More About Chores and Responsible Kids

dishwasher fill smDo you want to your kids to be more responsible? Many parents today are looking for ways to do this and are finding that adding a few chores to their kids schedule works beautifully. If this sounds interesting, here is a bit more about chores and responsible kids – including how to get started with your child.


You don’t have to pay your kid to make the bed; but, psychologists agree that a reward or positive reinforcement system, can go a long way toward motivating your child to do chores. In turn, the chores help them become more responsible. Rewards can take the form of privileges, such as television time, video games, time on the phone or internet, or time with the two of you doing something together. Of course, time together would also include some verbal positive reinforcement. Earning rewards for doing chores tends to work better than receiving punishment for not doing them, say psychologists.

What Chores Are Appropriate?

Elementary school spans Kindergarten to fifth grade. So, here are some ideas for those grades and ages. Of course, chores for younger kids will already be a part of the chore regimen by the time you get to older grades – the following lists of chores are intended to build on, not replace, each other.

Kindergarten (age 5-6)

This age tends to respond well to simple chores. You can also use this simple approach with older kids for whom this is a new concept. Some ideas include:

  • Feeding pets
  • Watering plants

First Grade (age 6-7)

  • Sweeping the floor
  • Emptying trash cans throughout the house into a garbage bag
  • Washing bathroom or kitchen sink

Second and Third Grade (age 7-9)

  • Vacuuming a small room
  • Setting the table
  • Clearing the table
  • Loading dishwasher or washing/drying dishes

Fourth Grade (age 9-10)

  • Taking out the garbage
  • Walking the dog
  • Making part of dinner (such as a salad or side dish)
  • Washing the car

Fifth Grade (age 10-11)

  • Making dinner
  • Helping with laundry
  • Vacuuming several rooms

Helping Them Out

To help your child get acclimated to the idea of chores, lists can help. If your child likes organization and takes satisfaction in completing tasks, lists with squares he can check off might help.

A competitive child might respond to timed chores. For example, time how long a certain chore takes him and then see if he can beat his time next time (while still doing a good job).

You can also get your child’s help in making a chart or list of chores and privileges, or just the chores. He or she can illustrate the list or decorate it with cut-outs from magazines. If your child participates in thinking up chores and creating the list, he might be more likely to be motivated to do the things on the list.