Assigning Age Appropriate Chores

Posted on Feb 7, 2013 by 3 Comments
Assigning Age Appropriate Chores

Everyone in a family has a function. While a baby’s function seems to mainly be eating and pooping, when they get a little older and learn to make new messes like emptying the toy box, it’s a perfect time to teach them to clean up.

If only I’d caught that early in the game, but I didn’t. Instead, I’d pick up all the toys after I put my kids down for a nap.

As they grew older and I expected them to clean their rooms, it took forever to get the job done. I mean it was like they walked into a time warp portal that slowed everything down.

I could check on them after an hour and the mess remained the same, or sometimes was worse! 

I underestimated my children’s capabilities when it came to picking up their rooms when they were younger, but I did give them other age appropriate chores…or as I’d rather call them…responsibilities.

When they were old enough to match, that was their job when I was folding laundry. They matched the socks. Then they learned to put socks away after they were matched. Age appropriate chores are progressive. 

Toilet Paper Roll

Toilet paper patrol duties required a roll on the holder and one on the back of the toilet.

I also gave them toilet paper patrol when they were about three. It was their job to make sure there was toilet paper in the bathrooms each morning (any time before lunch). The chore required one roll on the back of the toilet, and another on the holder. We got rid of the spring-loaded holder, so the roll just slid right on. Easy even for a three-year-old. 

Toddler chore charts, child chore charts, and kids responsibility charts are all popular tools, but in my household they tended to turn chores into a competition, and that wasn’t my goal.

Responsibilities, no matter our age, are necessary contributions to the family. Matching socks actually helps, and having toilet paper on hand meets a necessity. Doing things that matter encourages everyone, but it still takes some nudging through the training process. 

Photo credits: AshleyNYCPics,

Posted in: Parenting
Donna Sundblad

Donna Sundblad resides in NW Georgia where she serves as the president of the Writer's Alliance of Georgia. Her most recent book, The Inheritance, was nominated for the 2012 Epic eBook award.

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  • MomHomeGuide

    I don’t give my children chores, but I probably should — they sometimes ask if they can help me clean, and if I let them help me dust, they actually think it’s great fun!

  • Emily (CityBaby Living)

    I think it’s time for a chore chart – our 5 yo is good at helping (mostly) but she’s old enough to have something she does on a regular basis. With our 2nd, I’ll probably institute this earlier!


    I have kids ranging from toddler to preteen. Nobody does anything on their own unless it is written down on a chore chart. It is frustrating that if it doesn’t get written down, it doesn’t happen… but nothing else seems to work.