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What a Child Can Do

My son Ammon learned to dig with his dad!

Part of the magic of “Can-Do” is giving your children work that they can be successful at!  In case you are not sure what your child can do, this list might help. These are done “more or less” (not to perfection!) You have to train children first, and work with little ones until they fully understand.  Safety precautions always have to be taught.  Also, keep in mind their smaller size and muscle mass when assigning chores. A little guy simply can’t carry a big heavy water pitcher to the table without mishap, even though he is eager to do it.  Help them succeed by giving age-appropriate chores.

9 months- 2 years

  • Put their pajamas away
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Simple errands (get Mommy a diaper)
  • Put trash in the garbage can
  • Wipe up spills with a cloth
  • Plant seeds

Age 2-3

All that the former age could do, plus. . .

  • Sort laundry, toys, or utensils
  • Help make the bed
  • Pick up toys and books
  • Drag hamper to the laundry room
  • Feed pets
  • Wipe up spills
  • Dust
  • Set utensils on the table
  • Carry food to the table (bread, etc.)
  • Fold small items (washcloths, dish towels

Age 4-5

  • Set table
  • Clear table
  • Cut soft foods with a butter knife
  • Help prepare some foods (slice bananas, stir)
  • Carry groceries
  • Water garden
  • Put away food in containers
  • Use an electric mixer
  • Clean out the car
  • Pull weeds

Age 6-8

  • Sweep
  • Mop
  • Take out trash
  • Pull easy weeds
  • Rake
  • Clean room
  • Pour own drink
  • Run household appliances: dishwasher, electric mixer, washing machine, vacuum, toaster oven, blender, etc.
  • Put away laundry
  • Wash dishes
  • Rake

Age 9-12

  • Care for small children
  • Change diapers
  • Plan meals
  • Grocery shop
  • Wash the car
  • Mow the lawn
  • Prepare meals on their own
  • Fold all household laundry, including blankets and big things
  • Sew
  • Do own laundry
  • Keep their own room clean
  • Use adult yard tools and do gardening work


With some patient training, teens can learn to do everything an adult can do (although not as proficiently at first). Even drive!  And help run your business! All they really lack is experience and wisdom.  And, practice makes perfect!  Keep in mind, also, that some teens may lack the muscle mass to do the heavy work of an adult male laborer.  I like to remember that in the frontier days of our country, the qualifications for marriage were simple:  when a teenage boy could build his own cabin, he was considered able enough to take on a wife and resulting family.

Help them learn to work! That is the most useful lesson that comes from homeschooling!

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