Guide for cleaning with kids by room and age

At our house, we have a system for required chores and paid chores that has been working pretty well, and I’m ready to add to it.

Like any system, our chore system needs tweaking every now and then. Here are my current “issues” to work through regarding chores:

Sami older (9 1/2) and ready to learn new tasks.
Alex is older (6) and ready to do more daily chores. Right now, I have him picking up dog poop once a week and helping clean the school room once a week, in addition to daily toy clean-up and laundry putting away. He’s ready for more.
Lougan (age 3 1/2) has been getting off easy, and I want to train him on chores now while he’s interested in “helping!”

One ongoing issue that I run into with chores is that it’s so much faster and easier to do them myself!

I struggle with this quite a bit. At the end of a hectic homeschool day, it’s so much easier to send them outside while I straighten up the house. However, training my kids to be skilled around the house is totally worth the time investment. My kids are getting to the age where I am starting to see the fruits of my labors. Aidan (age 9 1/2) can clean bathrooms, wash dishes, load the dishwasher, take the trash can out to the street, vacuum, fold laundry, and put groceries away. And he can do all of this independently! We don’t ask him to do all of those things every week, but he is capable of completing any of those tasks when I need them done.

I decided that it would be helpful to create a head list of cleaning tasks by room and by age to help with me focus in on what skills I want to work on with each child, because in the “moment” of a busy day, it’s hard to come up with a plan! I have a friend who has a good system going with her four boys (ages 11, 9, 7, and 4) and I asked her what jobs her boys do. She was VERY helpful in contributing to this list! Her older two boys do their own laundry, and her third boy (age 7) does all of his own folding and putting away. When I talked to her on the phone, she had been sick in bed for a week, and the boys had all continued to do their chores and had kept the house clean – even the kitchen!

It is understandable that big families can create big messes quickly, but when everyone has a chore to perform, the mess can be cleaned  efficiently!

Ages are not very exact guidelines. It is obvous that there should be modifications for ability and maturity. An 8 year old kid should be able to also do all the chores on the 5-6 and 2-4 lists, and so on.

The intention of this list is that mom is working along with the kids so that teaching is in progress. The kids will be able to do these tasks completely alone with the time.

A tip for cleaning bedrooms for ages 2-4:

Organize disarranged items into heaps. For instance, you could have them clean toys, if they are not stored in the bedroom, also  laundry, trash and books. For the younger ones, make them just do  one type of chore, like laundry for example. See under  the furniture and the beds for things that shoudn’t be there.

A tip for  cleaning dusty windowsills and baseboards for ages 5-6:

Bring laundry to the laundry room or your hamper, put  books and toys  where they should be. I usually have my 5-6-year-old do this because the 3 year old gets way off track if I send him around the house.

How to make beds, clean dusty furniture, change sheets and vacuum  the play room for ages 7+:

I divide  the play room chores on ages, because a kid at any agy can help with the arrangement of the toys. We store the majority of our toys in plastic tubs, and this seems have a good effect for “boy toys.” We have tubs for toy animals,  army guys, Nerf guns, blocks, hot wheels, etc., and a large tub that we keep under the bed and we put in it most of our puzzles. When we bought our house last year, the sellers gave us let us to choose to purchasea large storage cabinet that was already fastened to the wall. This has been very useful for the storage of tubs of toys.

We  pick-up toys every day in the play room, usually right before we have our dinner.

How to clean the living room for ages 2-4:

Arrange books, shoes and toys on their places. Clean the dust from end tables, window sills and baseboards.
Check  the space under your furniture for  any books, toys,socks and other stuff that needs arrangement.

For ages 5-6:

Put away the things found under the furniture and clean the dust from it. Mom may need to move some items first, which depends on what kinds of things are out. Attempt  toward cleaning the entire surface and also in the corners of shelve or other furniture.
Remove the dust from blinds with a  microfiber or feather duster
Also fold thrown blankets and straighten the pillows of the sofa.

Bathroom cleaning tips for ages 7+:

My 9 year old kid cleans the bathroom by himself with chemical cleaners such as Scrubbing Bubbles and Chlorox toilet cleaner. We have also cleaning gloves, and he washes his hands when he completes his chore. Other option is to mix  half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle. In this way you can make by yourself a completely safe cleaner suitable for a child of any age. Another super simple option is to use cleaning wipes for cleaning the sink and toilet, which depends on how you feel about this method.

