Believe it or not, children as young as two years old have the ability to participate in household tasks.
As they grow older, they become capable of handling a wide range of chores.
The remarkable aspect of this is that it instills in children a sense of responsibility, self-reliance, a strong work ethic, and various essential life skills.
This concept is known as “Montessori chores by age.”
A comprehensive study conducted over a span of 25 years provides evidence for the benefits of assigning chores to children as young as 3 or 4 years old.
Those children who were given shared responsibilities at home developed a heightened sense of responsibility in other areas of their lives.
The study suggests that even simple tasks like tidying up toys can have an impact on their success in young adulthood, influencing their educational pursuits, careers, and even their own families.
While it’s not necessary to delve deeply into the study, one thing is clear – the study merely reaffirms what most people already know: involving children in household chores at an early age teaches them the importance of empathy and responsibility.
These values become ingrained in them from a young age and continue to shape their character throughout their lives.
In Montessori education, it is preferred to use the term “practical life skills” rather than chores.
We aim to involve children in our daily routines and tasks.
However, it’s understandable that most people commonly refer to these activities as chores.
Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that these activities should always be supervised by an adult.
In certain cases, the adult may need to provide assistance or complete certain tasks, such as brushing a toddler’s teeth, to ensure their safety and well-being.
Before you begin the cleaning process, it’s important to take some preparatory steps to ensure that your child can succeed in their tasks.
Similar to how adults wouldn’t use a broom that is too small for them to sweep the house effectively, we cannot expect children to use materials that are not appropriately sized for them.
Montessori Age-Appropriate Chores
To assist your child in cleaning, we have provided a comprehensive list of typical household tasks, along with guidelines for age-appropriate involvement and recommendations for child-sized cleaning materials.
This will help your child engage in cleaning activities comfortably and effectively.
5 Montessori Household Chores For Kids One To Three Years Old (Toddlers)
It’s important to note that if you introduce your child to chores at a young age, they will become a regular part of their daily routine, and they will naturally perform them.
By making Montessori chores enjoyable, your child might even start looking forward to them. It’s best to keep things simple and not make it overly complicated.
Remember, you will gradually introduce chores to your kids, allowing them to adjust and learn at their own pace.
- Picking up toys
Each morning, encourage your child to pick up any toys around the house and guide them on where to put away these things.
Repeat this process again at bedtime.
By doing so, you will teach them the important lesson that they should clean their room before leaving it for the day.
- Sweeping inside or outside the house
It is recommended to acquire a broom and dustpan specifically designed for your child’s age.
Using a regular-sized broom and dustpan can be challenging for them to handle and may result in accidents or damage to objects while attempting to clean the floor.
Providing them with their own appropriately sized cleaning tools will not only prevent such issues but also instill a sense of pride in having their own set of cleaning equipment.
- Cleaning up spills on the table or floors
To instill a sense of responsibility in children, it is crucial to teach them to take responsibility for cleaning up any spills or messes they create.
For instance, if they accidentally knock over a glass of milk, provide them with a cloth or paper towel and guide them in cleaning up the area.
This hands-on experience teaches them the importance of being accountable for their actions and the value of taking immediate steps to rectify any accidents or messes they may cause.
- Watering the plants
Consider getting your child a small watering can and teach them how to gently water the plants to ensure their survival.
Just like humans, plants also need a little drink to thrive.
By involving your child in this age appropriate task, you can teach them the importance of nurturing and caring for living things, while also instilling a sense of responsibility and empathy.
- Replacing water in pet bowls
It is not recommended for young children to directly feed pet dogs or cats, but they can assist by fetching the bag or can of pet food for their parents.
They can also help by refilling the pet’s water.
This presents an opportunity to teach them an important lesson about not being near animals while they are eating or drinking, ensuring their safety, and promoting good behavior around pets.
5 Montessori Chores By Age 4 to 5 Years Old (Preschoolers)
During the preschool stage, children continue to learn by imitating the actions of their elders.
With improved mobility and coordination, you can assign them age appropriate chores at this stage, always under your supervision.
Typically, children develop proficiency in one or two specific tasks during this stage.
- Making their own bed
Show your child how to make the bed by doing it together.
Demonstrate each step slowly and clearly, explaining what you’re doing and why.
Provide guidance and assistance as needed, allowing the child to help actively.
- Assisting in setting up the table
Start by introducing your child to the different items needed for setting up the table, such as plates, utensils, napkins, glasses, and any additional items you typically use.
Explain the purpose of each item and where it should be placed on the table.
Show your child how to set up the table by doing it together.
- Putting utensils away
Teach your child about table manners and the importance of cleaning up after oneself.
Encourage them to be mindful of cleanliness and to handle the items with care.
- Sorting the laundry before washing (whites and colored)
Teaching a child to sort laundry before washing is a valuable skill that promotes organization and helps maintain the quality of clothing.
Gather a small pile of laundry items, including white and colored garments.
Demonstrate the difference between whites and colors by holding them up and explaining that whites are typically lighter and brighter while colors are more vibrant.
Guide them to place the clothes in different hampers to aid in doing the laundry.
- Towel folding
Folding small towels serves as an excellent starting point for introducing your child to the laundry process and allowing them to actively participate.
It provides them with a sense of involvement and accomplishment.
Although they might be inclined to fold and unfold the same towel repeatedly, it’s important to recognize that repeated practice of these skills is essential for them to progress to more challenging tasks.
