Believe it or not, kids thrive when they do chores! Chores help kids develop a sense of responsibility, pride, and connection to the shared spaces at home. Assign your kids kitchen chores using our age-appropriate guide.
I remember realizing how capable my kids were, even at a very young age. My 3 year old would want to hop up on the counter and make his own sandwiches while his brother and sister got ready for school. And you know what? He did just as good of a job as they did. Kids love to be involved and have a sense that they contribute to the family. The critical way however that giving them a job can teach them to be responsible, is to make them fully accountable for that job. They should believe, “if I don’t do this, it won’t get done.” They need this to learn to function independently in the outside world. Assigning appropriate consequences for jobs not finished also can teach them the importance of their work. Ways to implement and enforce the jobs can include:
- Use a chore chart. Here’s one of my favorite chore charts, on a cookie sheet, but also this list of DIY Charts is awesome!
- Teach them young, while the consequences are mild! Even the most basic jobs can have a consequence.
- Make it a routine. Everyone can be working together. If everyone pitches in after a meal, it does become routine!
In our modern world of conveniences, sometimes it’s just hard to think of what to chores to give the kids that are meaningful. So here’s a pretty good list of all the potential kitchen chores your kids could not just be in charge of, but possibly even master!
What Kitchen Chores Can Preschoolers Do?
Preschoolers are the most willing to help of all three age groups! They just love to be included in the same activities as the grown ups and older siblings. Take advantage of this time and their enthusiasm! Put them to work. Lavish on the praise. They can build confidence by performing small, but challenging tasks. Once they have those mastered, they can move on to the chores for older, school age kids.
- Set the table
- Fill water cups
- Clear the table
- Wipe the counters
- Make sandwiches
- Rinse dishes
- Water kitchen plants
- Wipe down walls
- Wipe down light switches
- Wipe down door knobs
- Wash veggies (our homemade veggie wash here!)
- Assist with cooking
- Put away silverware
- Wipe spills
- Carry in groceries
- Put away toys or items on the floor
- Wipe kitchen chairs or stools
- Push start on the dishwasher
- Wipe out lunch boxes or containers
- Stack clean towels in a drawer
What Kitchen Chores Can Kids of School Age Do?
Of course, school age kids can do ALL the things the preschoolers can do, but they can add more. School age kids I consider ages 5-11. They are not only highly teachable at this age, but some of the skills they learn can be just as good as you doing it yourself. It’s easy to see if a job is done well, such as wiping out the microwave or fridge. Give lots of feedback and lots of praise at this stage.
- Sweep the floor
- Mop the floor
- Unload dishwasher
- Make breakfast
- Empty the garbage
- Clean the inside of the fridge
- Clean the inside of the pantry or cupboard
- Peel vegetables
- Start and maintain a windowsill herb garden
- Clean out the microwave
- Put away groceries
- Clean appliances
- Launder the dish towels and rags
- Wipe down baseboards
- Wipe cabinet doors
- Dust blinds
- Clean cobwebs
- Clean windowsill/window tracks
- Wipe doors and door frames
- Polish sink faucet
What Kitchen Chores Can Teenagers Do?
My kids are teenagers now, and while they are capable of everything I do in the kitchen, they aren’t always as willing as those adorable preschoolers. They also are very independent and prefer to do things through trial and error, rather than closely watched by you. So, give them the freedom they need, with the feedback that can help them improve. Also, make sure they have the tools and resources they need to do a good job. It’s hard to get window’s clean without a squeegee. Set them up for success and watch them succeed.
So, for this list, of course add all the things the preschoolers and school age kids can do. Then give them more responsibility such as:
- Make dinner ( Teen dinner takeover !)
- Prep veggies
- Clean windows
- Clean the oven
- Vacuum out drawers with crumbs
- Organize cupboards
- Scrub and sanitize waste baskets
- Sweep and mop behind fridge
- Clean off the top of fridge
- Clean out leftovers
There are so many more things the kids can do in the kitchen. We’d love to hear what assignments your kids have, ways you enforce them, how you teach and more!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie