Giving your kids chores to do each day is a great way to get them involved in the daily housework.
But one of the most common questions parents have when it comes to chores is how long should chores take?
I wish I could give you a specific answer to this common question, but the reality is that the time your kids spend doing chores varies depending on their age and abilities.
Whether your kids are in preschool or high school, the amount of time they spend doing chores will vary. And while I can’t tell you exactly how long chores should take in your own house, I can provide you with a general idea based on your kids’ ages.
This age-by-age guide will help you determine how long your kids should spend doing their chores each day.
Chore Time for Preschoolers
5 minutes at a time
While preschoolers probably love doing their chores, kids this age are notorious for their small attention spans.
That means the time your preschooler spends doing chores should be short.
But that doesn’t mean your preschooler isn’t able to tackle a variety of chores each day. It just means that these chores should be done in small increments, instead of all at once.
Giving your preschooler a variety of five-minute tasks throughout the afternoon is much more effective than asking your three or four-year-old to do several five-minute tasks in one sitting.
When planning your preschooler’s chores, think about small tasks they can tackle in increments to help them stay focused on one chore at a time.
How Long Should Chores Take for Elementary Schoolers?
15 to 20 minutes
When your kids reach elementary school age, they can start taking on more chores in one sitting, in addition to more complex chores that take longer to complete.
At this age, your child’s attention span has lengthened, allowing them to focus more intently on tasks for a longer period of time. And that means they’ll be able to focus on more tasks for an extended period of time.
Giving your elementary schooler a set 15 to 20-minute period to complete their to-do list is a reasonable length of time for chores at this age.
Chore Times for Middle Schoolers
20 to 30 minutes
Since your middle schooler is probably used to focusing on tasks for an extended period of time during school hours, they can transfer that concentration to more chores at home, too.
But providing kids this age with tasks that take longer than 30 minutes to complete probably isn’t a good idea.
With the extra homework and more involved extracurricular activities that come along with middle school, kids this age may not have the extra time or energy to spend doing additional chores around the house.
Time Spent on Chores in High School
30 to 45 minutes
While your high schooler probably has the ability to focus on tasks for longer than 30 minutes, getting your high schooler to actually spend that amount if time doing chores may be difficult.
When thinking about the amount of time your highschooler will spend doing chores each day, it’s a good idea to consider their other school-related activities, part time jobs, and other responsibilities outside the home.
If your high schooler only has a few minutes each day to do chores around the house during the week, think about adding longer tasks, like mowing the lawn or washing the car, to their weekend to-do list.
That way, your teen will have the time to complete their chores without worrying about cutting into their homework time during the week.
How to Reduce Chore Time
If you feel like your kids are spending too much time doing their chores, it may be a good idea to consider how you can reduce their chore time.
There are a variety of ways to help your kids reduce the amount of time they’re spending doing chores, including these simple ideas:
- Watch them do their chores. One of the best places to start when trying to determine why your kids are spending too much time doing chores is to watch your kids as they complete their tasks. This will give you an idea of the amount of time they spend on each task, as well as how the complete each chore on their list. After watching your kids do their chores, you can think about the different ways you can help them reduce the amount of time they’re spending on their daily tasks.
- Help them get better at their chores. If your kids are stumbling through their chores each day, it can take them much longer to complete each task. To ensure your kids aren’t spending too much time doing their chores, help them learn how to master each task on their to-do list. As they’re working, give them helpful pointers or show them shortcuts that may make the task a little simpler for them to complete. Sometimes, a small change in the way they do something can make a big difference in the time it takes to complete a chore.
- Give them rewards. Do your kids drag out their chores because they don’t like doing them? If you find your kids are slow to finish their chores simply because they don’t want to do them, it may be time to give them a little incentive. But instead of offering rewards for completed tasks, consider giving your kids incentives for completing the chores in a timely matter. Whether they get an extra sticker on their chore chart for completing their chores on time or a few minutes of extra screen time for finishing their task in record time, a bonus reward is a great way to get your kids to complete their chores without dragging their feet.
- Give them consequences. Sometimes, kids don’t respond well to extra rewards when it comes to chores. If you have found that your kids don’t care if they get an extra sticker for completing their chores quickly, it may be time for a different approach. Giving your kids consequences for incomplete chores or for taking too much time to complete their chores is another effective way of ensuring your kid’s chores get finished in a timely manner.
- Make chores a daily priority. Another way to help your kids speed up their chore work is to make chores a priority each day. If your kids are expected to finish their chores before watching television, playing video games, or talking to their friends, they may be more likely to finish them quickly.
- Reduce the number of chores on their list. If you have tried all of the above methods and it still seems like your kids are spending too much time doing chores, it’s probably time to take a look at their list of tasks. They may just have too many items on their to-do list! Taking the time to re-evaluate the number of chores your kids are expected to do is another simple way to reduce the amount of time they spend on housework each day.