Preparing children for the ‘adult’ world

by Katelin Whiddon

As parents, we spend years molding our children into how we hope they will be as adults. We teach them how to walk and talk, how to write and read, how to treat others, and how to be independent.

As our children get older, the lessons we teach become harder and with more resistance. Oftentimes, children leave the home and don’t know how to do some “adult” things such as balance a checkbook, assess property or cook and clean. Part of our role as parents is to help prepare our kids for the “adult” world and how to be a successful member of society.

Chores are lessons and responsibilities we can teach our children from an early age. Having assigned chores makes the children feel like they are doing their part in the home. Showing them that every family member has chores helps them to feel a part of the team. As much as I hate scrubbing toilets, if I go to clean a toilet, it never fails that my kids WANT to do it. Showing them that chores can be fun (and not a dreadful task) helps encourage them to be engaged. Children will not do the chores as perfectly as we would like, but that is part of the learning process, so don’t discourage them by criticizing their work when they try their best.

Of course, the chores can be adjusted for your particular needs in the home and some children may be able to do more or less than others. Older children can help with these same chores for younger kids plus do more adult chores to help out and encourage responsibility. 

You can find numerous lists online regarding age appropriate chores for children, but I’ll share a few here. Get creative and let your kids help make chore lists so they get to be a part of the plan.

Ages 2-3:

  • Help make the bed and pick up their room
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Dust some areas of the house

Ages 4-5:

  • Dress themselves mostly independently
  • Bring in items from the car
  • Pick up their toys
  • Wash their hands
  • Help with folding socks and washcloths
  • Help feed pets
  • Bring in the mail and newspaper

Ages 6-7:

  • Brush their own teeth and hair
  • Choose clothes and get dressed independently
  • Vacuum their room
  • Sort laundry
  • Put laundry and dishes away
  • Empty trash cans

Ages 8-11:

  • Bathe themselves
  • Wash dishes
  • Help clean the bathroom
  • Rake leaves
  • Take the trash cans to the curb
  • Help make dinner


A Conway native, Katelin Whiddon is a nurse practitioner at the Conway wound clinic for Arkansas Heart Hospital. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A University of Central Arkansas graduate, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and works in pediatrics.