boy washing car
Photo by Sean Dreilinger
Most kids go through a transition in which they are able to take on significantly more responsibility sometime between the ages of 8 and 9. 

 

At this point, kids have been through several years of structure in elementary school and are beginning to think about the transition to middle school. They act much more independently, and they are very capable of sticking to a schedule of chores. In addition to completing basic chores like tidying their room, feeding pets, dusting, and taking out trash, kids in this age group can begin helping with several new types of chores.

 

Washing Dishes: So far, your child should already be able to help with setting the table for dinner, clearing the table after dinner, and putting away clean flatware. At this point, consider adding the chore of washing dishes. This one requires more attention than the others because your child needs to know how to tell when a dish is actually clean. Start teaching your child how to wash dishes and arrange them in a drying rack, or if you have a dishwasher, how to know when to rinse dishes and load the dishwasher properly.

Drying and Folding Clothes: Your child has probably already been helping with sorting and putting away laundry, and perhaps even folding laundry. If not, now is the time to start, and you can even add some more advanced responsibilities. At 8-9 years old, your child should be able to move laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, turn the dryer on to the correct cycle, get clothes out when they are dry, and fold and put them away, which is a huge help.

Preparing and Packing Lunches: If your kids take lunch from home to school every day, you know how much of a chore packing lunches can be for you. The good news is that by the time they’re 8 or 9 years old, your kids should be able to manage this one on their own. Prepare a chart with lunchbox ideas divided into columns of main dishes, fruits, vegetables, and treats. Tell your child he will be responsible for preparing his lunch each evening before school by choosing one item from each column. Kids can easily make sandwiches and wraps, pack dinner leftovers in reusable containers, and perform other tasks needed to complete this chore.

Light Yard Work: Kids can start helping with yard work when they’re in preschool, but they can perform tasks much more independently once they’re 8 or 9 years old. Teach your child how much water each of the plants in your yard needs and have your child water them regularly. You can also show your child how to tell weeds from plants and pull up weeds by the roots. Lastly, get your child to take charge of raking and bagging leaves each fall.

Giving your kids chores is not only a helpful way to keep your home tidy and running smoothly, but it’s also necessary for developing a sense of ownership and responsibility in your kids. With this added responsibility, you should also give some added rewards and consequences. Consider not allowing your kids privileges, like watching TV or using the computer, until they have completed their chores each day. You can also give kids a small allowance if they complete their chores with a good attitude each week.

 

Greta Jenkins

Greta Jenkins

Greta Jenkins has been writing for Families Online Magazine since 2004. She is a mom, nurse andcommunity volunteer.
Greta Jenkins
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