When are children old enough to help around the kitchen?

Author: Claire

Child helping mother make cookies as a professional chef

The question of kids doing their chores is a controversial one. Every parent will have a different view on the right age for the youngsters to set the table or take the rubbish out. So, when can we expect our little ones to start doing helpful things around the kitchen?

Of course, every child develops at a different pace and you know your child best. But as a general guideline, there are chores a youngster can do at different levels of maturity, and once a child reaches a certain skill or age level, s/he is capable of doing the chores for this age group and the ones below.

Interestingly, parents often underestimate how much their kids are actually capable of doing. Here’s a quick guide to help you get your children involved with the kitchen chores, teaching them independence and making sure everyone in the house feels they’re making a valuable contribution.

Start by setting the expectation and follow through every day, so that they will know exactly what they are supposed to do without even having to ask – well, within reason.

Child helping with the dishwasher

Age 2-3

  • Close cupboard doors and drawers
  • Help set the table
  • Turn on the dishwasher

Age 3-5

  • Help clear dishes from table
  • Help unload dishwasher
  • Help put away groceries
  • Sort clean cutlery
  • Fill water glasses

Little girl washing dishes

Aged 5-9

  • Set and clear the table
  • Load and empty dishwasher
  • Wipe worktops, tables etc
  • Handwash larger dishes
  • Help make breakfast
  • Simple food prep tasks, eg. rinsing vegetables
  • Pour drinks for meals
  • Bring in groceries from the car
  • Take rubbish/recycling out
  • Sweep, vacuum, wash floors

Age 10-13

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