Raising Independent & Capable Children

Raising your child to be independent and capable is one of the most important tasks for any parent. Teaching your child to take on responsibility in their lives from a young age will help them develop into confident, successful adults. One of the best ways to do this is by involving them in household chores and teaching them basic life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

This not only prepares them for adult life, but it helps them to realise that they have an important role in contributing to the family unit. In addition to standard household duties, parents can give their children other independence-building tasks like pet care, car maintenance, budgeting, and yard work. Allowing your child to contribute in these areas gives them a sense of ownership over their accomplishments and helps foster a sense of pride in what they’re capable of doing.

Some Benefits of Delegating Your Child With Household Chores

1. Encourages Self-Reliance

Assigning age-appropriate chores to children teaches them the importance of taking responsibility for their lives and encourages self-reliance. By performing tasks independently, your child will learn how to problem solve, build confidence, and increase their overall capabilities.

2. Promotes Independence

Delegating children with chores allows them to develop a sense of independence by completing tasks that have a direct impact on their home environment. This helps them learn how to take initiative and do things without relying on their parents too much.

3. Develops Time Management Skills

Having children participate in household responsibilities can help them understand the value of time management as they learn how to balance various tasks and prioritise them accordingly. This skill set will serve them well in school, work, and daily life.

4. Boosts Self-Esteem

Doing chores around the home can give children a sense of accomplishment, which can boost their self-esteem. This is especially true if they are praised for a job well done, or rewarded in some way for completing tasks successfully.

5. Teaches Cooperation & Collaboration

Involving children in household chores teaches them cooperation and collaboration by providing opportunities for them to work together with parents or siblings to complete projects or tasks. This will prepare your child for future interactions with others in life where teamwork is essential.

Ages 2-3

Children between the ages of two and three are at an important stage of development and begin to develop their mental capabilities very fast. During this stage of development, children are capable of understanding basic language, counting, and recognising objects and pictures. They can also follow simple instructions and use words to express their needs.

Appropriate chores for 2-3 year olds:

• Assist in making their beds

• Pick up their toys (with your supervision)

• Take their dirty clothes to the laundry

• Fill your pet's water/food bowls (with supervision)

• Assist in cleaning up accidental spills and mess

• Match up socks when folding laundry

• Water plants (with supervision)

• Place napkins on dinner table

• Help clean windows (with supervision)

Ages 4-7

Four to seven-year-olds are at an important stage of development. At this age, children are able to comprehend complex ideas and think more deeply about their actions. They understand cause and effect, which can help them see the purpose behind doing chores. They are more focused and capable of following instructions, so this is the time to allow them to start performing tasks on their own.

Appropriate chores for 4-7 year olds:

• Make their bed every morning

• Brush their teeth

• Comb their hair

• Choose their outfit for the day and get dressed

• Assist in cleaning up accidental spills and mess

• Write "Thank You" notes (with supervision)

• Fold laundry (with supervision)

• Set the table (with supervision)

• Feed the family pet (with supervision)

• Put clean laundry away

• Unpack the dishwasher (with supervision)

• Empty indoor trash cans

• Sweep the floors

• Help put away the groceries

• Answer the phone (with supervision)

Ages 8-12

At the age of eight to twelve, children are better able to plan ahead, think critically, and evaluate their own performance. By delegating more complex chores to your child, parents can help foster problem-solving skills and resilience to more difficult tasks.

Appropriate chores for 8-12 year olds:

• Take care of personal hygiene

• Be responsible for a pet's food and water

• Help with meal preparation (with supervision)

• Dust and vacuum

• Set the table

• Learn how to mow the lawn (with supervision)

• Learn to use the washer and dryer

• Put away clean laundry

• Take out the garbage

Ages 13-15

At the age of 13 to 15 years old, children display more advanced cognitive abilities. They are able to think on a deeper level and analyse complex topics with greater precision. They also have improved comprehension of cause and effect, which allows them to better plan ahead and anticipate consequences. In addition, they are capable of understanding abstract concepts and can evaluate the risks associated with given tasks. It is important to allow them to become more independent and take on responsibilities that are appropriate for their age. With this independence, they can learn valuable problem-solving skills as well as increase confidence in themselves.

Appropriate chores for 13-15 year olds:

• Responsible for all personal chores for ages prior

• Make their own school lunch and pack their schoolbag

• Prepare a family meal - from making a grocery list to serving the meal

• Help with simple gardening chores (e.g. sweeping paths, blowing leaves, etc.)

• Wash, hang out, and fold the laundry

• Put the bins on the street and bring them back in

• Walk the dog

• Change lightbulbs

Ages 16-18

Allowing 16 to 18-year-olds to be more independent is an important part of helping them develop into responsible adults. By giving them the opportunity to take on responsibilities around the home or in their communities, they can gain a greater appreciation for independence and become more self-reliant.It is important to allow them to become more independent and take on responsibilities that are appropriate for their age. With this independence, they can learn valuable problem-solving skills as well as increase confidence in themselves.

Appropriate chores for 16-18 year olds:

• Responsible for all personal chores for ages prior

• Earn their own spending money

• Keep track of their earnings, expenses, and savings

• Prepare family meals

• Deep cleaning of household items (e.g. cleaning the fridge and freezer, or washing windows)

• Take care of their own car (e.g. oil changes, petrol, tyre pressure, etc.)

• Help with moderate gardening chores (mowing the lawn, pulling out weeds, etc.)

As parents, it is important to delegate age-appropriate chores to our children. Not only will this help them become more independent and responsible adults, but also teach them the importance of teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving skills and resilience in life. If you need any further advice or assistance on how best to manage your child’s daily tasks, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for help. At 8 Senses Therapy, we are here to provide support, guidance, and strategies that work best for your child and your family.

Mental Health Services

Please note, 8 Senses Therapy is not a 24/7 support service. If you or your child are in crisis, call one of the mental health helplines below:


13 11 14


Kids Helpline

1800 55 1800


Beyond Blue

1300 22 4636


If you feel that your or your child are at immediate risk of harm, please call triple zero (000).

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