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Age Appropriate Chores for Kids - A Realistic Timeline and Account

Check out the download at the bottom of the page to help get your own kiddos helping around the house and enjoy the timeline I've laid out for you below ;)

I realize it's a real pain in the butt to get kids to do just about anything they don't want to do.

As moms, we default to taking care of everyone and everything.... usually about 5 years in (according to my own personal experience and many friends), we realize that this is some BS and HELL NO we're not doing everything. Some of us may be a little more timid, and allow that resentment to build up over time, but eventually, it's going to come out. This is where delegation comes in. Not only is it good for the development of the child, but after established, it takes some of the weight off of you.

Now, I'm not going to tell you how easy it is to establish chores. In fact, it's so difficult and infuriating that it could be argued that it's not even worth the extra effort. BUT, for the sake of greener grass, give it a go!

They're going to start out strong. Everyone will get their assignments and it will seem all smooth sailing on day 1. You will be required to demonstrate, criticize and praise them for the job they are doing. It's going to take much, much longer to do this than it would to just do it yourself. Stay the course.

Day 2 - This is where I strongly encourage you to keep the same chores every day for the same kid. You're going to have an urge to get ambitious and create some type of rotating schedule that your little angels will adhere to without fail.... resist that urge. Today is the day that the little one is going to protest. This is where you start singing the "clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere" song, in a futile attempt to spark interest. Abandon the tiny tyrant and focus on the older kids... TT is not worth it at this juncture.

Day 3 - Everyone is sick today. They cannot possibly get up off the couch because they are SOOOOOO tired. The novelty has worn off, they've realized this is work now. Stay the course. Maybe throw something in there about how a clean house makes mom happier, and if mom is happier, they get more XYZ. This may work, but at least one is going to limp noodle his entire body into the couch and flat out refuse. Stand your ground with limp noodle. He must do his chores because we are a family and everyone who lives in the house has to pitch in. His portion of the house will certainly collapse without his contribution. Replace the word "chores" with something more magical and fun... like "household sparkles".

Day 4 - This is a good time to have a good team pep talk. It's not going to work, but at least you will drive home the point that everyone has a job and everyone has to sparkle. You could throw in a little "taking pride in your space" snippet, but kids don't care and you're wasting precious time. The oldest is going to begin negotiations this day. We definitely do not need to sparkle the bathroom every single day, and he could just do a really good job once per week to "save time". I recommend pointing out all the piss that's all over the toilet seat and surrounding areas, just to drive home the point that a daily wipe down is, in fact, necessary. Ask them if they can smell it, or if you're the only one. Their noses will not work.

Day 5 - Someone is going to figure out that they can convince a younger someone to do their sparkles for some type of currency, whether it be toys, fake money, tablet time, etc. Be on the lookout for quiet conversations... your little ones need to be protected from this exploitation. Those innocent little faces think they are getting a great deal.... they are NOT. Whichever kid has figured out he can do the hiring.... make note of that. He's your entrepreneur. Nurture that in a different way.

Day 6 - Whining. Ear plugs are good. Headphones with some 2000s Dr Dre blasting is even better, and as a bonus, they might get a preview of the true gangster mom can be. This is always a good thing. They are not allowed to do anything without getting their sparkles done first. It's going to take a long time. It's going to take at least 5 times longer than normal just to get them to start because they will waste an hour uttering caveman grunts and limp noodling around the furniture. Stay the course... they will do it.

Day 7 - The little one is going to follow the others around and undo everything they've done. There's lots of screaming.

Day 8-40 - Some variation of all these days will happen throughout the next month. If you cave now, it will all be for NOTHING. Do not cave. The end is in sight. Make sure you are still checking that every single thing is done, and done to your standards.... for the love of god DO NOT ASK THEM if they finished sparkling. Check first and then ask. If they're caught lying, then you have to do a whole freaking thing about lying and how it's bad, blah blah blah, and you've already been through enough today.

You will still need to remind and check them, every day, for the rest of your life. This will not change. BUT the fight will go away. That's the greener grass right there.

Some things I do to encourage them (this works for some of mine, may not work for yours):

  • The least whiniest kid gets a day off from sparkling as a reward.

  • The kid that does his sparkles without asking him to gets a special outing with mom (not every time, but sometimes... kinda like positive reinforcement dog training)

  • The kid who goes above and beyond gets to pick what we have for dinner

If you've made it this far, here's your download with BOTH and age appropriate sparkle list AND a printable sparkle checklist that you can use to gauge your delegation progress... make sure to assign some to ALL the people that live in your house... no one gets a pass here.

Lots of Love,


Chore PDF for Blog
Download PDF • 12.44MB

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