chores for my children

Chores For My Children

Have you ever googled “Age Appropriate Chores for Children”.

This is what your screen will look like if you click on the Images tab. 

Chores for Children image

Everyone is an authority on this subject, or so it would seem. The funny thing is, they all same very similar things it’s basically just a copy and paste and reformat for most of these.

I am randomly picking one and thought it would be fun to see whether my kids are ‘measuring up’ to the internet’s standards. Here goes:

My youngest is 3 years and 9 months old. By now she should (apparently) be doing the following (in italics) which are all age appropriate chores for children aged 2 to 3 years old – look out for my comments on each one:

  • Pick up / Put away toys – Sure, if you can make her do it then be my guest cupcake!
  • Unload the dishwasher – What? Maybe the plastic wear and cutlery, but the glassware and plates is unrealistic for any small child, especially mine “the dropper”.
  • Dust with a feather duster/microfiber rag – Ummm … no. Not her job.
  • Swiffer the floor – I had to google what ‘swiffer‘ is, apparently it’s a homosexual person, or something you clean the floor with. I’m going to go with the later here, but my reaction is NO! She can wipe up her spills which she does …all. day. but if I want a clean floor I’ll do it myself thank you.
  • Pick up dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket – Yes, she does that.
  • Help move clothes from the washer to the dryer – assuming I did that myself (this is Africa, we hang our clothes on the line outside) she would undoubtedly drop wet clothes on the floor she didn’t swiffer right and it would all be a big mess that would require more washing and swiffering. No thank you.
  • Put clean clothes away – No. She just throws them in the cupboard and it’s just another mess I have to clean. I’ll just do it myself.
  • Make bed – her bed is a 3/4 bed pushed up against the wall. I have to pull it away from the wall, fluff and straighten the duvet, and push it back. This is an unrealistic chore for a 3 year old, or even a 5 year old.
  • Wipe cabinets and baseboards with soapy water – I refer again to my comments on Swiffering the floor; this isn’t going to happen. Besides the fact that she will drip more water on the floor than achieve any actual cleaning, I don’t believe this is a job for a 3 year old child. Maybe a 14 year old one who needs to be taught a little humility, but not a 3 year old! Inappropriate, in my opinion.

Chores she does that are not on this list:

  • Dresses herself with minimal assistance.
  • Feeds the cats
  • Packs her school bag with her book and lunch-box
  • Helps toss the salads
  • Helps gather the cups and bowls etc for washing
  • Deheads all my flower bushes – not that I asked her to.
  • Set the table – except for glassware and plates.
  • Clear the table – except for glassware and plates.

Eldest is 5 yrs and 8 months old. By now she should apparently be doing the following which are all for children ages 4 – 5:

  • All the above – Pfft
  • Load the dishwasher – I’m a control freak when it comes to that so not even my mother is allowed to load my dishwasher. No.
  • Vacuum the couch/chairs/cushions – I have an upright Dyson which is one of the few  pieces of equipment to have survived moving continents and countries with me and I don’t let anyone use it except me.
  • Take out the recycling – sadly this is not something that households do in Africa. If I could change that I really would.
  • Set the table – Yes.
  • Clear the table – Yes
  • Wash dishes – I suppose she could, but I’m not sure my nerves could take it. I might give it a try soon.
  • Clean windows – my children are far more likely to lick the windows. Washing them is not going to work. Although to be fair washing glass windows and mirrors is something I fail at. Fail hard!
  • Wipe out bathroom sinks – Yes, she can.
  • Match socks – yes, they both do actually, as well as help sort all the laundry that doesn’t need ironing.
  • Weed – Yes. She can. Along with the plants, flowers, etc. I try not to look.
  • Water the indoor plants – Yes.
  • Feed pets – yes.

In addition to these, she also does the following:

  • Helps with meal prep – very enthusiastically
  • Sweeps/ Swiffers the floor – yes, for what it’s worth. It’s more her choice than a chore though. I don’t think a 5 year old should have to swiffer the house.
  • Packs her school bag, including her book and lunch-box
  • Helps me to tidy up
  • Picks up towels after bath time and hangs them up
  • Dress herself
  • Brush her own hair, fairly well.
  • Take the leaves and other debris out of the pool
  • Roll up the hose-pipe
  • Help me bring in the groceries from the car
  • General tidying up.

Brownie Points if anyone can guess what my new favourite word is, let me know in the comments section!

Having read my comments I’m sure you’re all deciding that I’m either a control freak or my house is a dirty mess. It’s neither actually, but thank’s for judging. lol – kidding.

How are your kids stacking up? 

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  1. Author

    I always get a giggle out of these charts, and am convinced those “professionals” who came up with the list did not/do not/and never will have kids…lol
    I believe in teaching kids responsibility by giving them chores to do but when and what I (their mother) see fit.
    Thanks for sharing! Keep up the good work momma!

    1. Author

      Totally agree! Some of it is just so impractical and borders on child labor! Lol

  2. Author

    Swiffer… I giggled/snorted each time I read it. 😀
    My seven year old can and does all the things you mentioned your little ones do as well. She’s always keen to help, but I just feel that’s going to end up giving me double the work (control freak? Maybe, but whatever). Also, I’m not a fan of having kids do too many chores (especially those on these google lists), I prefer they enjoy being kids – some say it’s spoiling, but my mom was the same with me, and I think I turned out ok. 🙂

    1. Author

      Agreed. I can’t imagine making them sweep & mop, or even haul the dustbin bag out. That’s just OTT.

  3. Author

    I totally agree. I dint grow up in a home like this but I would love to practice this with the children I birth. Also, are you really living in Africa (new subscriber) ?

    1. Author

      Yes. I’m a Zimbabwean married to a South African living in SA after being in the UK for 10 years.

        1. Author

          Definitely. What subscription did you find me through – just curious to know?

          1. Author

            Sure I searched for stay at home moms. I’m not one as yet, not even married yet lol but that’s the lifestyle my fiancé wants to led me towards so I began searching for a community of stay at home mommies.

  4. Author

    I don’t have children but I could do with one of these for the BF ,.. it’s like I have one big child who leaves a mass of destruction behind him!
    Swifter is a great word 🙂
    Tracey xx

    1. Author

      I did consider going into the lack of chores my husband does, but it’s really the shortest list ever!

  5. Author

    I’m dying over all the swiffering! My readers would love this over at the #FridayFrivolity party (opens 9pm EST Thursdays), if you’d like to share it there!

    1. Author

      Thanks Lisa. I’m always keen for new linkys. I’ll put a note in my diary and be sure to link up on Friday.

  6. Author

    Right now I am at about “do anything!”

    Kidding. The girls that are 6 and 9 are actually really good about chores like taking care of their rooms, dishes in the sink, setting the table and putting their shoes, coats and backpacks away and they do the trash once a week,


  7. Author

    ha ha hilarious! I’ve never googled these charts – thank goodness – has the person who wrote them even got kids?! However, I agree with them helping out but I don’t need someone on google to make suggestions – I got this! #CoolMumClub

    1. Author

      Exactly. If you want to be a slave to your kids forever, then be my guest. But there’s no need to treat them like free-help either. They are just kids. x

  8. Author

    LOL…my daughter does some chores but I am not militant about it…which I think would take the joy out of it for her! I think like with everything in parenting it’s best not to look at what others “think” you children should be doing 😛 Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xox

  9. Author

    Load the dishwasher?! Are these people mad?! I’m clearly not giving my 3 year old and my 5 year old girls enough to do according to these lists. I’m off to draw up a list of things for them to do when they get home from school! #CoolMumClub

    1. Author

      I know right?! Haha – crazy childless people drew up those lists I’m telling you!

  10. Author

    Love this post! And thank you for introducing me to the word “swiffer” – I’d also never heard of it! There’s no way I’d be letting my kids move crockery or glass stuff (my 16yo brother once managed to drop an entire crockery set when he cleared the table so I’m not letting a 5yo chance it!)

