring your teen will be prepared for living on their own.

Since this is a larger age bracket, use your knowledge of your kid to guide the tasks you give them. Consider introducing tasks such as cleaning bathrooms (including cleaning mirrors, toilets, and shower screens), preparing grocery lists, mowing the lawn, and caring for pets independently (feeding, walking, grooming).

Once you’ve identified the right chores for your kids, create an easy guide for them to follow by downloading Viva®’s printable Chore Chart for Kids. You can update your child’s chore chart every school year as they master tasks and become more independent.

With your kids involved in household chores, your home will be even more sparkling clean than usual! Don’t forget to try out Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth™ to help elevate your clean, no matter who’s doing the job. Happy cleaning!

*Removes dirt, scrubs grime, absorbs quick, locks liquid