Age-Appropriate Chores and Non-Monetary Reward Ideas

Updated on September 21, 2017
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Jules Ker has worked as a behavioral health therapist for 12 years. She treats children, adults, and couples.

Are you sick and tired of doing all the laundry, all the cooking, and all the cleaning at home? Well, you don't have to feel this way anymore. If you have children, you can create a chore chart that brings them in on the action. This not only makes your life easier but teaches your children to be more responsible and gives them an opportunity to earn rewards at the same time. Now, most of us, adults and children included, think that chores should be rewarded with money. Rewarding with money is fine if you can financially afford to do so. For those of you who can't afford to use money as a reward or who are simply looking for other options, continue reading.

The Rewards

You can use current activities your child enjoys as well as new activities that are appealing to your child as a reward. Several examples follow below:

  • earn 15 minutes of extra video game/tv time
  • pick out the next movie for family movie night
  • earn 30 minutes of alone time with mom or dad
  • stay up 30 minutes later on Friday OR Saturday night
  • pick what's for dinner one night during the week

If your child wants a new toy or game, you can use the chores as a way for the child to earn "points" towards these items. Once enough "points" have been earned, which may take several weeks, your child can cash them in and you can purchase the new item for them.

Age-Specific Chores

Not sure what types of chores to assign to the kiddos? Here are some ideas. Keep in mind this list is not exhaustive. You can add your own chores as long as your child has the development skills to complete the tasks. Just because your child is a certain age chronologically does not mean they are developmentally able to complete skills appropriate for that age. Your child needs to have developed fine and gross motor skills in order to complete many tasks. Some children, such as those with autism spectrum disorder or other similar intellectual developmental delays, may only be capable of completing chores that are typically for children who are chronologically younger than them.

Ages 2-3

  • Pick up/put away toys

  • Put dirty clothes in laundry basket
  • Dust

Ages 4-5

  • Any chore from the previous age level

  • Set the table
  • Clear the dishes from the table
  • Fold towels/match up socks
  • Water indoor plants

Ages 6-8

  • Any chore from the previous age levels
  • Make bed
  • Sweep
  • Get the mail
  • Clean room
  • Load dishwasher

Ages 9-11

  • Any chore from the previous age levels
  • Take garbage to the curb
  • Mop floors
  • Wash dishes
  • Clean bathroom with supervision

Ages 12-14

  • Any chore from the previous age levels
  • Help prepare meals (cut veggies, etc.)
  • Mow yard with supervision
  • Change bed sheets
  • Vacuum
  • Clean bathroom without supervision

Ages 15 and older

  • Any chore from the previous age levels
  • Mow yard without supervision
  • Cook meals once or twice a week

Wouldn't it be great if your kids actually looked this happy when they were doing their chores?
Wouldn't it be great if your kids actually looked this happy when they were doing their chores?

Creating a Chore Chart

If you want some examples of what a chore chart can look like, follow the links below. These are just three of the many websites that offer assistance on creating chore charts. One variation on the chore chart, which is not mentioned on any of the sites below, is to assign certain tasks to be completed on certain days instead of letting it be free choice. This might be particularly helpful, for instance, if garbage day is Thursday and you want your child to get the garbage out before the trash is collected. It could also be helpful if your children are each going to take turns completing a particular chore, such as dishes, during the week. Each child gets one day assigned to them so it reduces the chance of arguments between siblings over that task.

If you prefer a premade chore chart, check out the Amazon links below for some chore charts you can purchase. Both are great options as they offer pictures to illustrate the chores, which is helpful for children who are still learning to read.

Do you think kids should be paid to do chores?

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