The best chores for children are those that they can do, and do well. Or in other words, the chores that work best are age appropriate chores.
When deciding what chores to assign to your child, you should not only just consider what needs to be done around the house but you should also focus on the positive aspects of chores. Among other things, these include building self-esteem and contributing to the family.
Setting age appropriate chores means that you can't give a 5 year-old the chore of mowing the lawn (just be patient - they grow up fast). And it doesn't mean letting your preteen skate by with just picking up his sports gear.
You need to match the chores to the kids. Here are some suggestions by age to get you started.
Surprise! Even kids this young can do basic tasks to help around the house. Focus on making these kids' chores things that are part of everyday life instead of just being weekly extra tasks. Options for kids this age:
At this age, kids may even like to help around the house (Ah, what a magical time). Be sure to consider this when assigning chores. Suggestions for the best chores for children this age:
With some basic chore skills under their belts plus the advantage of being a few years older, kids in this group are ready for more responsibility and the next level of chores. Ideas for kids this age:
This is where age appropriate chores can make a real difference in how smoothly (or not) the house is run. The chores that kids in this age group can do start to get more and more into those things that you might even pay others to do.
And they are likely to be more specific to your own family's needs, interests, and situation rather than encompassing a universal checklist.
The key is to remember the purpose of chores in the first place. Ideally, chores help teach your child responsibility and they help make managing a household more manageable.
Also keep in mind that your child will one day be an adult and will be responsible for doing everything that you, as an adult, do right now. The target then should be that by the time they're 18, they should not only know what the responsibilities are in running a household, but how to meet those responsibilities as well.
That doesn't mean you should heap everything on them in their early teens. But it does mean that you should be consciously aware of opportunities to increase their responsiblities (or at least rotate them) so that they gain the necessary and valuable experiences that will help them transition into successful adulthood.
Check out our chore charts to get additional ideas for your kids.
And if you're looking for a simple but effective solution (i.e. no headaches!) to implementing a sucessful teen chore program, definitely check out Teen Chore Success.