For  boy bathrooms that have an unpleasant odour, we like to make a homemade floor cleaner. Nothing will totally get rid of the smell of the bathroom, but this cleaner is definitely helful. If I don’t have time to make  this cleaner, I will usually sprinkle som,e baking soda on the floor and have the boys spray a mix of 50/50 vinegar and water on the floor and  use sponges to scrub it. This seems to help to fresh up the results of bad aim. Moreover, after a floor scrubbing routine, the boys have more motivation to be a little more errorless. The cleaning of the bathtub is still a job for grown-ups in our house.

List of tasks for ages 2-4:

Take bathroom rugs outside and shake them out

Empty trash Clean baseboards

Carry dirty towels to the laundry room

Ages 5-6:

Take laundry hamper to lthe aundry room and empty it from the clothes

Sweep the floor

Ages 7+:

Clean the sink

Spray down the mirror and  clean it with a cloth

Clean the toilet

Kitchen cleaning tips for ages 2-4:

Put napkins at each place for meals

Move chairs so that an older person can sweep or mop

Carry items to the pantry or fridge after meals (butter, ketchup, bag of chips, etc.)

Empty silverware out of the dishwasher and sort into the drawer

Take items to the recycling bin

Shake crumbs off of place mats into the trash after meals, or shake them outside

Ages 5-6:

Clear the table

Unload dishwasher

Spray down and wipe the front the dishwasher and the oven

Set the table (silverware)

Clean the table

Take out the trash

Sweep (this particulasr task won’t be completed very well at first, more so than other chores, but it’s worthy to practice)

Ages 7+:

Fix drinks for meals

Dry and arrange the dishes

Load the dishwasher

Wipe down the countertops, and also move small appliances and clean under them

Wash the dishes

Tips for laundry cleaning for ages 2-4:

Match socks

Bring laundry to the laundry room

Help your mom or an older sibling to sort the clothes by colors

Help mom or an older sibling to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer

Ages 5-6:

Learn how to fold clothes. We’ve found that it’s more easy to begin with  folding dish towels or hand towels, as they are small and have even shape. Then we can move on to pants and child size shirts. We also make the boys fold one sock around the other so that to make a pair. Gresham (age 6) has just mastered the folding of socks. One of the hardest things to fold is bathroom towels, but 6 year olds can do it with enough practice.
Carry the laundry to the dryer

Ages 7+:

Learn how to operate the dryer and the washer
Learn how to sort separately enough so that he or she can start loading without ruining anything.

How we should apply this:

Rather than making our boys do different chores from each other everyday, which is what we had been doing until now, we are trying something that resembles more of a “working together” schedule.

The kitchen chores have to be done after each meal, as much as possible.

Then, we will usually have a daily chore time of approximately about 45 minutes in the late afternoon.

Monday: Careful  clean-up of the play room and carrying the  items from the van that were left there during the weekend. Alex will clean up dog poop in the yard.

Tuesday: Sami has to vacuum downstairs, Mom and the other boys perform the rest of the living room tasks while he vacuumiing.

Wednesday: The boys don’t have any chores because they have gymnastics classes.

Thursday: Sami has the task to  vacuum upstairs and help in the changing of the sheets. Mom and the other boys have to complete the rest of the bedroom tasks for the three bedrooms.

Friday: We are doing the school room clean-up and van clean-up, which includes also vacuuming.


Saturday: We clean the bathrooms and catch up on any chores that we missed in the week. I have realized that our week not always goes absolutelly according to the schedule, and  it helps to just say that Saturday is the  time for a catch up.

We won’t stop to have a list of extra tasks that can be performed for money. This list includes sweeping the front porch, mopping the kitchen, bathing the dog, vacuuming the stair, cleaning out the garage, bathing the dog.

Last but not least, this is actually a process. Please don’t think that everything in my house is spotless and  my children are  doing always a perfect job on all their specific tasks. I can guarantee that this is not the case. The main purpose of this is to increase the children’s  responsibility, and this of course takes time.

Guide for cleaning with kids by room and age
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