Every family takes a different attitude to chores. Some parents don’t require children to do chores, others pay for chores and some consider it part of learning life skills. In this post we’ll consider some age appropriate chores for an 8 year old and you’ll also find a handy free 8 year old chore chart you can download.
Why Should 8 Year Olds do Chores?
Many parents, myself included, feel that everyone who lives in a house should contribute to taking care of the house and that means doing their share of chores. While some families start chores from a much younger age, 8 years old is quite a common age to require a child to start doing chores.
At 8, children are usually still keen to please their parents and view household jobs as “grown up”, so they are often happy to be allowed to help. This in turn boosts their self esteem as we are trusting them to undertake a task on our behalf.
Doing chores is also how children learn a range of life skills. We all want to teach our children everything they’ll need to know to live independently in the future and that includes boring stuff like cleaning and laundry.
If you’re interested in teaching your 8 year old life skills, check out this list of 50 life skills to teach your kids.
There is also evidence that doing chores has a positive impact on children’s outcomes. Research published in The Wall Street Journal suggest that children who do chores from an early age are more successful, academically, emotionally and professionally.
Should 8 Year Olds be Rewarded for Chores?
In my opinion, generally, they should not be. Rewarding chores can seem the logical thing to do, we get paid to go to work and we want to teach our children the link between work and money.
If we reward children for doing chores, we can damage their intrinsic motivation. This means that they will always expect a reward before undertaking any task. This attitude can be detrimental to their future success.
My children have a core list of chores for which they are responsible and they aren’t rewarded for completing them. They receive pocket money but it isn’t linked to the completion of chores. I do however sometimes pay them for completing additional chores that would normally be done by me or their Dad, for example, cleaning the car or washing the windows.
Getting an 8 Year Old to do Chores
In many cases, 8 year olds will be happy to be involved in household jobs because they feel grown up. If they are less keen, it’s important to explain that they live in the house and so should contribute to the running of it.
It’s best to avoid bribery and punishments, but to use natural consequences for not doing chores. This is easiest to do if you start with chores related to them taking responsibly for themselves this way, they are effected if the chore isn’t completed. You can also point out that if you have to do the chore instead of them, you will have less time to do the fun things with them they want to do. For example, you won’t have time to take them swimming if you need to mop the floors.
Types of Chores for an 8 Year Old
We’ve spilt the chores here into three groups. The first are things that are about taking responsibly for themselves. If your 8 year old isn’t doing any chores yet, then these are the ones to start with. Next there are tasks that relate to the household in general that are age appropriate for an 8 year old. Finally we have included some extra chores for an 8 year old to earn money. These are chores that aren’t required of them on a regular basis that they might want to do to earn some extra spending money.
Personal Chores for an 8 Year Old
These chores are about leaning to take care of themselves.
Making Packed Lunches
If your 8 year has packed lunches for school then asking them to make their own is perfectly reasonable. While you might have some ground rules about what they can pack, the freedom to choose their own lunches is often very motivating. My children have been making their own packed lunches since they were around 6, so this is well within the capabilities of most 8 year olds.
Tidying Their Bedrooms
Keeping their own bedrooms tidy is really the minimum that should be required of a child however it’s often easier said than done. Allowing a child to personalise their own space can help to motivate them to keep it tidy, as can pointing out that things get damaged if they are left laying around.
You can also ask them to clean their own room by dusting and hoovering it.
Their are a number of laundry related tasks that 8 year olds can take responsibility for:
- Making sure their dirty clothes are put in the laundry basket
- Sorting their laundry ready for washing
- Hanging washing up to dry
- Pairing their clean socks
- Folding clean clothes
- Putting folded laundry away
Which of these tasks you ask them to take on will depend on your children and how you manage your laundry. My children need to put their dirty washing in the basket and put it away again when it is clean. I also refuse to turn things like socks and pants the right way out, it they put it in the wash inside out, they get it back inside out!
My children are expected to make their beds every morning, although we like to leave the duvets turned down to air the bed. They are also capable of stripping the beds and so if I change the sheets when they are at home I will often ask them to help.
Other Personal Responsibility Chores
- Packing and unpacking school bag
- Taking plates to the kitchen
- Hanging up wet towels
- Getting ready for activities
Household Chores for an 8 Year Old
These chores are about contributing to the running of the house as a whole.
Chores at Mealtimes
There are a few different ways that 8 year olds can contribute to mealtimes:
- Making their own and/or younger siblings breakfasts
- Clearing the table after a meal
- Laying the table for meals
- Emptying the dishwasher
- Washing up dishes after a simple meal
- Helping to prepare a meal ie Chopping vegetables, mixing ingredients etc
Most 8 year olds could also load the dishwasher however we all know how particular we are about that so adults would often rather do it themselves.
Cleaning Chores for an 8 Year Old
Cleaning is probably the chore that most of us like the least and 8 year olds are no different. Here’s some ways they could contribute:
- Dusting and polishing is the easiest cleaning for them to take on, you could just make them responsible for one room and increase it with age
- Cleaning the kitchen work surfaces
- Vacuuming the floors, again this could start with just one room
- Sweeping the floors
- Mopping the floors (not all 8 year olds will be ready for this, you might end up with a flood!)
I haven’t included cleaning bathrooms on this list because of the chemicals involved I prefer to keep this for older kids.
Rubbish and Recycling
Children are often passionate about the environment so taking responsibly for sorting rubbish and recycling can be a great chore for them.
Looking After Pets
If you have caged pets then 8 year olds can clean out cages and give them food and water. They can also feed dogs and cats, fill up water bowls and pick up poo.
Garden Chores for 8 Year Olds
Chores 8 year olds can do in the garden include:
- Raking Leaves
- Sweeping patios
- Tidying up
Chores for an 8 Year Old to Earn Money
If you’d like to give your 8 year the opportunity to earn some extra money then below are some chores that can be suitable or that.
- Cleaning the car
- Sweeping up leaves
- Cleaning the windows
- Taking care of pets that aren’t usually their responsibility
- Cleaning garden furniture
- Dusting or vacuuming rooms they aren’t usually responsible for
- Cleaning cupboard fronts
How Many Chores Should an 8 Year Old do?
How many chores you require of your 8 year old will depend on how much help you need with chores, how many other activities they have taking up their time and your general attitude to chores.
A child who attends a large number of sports and after school activities will be able to take on less chores than a child who has free time after school every night. If both parents are working children may need to contribute more to chores than if one parent has time available to get housework done.
I would suggest that at a minimum an 8 year old aught to take responsibility for their lunches, their bedroom and some aspects of their laundry. I would then add one or two household chores that they responsible for.
8 Year Old Chore Chart
If you’d like a chart to help your 8 year keep track of chores you can download the chore chart below for free, just click on the image to download it.
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