The house is a mess. Toys are scattered from one end to the other. Dishes are piled high in the sink. There are mounds of laundry that give Mount Everest some competition. And special dirt or food laced fingerprints cover the windows and walls. Get the picture? It's time to clean and Mom can't do it all by herself. It's time to put the whole family to work. Here are some age-appropriate jobs for all members of the family - from toddler to teenager.

Children 2-3 years old and up can

  • Help make their own bed.

  • Pick up their toys.

  • Help clean up spills.

  • Dust furniture.

  • Put dirty laundry into a basket.

  • Pick up trash and put it into the garbage can.

  • Help put away groceries (maybe just handing an adult the items to put away).

  • Assist with dishes by handing clean dishes to an adult to put away.

Children 4-5 years old and up can

  • Make their own beds.

  • Get dressed mostly unassisted.

  • Set the table for meals (supervised).

  • Put dishes in the sink or dishwasher.

  • Unload utensils from the dishwasher.

  • Water flowers or plants.

  • Empty small trash cans.

  • Wipe windows or walls with a cloth and water.

  • Help a parent prepare food.

  • Help carry in groceries from the car.

Children 6-7 years old and up can

  • Make beds daily.

  • Comb hair.

  • Brush teeth.

  • Be responsible for feeding, watering and walking pets.

  • Vacuum individual rooms.

  • Fold and put away laundry.

  • Help prepare meals.

  • Keep bedrooms clean.

  • Straighten books on a bookshelf.

  • Set and clear the table.

  • Sweep and mop (may need some assistance).

  • Put away clean dishes.

Children 8-11 years old and up can

  • Take care of personal hygiene.

  • Be responsible for homework.

  • Wash dishes or load the dishwasher.

  • Prepare a few easy meals on their own.

  • Clean bathrooms with supervision.

  • Wipe down the table after meals.

  • Learn to use the washer and dryer.

  • Rake leaves.

  • Take the trash out to the street for pick-up.

  • Sew on buttons.

  • Walk pets.

  • Help with meals.

Children 11 years old up can

  • Care for personal hygiene.

  • Maintain a clean bedroom and do deep cleanings every six months.

  • Mow the lawn.

  • Dust, mop, vacuum and clean bathrooms.

  • Empty and load the dishwasher.

  • Babysit younger siblings (or maybe get paid to watch other people's children).

  • Change their own sheets.

  • Use the washer and dryer.

  • Clean the kitchen.

  • Clean the oven.

  • Iron clothes.

  • Wash windows and mirrors.

Children 14 years old and up can

  • Complete assigned housework without being reminded.

  • Do yard work.

  • Prepare food - including making a grocery list, buying the items (with a parent), cooking the meal, and serving the meal.

  • Babysit.

Children 16 years old and up can

  • Be responsible to earn spending money.

  • Be responsible for purchasing their own clothing.

  • Maintain the car they drive (fill up gas, oil changes, tire pressure, etc.).

  • Complete housework and yard work as needed.

  • Prepare meals for the family.

  • Deep clean appliances.

There may be other age-appropriate chores that are suitable depending on family circumstances and the child's maturity. Remember to not expect perfection - especially when the child is young or learning a new skill. Give praise for good efforts and teach when improvement is needed. Children will one day become adults who must know how to care for their own homes and families. Learning to work together as a family is a necessary life-skill.

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