Chores Your Kids Can Do Starting at Age 2 (So You Can Do Something Else)

I will be the first to admit that I was not the biggest fan of chores when I was a kid. I was convinced that my parents only had children so we could become their servants. And that word – chores. It makes me think of Laura Ingalls Wilder or Cinderella. However … now that I am a parent, my thoughts have changed. Drastically. And I’ve decided: Chores. Are. Awesome. Of course I am still the ultimate family servant, lumbered with the brunt of the cooking, washing, folding, and cleaning, but, I am all about getting my kids to pitch in a bit, too.

So … what kind of housework can my kids do? Do I hand my 5-year-old a meat tenderizer and tell her to barbecue some steaks? Could my 20-month-old actually make a bed? The fact is, kids develop at different rates. As a parent, it is up to you to cull the list of household chores and decide (with your child, perhaps), what she is capable of doing. Turns out, there is a lot more I could (and should) be asking of my kids, because not only will chores help me around the house, but chores benefit kids, too. “Chores allow children to develop some sense of the teamwork required in a family to make things run smoothly,” says Mollie Grow, MD, a pediatrician with Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Learning to take more and more responsibility for your actions and personal needs and belongings is a really important developmental stage in life.”


Most of my friends give their kids chores, and they all gave me some great suggestions. I love the idea of creating a weekly chore chart and delegating specific jobs for each family member. Many of my friends admitted that having younger kids do chores just meant redoing the work after the littles finished, but here’s the thing: Even though that can be annoying as hell, making them do the work is instilling a good work ethic. And what if your kids resist? I know mine have. “One guideline is to ‘not do something for kids that they can do themselves,'” suggests Dr. Grow. “Think of their resistance as normal, like resisting brushing teeth or getting ready for bed. Roll with the resistance and yet be firm. Keep emphasizing,This is part of being in a family to contribute and to all do our part as a team.'”

So, however you choose to go about the C word, we’ve put together a list of chores, from ages 2 to 10+, that your child might be able to do. One final piece of advice? Make it fun! Blast music or have a fun activity lined up for when the chores have been completed.

Ages 2 to 3

  • Pick up toys
  • Put dirty clothes in laundry
  • Help clean up spills
  • Put trash in trashcan or recycling bin
  • Dust
  • Water plants

Ages 4 to 6

  • Make the bed (assisted)
  • Fill food and water bowls for pets
  • Set and clear the table
  • Help prepare meals
  • Pull weeds
  • Sweep
  • Sort laundry
  • Put away books
  • Unload groceries (assisted)

Ages 7 to 9

  • Use an alarm to get up in the morning
  • Make the bed
  • Pets: Replenish food and water, walk dog, scoop litter box
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Wipe mirrors and countertops
  • Set and clear table, load dishwasher
  • Prepare meals (with help)

Ages 10+

  • Clean and organize bedroom
  • Set and clear table, wash dishes (or load and unload dishwasher)
  • Prepare a meal (unsupervised, with guidelines for nutritional content)
  • Mop
  • Vacuum
  • Rake leaves and weed
  • Use the washer/dryer
  • Sort, fold, and put away laundry
  • Take out the trash


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