‘Age-appropriate’ chore list for children divides parents

Kristine Tarbert
·Features and Health Editor
·3-min read

When it comes to doing chores as a kid you might remember helping your parents with the dishwasher, or the cooking and cleaning if you were really enthusiastic.

Now one list of chores that has been widely shared on social media is dividing parents, as it says kids as young as two should be throwing the trash away, setting the table, and carrying firewood.

chores for children
This extensive list of chores for children has gone viral again. Photo: Facebook

The ‘age-appropriate’ chore list, which was first published by parenting blog Flanders Family in 2013, has again gone viral after being shared on Facebook.

It suggests different ‘age-appropriate’ chores that children should be doing.

According to the chart kids aged between four and five should be making the bed, watering houseplants and disinfecting doorknobs while six and seven-year-olds should empty the dishwasher, weed the garden and peel vegetables.

The list suggests eight and nine-year-olds should dust furniture, while 10 and 11-year-olds should mow the lawn and deep clean the kitchen.

What age should children start chores? (Getty)
What age should children start chores? (stock, Getty)

“Age appropriate chores for children. What a wonderful way to instil independence, ownership, self reliance and esteem,” one parent said, clearly a fan of the list.

“We did these jobs in my house when I was growing up, I think it’s fine and teaches kids how to live in the real world,” another agreed.

However, some parents weren’t particularly impressed with the extensive list.

“My husband doesn’t do 99% of this list, why should my kids?” one person wrote.

While another another added: “If the kids are doing all that then what are the parents doing?”

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Jennifer Flanders, the blogger behind Flanders Family addressed the divisiveness in a separate blog post in 2018.

“Every January, our website gets a spike in traffic from readers downloading calendars for the New Year or looking for ways to revamp children’s chore assignments,” she wrote.

“Just last week, when the garbage disposal under my kitchen sink sprang a leak, one of our very capable, chore-loving sons offered to install a new one for me. It works like a charm. My son did a much cleaner, neater, more conscientious job with his installation than the ‘professionals’ had done on the unit he was replacing.

“That’s precisely the kind of confidence and initiative having regular chores from a young age inspires. You can call it slavery if you want. I call it empowerment.”

Focus On The Family Australia says on its website it is important to “recognise the difference between a chore (an ongoing task that benefits the household) and a life skill (an activity that children should know how to do before living on their own, such as managing a bank account)”.

It also stresses to “remember that every child matures at a different pace”.

Focus on the Family agrees two to three year olds can assist with dusting or putting dirty laundry in the hamper, but instead of carrying firewood or setting the table, they recommend they help making their own beds, or perhaps feeding a pet.

The website also says children aged four and five can start to be shown to use a family chore chart.

Additional reporting by Laura Hampson.

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