    I do think kids love to help out when they can, though. My 2yo loves to spread butter on toast and my 5yo likes to help me cook. Also, when we went camping last year, everything was plastic so we let them do the washing up each day and they loved it!

    Great post! #coolmumclub

  11. Author

    Swiffering… lol… I like the way the word sounds. These ‘charts’ really drive me up the wall… are the people who created them even parents?!

  12. Author

    Brilliant. I don’t know who comes up with these lists. My two yr old loves a duster but I’m not entirely sure it’s necessary to dust the dog or the cats. She also likes helping hang the washing, she just chooses to hang them (mainly underpants) on the head. She will help with tidying away her toys and she can brush her own teeth but that’s about it. My 7yr old will lay the table when asked and clears his own dishes away and puts them in the dishwasher but that’s all I ask of him. He would love to do the washing up (as would my 2yr old) but I’d rather do it myself in 10 minutes than have them take and hour and soak themselves and the floor, and then have to do it again myself because it’s all still dirty.

    1. Author

      haha … exactly why I don’t let mine do the dishes either. It’s just more work for me. Thanks for the reply and for sharing on Twitter. x

  13. Author

    My four year old is pretty much on the same level as your four year old! He needs one hell of a lot of pushing though, but he gets there! I pretty much don’t let my nearly three year old do anything though, because he was a born assassin, and just breaks all of the things. I will push him a bit more when he’s older! I agree, there’s no way I’d let them empty the dishwasher yet! But if my mum is over, she is obsessed with cleaning up my house, and the four year old is obsessed with helping her-she lets him dust, which he enjoys and actually does quite well! He’s not so keen when I ask him though…!

    1. Author

      The love between kids and their grandparents … it’s like none other.

  14. Author

    The swiffer is great. Especially if you have cats. I use it after sweeping and am always amazed by how much hair the broom leaves behind. Or maybe I’m just a horrible sweeper? Anyway, Peachy is 15 months old. She picks up half the Cheerios she drops on the ground and puts 2 out of what seems like 50 of her toys away before losing interest. #FridayFrolics

  15. Author

    My oldest is good at chores. In fact, he loves them. The other two…not so much. Ugh.

  16. Author

    Who comes up with these charts? They are clearly insane! Unloading the dishwasher, there is no way that I would let my 4 year-old near the dishwasher. Don’t even get me started on swiffering. I had never heard of the word swiffer before but now I rather like it too! #FridayFrolics

  17. Author

    I’m still laughing at the thought of a three year old unloading the dishwasher. I can just see my three year old becoming a sword thrower with the cutlery! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

    1. Author

      Haha … maybe you’re right. In that case mine seriously need to be brought into line! Thanks for reading.

  18. Author

    Haha thank you thank you for writing this! I saw this Pinterest image on another blog and accidentally rolled my eyes. When my daughter deliberately spills cereal/throws toys I ask her to pick them up and she looks at me like “really?! that is just not going to happen and you know it”. That chore list is way out of our league! Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam x

    1. Author

      Haha … keep me posted how it goes. Maybe I’m too easy going.

  19. Author

    Haha – love it! I have a two year old and a three year old and under no circumstances would I let them near the dishwasher or a duster! Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics

  20. Author

    HAHAHA!! OK, I only found out what a Swiffer was once we moved to that States… Now, I have to admit, I have 2 🙂 But no, my children don’t use them, only because they would make a huge mess. Embarrassing to admit that NONE of my kids did chores when we were in Africa, as we had a full tim domestic worker. (Oh how I miss her) … Now they do their fare share. Tidy their rooms, dress themselves, all that your mentioned your children do. Some of these lists are unrealistic!!! Thanks for sharing lovely! #globalblogging

  21. Author

    Great post. I think some of the things on the lists that you found were realistic and expected, and others…not so much. Like swiffering (your new fave word perhaps?.. 😉 or stacking the dishwasher, but then there were lots that your little ones do that werent on the list that I also expected or encourage our three (almost 4) year old to do too that I think are great 🙂 Emily #GlobalBlogging

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