‘Age-appropriate’ chore list that says two-year-olds should set the table divides parents

Laura Hampson
·3 min read
What age should children start chores? (Getty)
What age should children start chores? (stock, Getty)

What chores were you assigned as a kid? Perhaps you would help your parents with the cooking or, as you got older, you might have mowed the lawn or washed the dishes each night.

One list of chores that has been widely shared on social media says that kids aged as young as two should be throwing the trash away, setting the table and carrying firewood.

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The ‘age-appropriate’ chore list was first published by parenting blog, Flanders Family in 2013 and suggests different chores that children should be doing at certain ages.

It says 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.

Facebook users were quick to share their views on the list, with one saying: “My husband doesn’t do 99% of this list, why should my kids?”

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

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The list also got some support with one user commenting: “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.”

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

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Flanders wrote: “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.

“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.”

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Pathways, which offer free online resources for a child’s development, says: “Kids can start taking on household chores and small tasks as early as two years old. There are so many chores a child can do to help them reach their next milestone. Depending on their age, these tasks range from cleaning up toys to putting on pyjamas.

“Keep in mind, your child won’t know how to do all of these chores right away, so a little guidance is necessary. Having your child complete these tasks in their early years will help with their overall development in the long run.”

However, the list of chores Pathway mentions is slightly more kid centric - it says two and three-year-olds should be sorting their clothes by colour and doing copycat ‘housework’ with a small broom or toy vacuum.

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