My 18-month old kid isn’t old enough to start doing chores.
At least that’s what everyone keeps telling me.
Before I had kids I thought by the walking-, talking-age, kids just started doing chores naturally.
Because that’s what my mother taught me.
The minute I could lift the half-empty detergent bottle and pour way-too-much detergent into the cap, I was ready to do my own laundry. Simple as that.
So when I knew we were going to have a kiddo of our own, I started doing research on kids and chores early. Like, too early.
While I was still pregnant with our son, I was digging through truckloads of blog posts about when, where, and how you should start handing out chores to your kids.
I read so many contradicting posts, it was enough to make me want to quit them altogether!
Some people suggested I start chores early, before the age of two, when my kid is more likely to want to copy what I do.
Other people suggested we wait until the kid was “ready” to start helping. Which could be anywhere from three years old to seven years old.
It was enough to make your head spin.
Why Chores are Good for Kids
In the middle of my research, I found a post about how children crave independence and responsibility, which surprisingly, is backed up by science.
Research has shown that giving our kids responsibility has some amazing outcomes:
Responsibility helps them feel more independent.
Responsibility helps build confidence and self-assurance.
Responsibility helps them feel more fulfilled in their life (according to a 2009 study).
Responsibility helps them feel more connected and accepted in the family.
So even though Max is still young, we’re jumping right in and giving him “chores” by having him complete simple tasks and “paying” him with his favorite thing in the world: popsicles.
It’s totally genius.
My child learns responsibility, my house stays a little cleaner, and he gets to eat all the popsicles he can handle – as long as he finishes his chores!
And since my goal in life is to simplify our family environment, this is a win, win, win.
One of the simplest ways I found to motivate your kids to help out is getting a chore chart.
I stumbled across a ton of these handy little things during my research and I became obsessed.
Since kids are more likely to remember things when they see them consistently, having a chore chart that’s within their reach gives them a sense of responsilibity, and helps them follow through.
How to Motivate Your Kids to Help Out
STEP ONE: Give kids direction
Even from a young age, kids learn things by putting things in order, one step at a time.
For our family, we started by giving Max a task (like taking the dishes to the table) and then showed him what we wanted him to do without telling him to do it.
We seriously did this for at least a few weeks.
This allowed him time to process the new system: every night, before we eat, mom and dad open the cabinet, get out some plates, and set them on the table.
Once we were sure Max knew the steps to set the table, we started asking him if he would set the table for us.
This became routine every night. Hands washed, dinner started, Max sets the table. Over and over. Consistency is key!
STEP TWO: Use a chore chart
I hate to admit it, but I’m a picky person when it comes to my house and my style, especially since I’m trying to create a more tranquil home for myself and my family.
In the beginning, it was very difficult to find a chore chart that wasn’t painted in bright colors, or stamped with teddy bears…
Even though I love how cute those kid-themed chore charts are, I really needed something that I would want to use as well.
Since I couldn’t find the chore chart I wanted, I decided to make my own!
Best FREE Chore Charts for Kids
My chore charts are designed for kids with moms in mind (look how pretty they are!). They’ll also help keep your child on task so the chores get done without a fuss. Click on the button below to download now – no email required!
STEP THREE: Allow kids to take control
My kid isn’t even two yet, and he already hates it when I micromanage him.
Once you’ve shown your kids how chores are usually done and given your kids a chore chart to follow, allow them some space to do their own chores however they want to do them.
If they want to set the table by bringing all the glasses at once, let them!
Maybe they want to do laundry by separating out all their socks from the rest of their clothes. This is fine too!
Kids love experimenting, so give them space to figure out how they’d like to get things done.
They’ll appreciate the trust, and you’ll still get a clean house!
STEP FOUR: Give them space to succeed
When it comes to kids, it’s all about trust. If you give them the tools to complete a task, have faith that they will complete it – even if it takes a while.
If you’re anything like me, simplifying the process will help keep everyone’s stress levels down.
And less stress means more happy moments to savor.
One of the simplest ways to help kids succeed is to assign them chores that are perfect for their abilities.
A two-year-old probably shouldn’t be mowing the lawn, but he or she can absolutely put their toys away by themselves!
Here are a few tasks that are age-appropriate. Feel free to steal my list!
Chore Chart Tasks for Kids 18 months to 2 years
- Put toys away
- Wipe up water, or messes
- Put pillows back on couch or bed
- Take laundry out of the washer (if you have a front-loading washer)
- Put laundry in the dryer (if you have a front-loading dryer)
- Dust furniture
- Take dishes to the table
Chore Chart Tasks for Kids 2 years to 4 years
- Any of the above tasks
- Set the table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Help put groceries away
- Feed any family pets
- Wipe down counters or walls
- Organize their room
- Clean bathroom sinks
Chore Chart Tasks for Kids 4 years to 7 years
- Any of the above tasks
- Wash and dry their own laundry
- Sweep and mop floors
- Prep veggies for dinner
- Vacuum floors
- Strip and make beds
- Fold laundry
Chore Chart Tasks for Kids 7 years to 99 years
- Any of the above tasks
- Unload dishwasher
- Wash, dry, and put away dishes
- Mow the yard
- Take family pets for a walk
- Vacuum and clean car
- Take care of siblings
In the end, we all just want our kids to feel happy, fulfilled, and proud of themselves – and not lose our minds in the process.
I hope these chore charts help you and your family find more peace in your daily routine!