Age Appropriate Chore Chart

age appropriate chore chart dissectedThe Age Appropriate Chore Chart Dissected…

It was one of our most hotly debated Facebook posts ever with nearly 20K likes, 3K comments and 225K shares!  People were divided into multiple camps on the list in general and on individual items – you were either for, against or completely outraged!

On a side note it’s funny to me because almost everything I did and experienced as a child now seems completely outdated, not just in relation to the chores I did, but everything – where kids play, how kids play, what kids play with, you name it, it’s changed.  But I digress, that’s a topic for another day…

Back on the subject of chores, I decided to do a little more research on a few of the chores listed and have listed some of that data below.  There are some “bona fide” expert’s opinions, some opinions expressed on the original Facebook (many of which couldn’t be reprinted due to the ah “colourful” language used) and my own two cents worth to see if there is a consensus.  The results, listed below, may surprise you

chore chart

Chore: Make Bed

Age: 2 – 3

Expert opinion:

about.com – Start simply by showing them how to make their own bed when they are toddlers. Progress to letting them make the bed themselves. When my kids were little, they liked the freedom to arrange their pillows and stuffed animals the way they liked

 

Facebook opinion:

I think chores are great for kids. My two year old makes her bed and both her and my eldest wash and dry dishes (more water ends up on the floor but that’s fine)
My daughter is 3 and helps me load the dryer, and can fold her clothes as well as towels and wash cloths. She also rinses the dishes And puts silverware away. She loves to feel like shes helping. I don’t call it slave driving.
lmao my 2 yr old will literally yell at me if he isnt the one to load the washer and help switch it to the dryer, then empties it to the basket and drags it to the couch for me to fold

My opinion:

I think a healthy balance of letting “kids be kids” and teaching kids responsibilities of life is what is needed here.  You don’t want to rob them of their childhood, but in turn you need them to appreciate what life is all about and the earlier you get started on that, the better.  My wife and I involved the kids in chores from early on and would do it again the same if we had too.

 

 

Chore: Load dishwasher

Age: 4 – 5

Expert opinions:

Michael Grose: If one or all your kids (over the age of three) have this job then congratulations, you’re travelling down the road toward redundancy, and your children are heading toward independence

Facebook opinions:

Tyler loved putting his dishes in the dishwasher as soon as he could reach
Yes lets let a four year old load a dishwasher with sharp knives etc. What’s the worst that could happen?
This is cr@p , DISHWASHER? And I had to CHOP the wood for the stove before breakfast and do the washing up after, and make my own lunch to take to school and that was after I got home from helping my dad with the bread run

My opinion:

There are items I wouldn’t want my kids touching i.e. knives, but I think with a little instruction most kids will understand one end will hurt them and the other won’t.  We’ve expected our kids to stack their own dishes into the dishwasher for some time now and haven’t regretted it at all.  We see children helping with everyday chores like this as contributing to the team.  It takes a lot of work to keep a household running.

 

Chore: Unload dishwasher

Age: 6 – 8

Experts opinion:

The Happy Housewife – Toddler (ages 2 and 3) Unload the dishwasher (silverware, plastic cups, tupperware)
Circle Of Moms – 4-5 years Help unload dishwasher, 6-8 years Unload dishwasher
clean organized family home – ages 10 to 13: unload dishwasher

Facebook opinions:

I think the big thing is that this list is not saying that the child has to do ALL of these things at once. It’s just suggestions of potential age appropriate chores. Some children might be ready to help you unload the dishwasher, others not until they are a little bigger.
A 6 year old emptying a dishwasher? Knives and reaching high cupboards? What a f%#@ing load of sh$t!!
These are very age appropriate! If you don’t want your child to load knives in the dishwasher separate the knives out, do that part yourself. Besides teaching them to be responsible adults it gives them a sense of pride!

My opinion:

I think a little bit of instruction and ongoing supervision would go a long way here.  Clearly telling a 6 year old to empty the dishwasher and just walking away could result in an injury or breakage or both, but helping them to do it, advising them of dangers and helping put away things that go into cupboards they can’t reach is perfectly acceptable and a great life lesson.

 

Chore: Mow lawns

Age: 9 – 11

Expert opinions:

healthychildren.org – Before learning how to mow the lawn, your child should show the maturity, good judgment, strength and coordination that the job requires. In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be at least – 12 years of age to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower safely & 16 years of age to operate a riding lawn mower safely

Facebook opinions:

This is nice and all, but I don’t think I would ever be OK with my 9 year old using chemicals to clean or a lawn mower
I’m sorry, but I would never make my 9 year old, should I ever have kids, mow the lawn. Anything can happen with that dangerous tool.
Our children do all of the above except, we only allow our 14yr old mow the lawn..supervised. Yes my 11 yr old and 14yr old scrub their own bathroom and toilet.

My opinion:

Let common sense prevail here, some 9 years may be ready to mow a lawn based on size and maturity, but I don’t think it would be the norm and if you did allow your 9 year to do it, I suggest you’d be supervising for some time.  That’s a mistake that would be tough to live with.

 

Chore: Babysitting

Age: 12+

Expert opinions:

American Red Cross – The Red Cross offers a babysitting course to prepare your child for babysitting. The class is designed for 11 to 15 year olds.
webmd.com – Some children have the maturity to start babysitting as early as age 12 or 13. Others are better off waiting until they’re older teenagers.

Facebook opinions:

I like everything on these list except baby-sit siblings. I think leaving the 12 year old with a 9 year old sibling while you run to the store and back is okay but no after school or date night care
12yr old babysitting? I don’t think so. Not in any life time would I allow a 12 year only babysit.
12 year old to look after siblings there still children themselves I know need to teach them responsibilities but far too young to be in charge of another child at twelve

My opinion:

Again like all the chores on the list and listed above, common sense needs to be employed.  Would I leave my kids with a 12 year old while I popped to the shops?  Yes, depending on the 12 year old.  Would I leave them overnight?  Probably not.  Common sense and practical judgement people.  Also check with your local laws on this if you are unsure.

 

Summary

At the end of the day, everything written above is someone’s opinion, whether they’re considered an expert by others or just by themselves.  And being just an opinion means they are not a definitive do or don’t of raising a child.  There are no laws being broken by either allowing or not allowing a child to perform each chore, so as a parent you need to make up your own mind on whether to allow your children to perform these duties and at what age.

Opinion: a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

If you want to voice your own opinion on the matter, by all means do so in the comments below, but remember it’s an opinion and people can use it to form their own opinion; shouting, swearing and name-calling doesn’t make it any more than an opinion and may make it even less attractive for someone to adopt your way of thinking as their own. Play nicely people 🙂

Leigh

 

Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Leigh's passion for helping others coupled with his desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead him to create School Hours Pty Ltd with his wife Yasmin.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.
Leigh Grigaliunas

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