Oh, Behave: What age should a child be assigned small household chores?

By Joe Rich on November 25, 2009


At what age should a child be assigned small household chores? I think my two-year-old can learn to pick up her toys and put them in the toy box. My mother thinks I’m asking too much. Can you give a practical and fair timetable of what tasks and what age is appropriate to begin helping out?


I like to think that if they can help you pack on the way home from the hospital, it isn’t too early to get them involved! Children who participate in chores from an early age come to see this as part of family life rather than some burden their parents have put upon them when they reach a certain age. If you can make chores an integral part of learning or fun, it never hurts. For example, at age two children can help with laundry by sorting ‘colours’ and ‘whites’ (fun and learning), help with getting meals ready and setting the table (How many plates do we need? Where do they go? Let’s make pictures; what is a good picture to give to everyone?). I like to think of this as ‘doing with children’ vs ‘doing for children’ and another way we can work towards minimizing the feeling that we are always on call and that parenting is only about doing for others.

By Joe Rich| November 25, 2009

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