5 Household Chores For Kids 6 to 9 Years Old (Primary Schoolers)
During this stage, children can engage in more advanced and demanding duties as their abilities and skills continue to develop.
However, it is crucial to acknowledge that children at this stage may occasionally resist the idea of doing chores.
It’s important to exercise patience and help them understand the importance of contributing to household tasks.
Whether they display resistance or not is highly dependent on their individual personality.
- Making their own snacks, preparing simple meals, or heating food using the microwave or toaster
Teaching a child to make their own snacks or prepare simple meals that do not have to be heated.
Show your child how to make a snack or meal by doing it together.
Explain each step clearly, demonstrating proper techniques and safety precautions.
Allow them to observe and ask questions as you guide them through the process.
- Taking care of their personal hygiene
Start by explaining why personal hygiene is important for their health and well-being.
Discuss how it helps prevent illness, maintain cleanliness, and promote self-confidence.
Break down personal hygiene into specific areas and practices. Cover topics such as bathing, handwashing, dental care, hair care, and grooming.
Set a regular schedule for personal hygiene activities, such as morning and bedtime routines.
It’s beneficial for your child to acquire this skill, and with some practice, it can be easily accomplished.
To help them learn the proper movements for using a broom effectively, begin by marking off a square on the floor using tape.
This square will serve as a “goal” for your child to aim for while practicing.
Start by demonstrating how to use the child-sized broom to sweep up larger debris and guide it into the square.
Gradually progress towards sweeping smaller and smaller debris without the need for the goal square.
With continued practice, your child will become a proficient sweeper and be able to assist you effectively.
- Unloading the dishwasher
Strategically organizing the dishwasher can enable your child to assist with unloading it, provided they are taught how to handle breakable items safely.
By setting up the dishwasher appropriately, you can create opportunities for your child to participate.
Using a kitchen step stool or learning tower can help them safely reach the items stored inside.
- Taking the trash outside
Show your child the proper procedure for taking the trash outside.
Walk them through each step, from gathering the trash bags to safely navigating to the outdoor trash bins or designated area.
5 Household Chores For Kids 10 to 13 Years Old (Middle Schoolers)
During this stage, parents can begin to instill responsibility and independence in their children by assigning specific duties and chores that require less supervision.
This approach helps teach children the importance of being accountable and self-reliant, fostering a sense of responsibility even in situations where they are not constantly monitored.
The following are some of the chores middle schoolers can do at home:
- Washing the dishes
- Using the clothes washer and dryer
- Mowing the lawn
- Helping shop for groceries
- Babysitting their younger siblings when parents are not at home
Household Chores For Children 14 Years Old and Above (High Schoolers)
At this stage, children are capable of handling a wide range of household chores, allowing them to develop skills that will prepare them for independent living in the future, such as college or pursuing their desired paths in life.
The Montessori chores by age guide is provided as a helpful suggestion, but it’s important to remember that every child is unique, and their development progresses at their own pace.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to evaluate your child’s abilities and assign chores accordingly, taking into consideration their individual capabilities and readiness.
Tips for Age-appropriate Chores for Children
While some individuals may have doubts about the feasibility of these chore lists if you desire your child to not only perform these duties but also take pleasure in contributing to the household, consider following these helpful suggestions:
- Avoid pressuring the child into performing these practical life activities; instead, consider doing them together or stepping in to assist when needed.
- Have age-appropriate cleaning tools, such as brooms, mops, and utensils, to enhance their chances of success in teaching a child at home.
- Take your time and demonstrate each steps to your child, ensuring they understand how to perform them correctly.
- Adopt a slow pace and limit distractions while teaching, as it makes it easier for your child to imitate your movements.
- Having a young companion help around the house and attempting the chores alongside you can make the household exercises more enjoyable.
- Don’t make it harder for you or for the child. Do not strive for perfection; it’s okay if a spill isn’t completely wiped up or if there’s some water at the bottom of a potted plant.
- Gradually introduce new skills by starting with one step at a time and gradually building upon them. This is an important step in practicing Montessori at home.
- Remember to have fun with the process; if it starts feeling like hard work, let your child take a break and return to it in a couple of weeks.
To involve your children in practical life exercises, it’s crucial to identify ways in which they can contribute and create an environment that accommodates their participation.
Consider purchasing a set of small tools specifically designed for their size, ensuring they have their own items for the situation at hand.
Encourage your child to choose an apron that they like, and consider investing in a step stool or a toddler learning tower to provide them with the necessary height and accessibility.
Just be reminded that the chores should be appropriate for your children and those sets them up for their daily life. These skills needed in adulthood only ever consist of simple steps but takes time to practice and master.
Witness the joy and enthusiasm your child experiences when they realize they are capable of helping to take care of the house too.
How many chores should a child have? The number of chores a child should have depends on their age, ability, and interests. However, a good rule of thumb is to start with one or two chores that the child can do independently and then gradually add more chores as they get older and more capable.
What age is appropriate for chores? The age at which children can start participating in chores can vary depending on their individual development and capabilities. They can start as early as their toddler years.
How to deal with tantrums when a child does not want to do chores? Dealing with tantrums when a child resists doing chores can be challenging. Clearly explain to your child why chores are important and how they contribute to the functioning of the household. Set clear expectations and be consistent in enforcing them.