This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click through to an online shop and make a purchase I may make a small commission. Thank you if you choose to do this.
29 January 2024

Age-appropriate tidying and cleaning tasks for under 10s

I am a big fan of teaching your children to help out with the housework from an early age. Teaching your children to clean from an early age has benefits for everyone in the household: from helping children to learn the value of work through to lightening the load of those that normally carry out the housework. But you may be wondering what exactly your children can help out with, and what household chores are age-appropriate for under 10s.

A child cleaning a sink, image from Canva Pro
What age should you get your children involved in household chores

If so, here’s a list of age-appropriate household chores for under 10s. They’re also all chores that my children are asked to help out with. Whether they willingly comply is another matter! However, something that I’ve learnt is not to insist on perfection when asking your children to help with household chores, and to be clear and specific with your instructions. 

Once you’re in the regular swing of things, there are a variety of tasks that you children can help with, as follows:

Housework ideas for children aged 2 – 4:

You may feel that really young children aren’t mature enough to help with housework, but actually if you start them early with things that are appropriate for their age, you’ll sow the seed of the idea of them helping out around the house regularly. Here are some age appropriate chores for little ones:

  • Tidying their toys away – preferably when they are finished playing with them but also when the play space in your house needs a general tidy.
  • Putting their dirty laundry in the laundry basket.
  • Dusting surfaces without breakables.
  • Wiping up spills.

These are all quite basic chores, which is why they are appropriate for this age. And for many children this age, they’ll see it as a game and being like their parents and carers, which will make it all the more fun for them!

Housework ideas for children aged 4 - 6:

As well as the above chores, by about the age of 4 you may be able to start introducing slightly more complicated tasks. These could include:

  • Making their beds.
  • Laying the table with cutlery (as long as there are no sharp knives).
  • Clearing the table or at least their their plate etc when they have finished.
  • Using a dustpan and brush or vacuum to pick up crumbs, particularly after they’ve spilt something or made a mess.
  • Watering plants.

With supervision, you may also be able to get them to help out with tasks such as unloading the dishwasher and washing plastic crockery. Start with something like the cutlery basket from the dishwasher and ask them to unload it, but make sure there are no sharp knives or scissors in there first. Remember that you will know your child best, and will be able to tell if they’re capable of more based on their strengths, maturity and coordination.

Housework ideas for children aged 6 - 8:

If you are confident in your child’s abilities and you feel that they are focussed enough, by the ages of 6 to 8 your children may be able to help out with the following, in addition to the ideas above:

  • Helping to make meals: breakfast, packed lunches, dinner etc. These may require a level of supervision.
  • Peeling vegetables.
  • Putting away the food shopping.
  • Helping to load the dishwasher.
  • Keeping their own spaces tidy: their bedroom or playroom, for example.
  • Sorting out laundry into colours. 
  • Raking up leaves in the garden.

You may find that some of the above still requires a level of supervision, for example helping to load the dishwasher. However, many schools are now starting to teach life skills in Key Stage 2, and so you may find at this stage that your children can go above and beyond the above.

Household task ideas for children aged 8 – 10:

By the ages of 8 to 10, you do want to be starting to foster some independence in your children before they start secondary school. With this in mind, I would start ramping up the chores and life skills at this point, and would include the following:

  • Making their own snacks.
  • Wiping down surfaces after meals.
  • Putting away their laundry.
  • Using the vacuum cleaner.
  • Sewing buttons 

If your child is in Cubs or Scouts check out the Home Help badge to see what they need to do to earn it. It includes: ironing, washing up, sewing buttons and changing the sheets on their bed. Working towards the bage can be a great way to motivate them to get started on helping.

Obviously all of these tasks, at all ages, will take some supervision and patience to start with, but over time your children should become more independent, which as parents should be our ultimate goal: to send them off into the world equipped for everyday life.

Would you like to comment?