Chore List By Age

Chore List By Age

Chore List by Age

Need helo implementing chores? Check out our chore list by age.


Requiring your child to complete chores helps teach valuable skills for independence, builds self-confidence, and takes some of the work off your plate. The below chore list by age provides examples of what kinds of tasks your child could be ready for at a particular age. As your child grows, you can pull chores from their current age category as well as from any younger age category.

Please note, as long as you are requiring some chores what chores you choose does not really matter. The important part about chores is that you are teaching your child responsibility, accountability and self-efficacy.

If your child is neurodivergent or has a disorder, please read our tips on chores for neurodivergent children to go along with this chore list by age.

After you chose a task from our chore list by age, take the time to teach your child exactly how you want them to perform the task

Avoid Parenting Pitfalls


One of the most common mistakes when implementing chores with your child is the belief that your child will know what to do automatically.

The reality is you should expect to have to break down each chore into simple steps and teach your child exactly how you want them to perform it. Even for older kids and teens. It may be common sense to you, but your child has never learned it before so be patient and understanding as they learn a new skill. Make sure to stick close to them the first handful of times and show them rather than tell them what you expect. Once they can perform the task properly two or three times, you should be able to leave them to complete the task on their own, depending on their age and ability.

When your child completes their chore, don’t forget to check their work and keep them accountable. If they have made a mistake, don’t get mad. Simply show them how to correct the mistake and ask them to re-do that part. If your child has a breakdown at this point, let them take a break first and tell them they can come back to the task after a short period of time or before a different activity begins.

If a chore repeatedly results in mistakes or a breakdown, it is either time to re-teach the task in smaller steps or to choose a different chore and work your way up to the harder chore.

The important thing to remember is to remain consistent with having your child complete their chores and meet an acceptable level of standards.


Chore Lists by Age

Chore list for toddlers (ages 2 – 3)


  • Put away toys
  • Dust leather couch/furniture
  • Wipe down table
  • Pair socks
  • Water plants
  • Move chairs for vacuuming

Chore list for preschoolers (ages 4 – 5)


  • Help carry grocery bags
  • Set table
  • Help unpack grocery bags
  • Make bed independently

Chore list for young children (ages 6 – 7)


  • Take out trash
  • Load/Unload dishwasher
  • Fold laundry
  • Help prepare a meal
  • Pack own lunch
  • Help take care of a pet

Chore list for school age children (ages 8 – 9)


  • Put away groceries
  • Hand wash dishes
  • Vacuum
  • Rake leaves
  • Shovel snow
  • Prepare a family meal
  • Take care of a pet (give food, water, clean area and walk)

Chore list for older children (ages 10 – 11)


  • Clean bathroom
  • Mow lawn
  • Do laundry
  • Clean windows
  • Sew for minor needs/fixes

Chore list for tweens and teens (ages 12 +)


  • Help with more extensive house cleaning and organization projects
  • Watch younger children independently (for 2-4 hours)
  • Help run small errands

Quick Parenting Tips for Busy Parents

Quick Parenting Tips for Busy Parents

Quick Parenting Tips for Busy Parents

Even busy parents can succeed in making parenting changes. Follow these simple parenting tips for busy parents.

Let’s face it, as a parent you are busy. The overwhelm of parenting on top of all the other work in your life can be exhausting. And it can leave you feeling like you are failing as a parent and that something needs to change. And that’s the hard part, because how can you take on parenting changes when you are already feeling stretched thin? The truth is there is no perfect time to take on parenting changes so if you need some parenting relief here are 3 parenting tips for busy parents.


3 Parenting Tips For Busy Parents

1. Begin with a hug

When your child is struggling, begin by offering a hug. It may seem counterintuitive to offer a hug when your child is behaving poorly or being a jerk to someone in the family. But what they really need in that moment is connection and co-regulation so they can calm down. And that is what a hug can do for them. Once they are calm they will be more receptive to you correcting their behavior.

2. Make time for play

Whether you have a toddler, preschooler, school age child or teenager, kids need play. Because play is a destressor, healing agent and way to learn. And play with a parent can be a way to help them connect with you. This connection helps form the basis for trust when it comes to influencing your child’s behaviors. And for having them share information with you, especially when they are older. So take a little time each day, even 5 minutes is enough, to read a book with them, play something, have them teach you about something they are interested in or joke around.

3. Improve your listening

One of the complaints I hear most from parents is that their kid doesn’t listen to them. But listening is a two-way street. When parents become better listeners, their children become better listeners too. So the next time your child is complaining, not complying, not listening, etc. repeat back to them what they are saying. It doesn’t mean you are going to give in or give up, you are just showing them you hear what they are saying. And when your child feels heard, they can better accept what you are saying back to them.


Let’s talk about consistency


While consistency definitely helps with parenting changes, you don’t have to be perfect. Don’t let your struggle with consistency or lack of time be a barrier to trying these parenting tips. Try just one of the tips above once a day for a week to see how it makes you feel and how your child responds.

The most important part about parenting changes is not about perfection. It’s connection. Which is why these 3 tips are all based in creating connection.

So give yourself a little credit and a little slack as you try something new. Because you can begin to change your child’s behavior! And it doesn’t need to feel impossible.


And if you are at your breaking point…


As a Certified Parent Coach who has worked with many, many families I’m here to tell you, you can do this! Just like you are able to find the time to deal with a crisis when it arises in your house or at work, you can find the time and effort needed for parenting changes. But it doesn’t need to feel impossible and you don’t have to go it alone.

At Happy Parenting & Families parent coaching, I help make parenting easier. I listen to your parenting struggles and help you know what parenting solutions would work best for you and your family. So if you are feeling overwhelmed and alone in your parenting, reach out. I offer free 30 minute consultations so you can release your burden and begin getting parenting solutions that work! 

Supporting School Success: Parenting Tips for Anxious Learners

Supporting School Success: Parenting Tips for Anxious Learners

Supporting School Success:

Parenting Tips for Anxious Learners

Parent Coach Jen Kiss shares 5 parenting tips to help children thrive in school

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Authority Magazine for an interview on The 5 Things Parents Can Do To Help Children Thrive In School. Here are parenting tips from that interview of how you can help your child succeed in school.


5 Parenting tips to help your child succeed in school


1. Teach your child how to cope with anxiety


Child anxiety can lead to a lot of barriers to succeeding in school. From school refusal to struggling in school with certain tasks, anxiety can take its toll on everyone in the family.


So it is important for parents to help their child learn how to manage any anxiety. Let your child know that fear and anxiety is a common struggle for kids and adults alike. But when anxiety begins to interfere with their life and daily functioning, solutions and supports need to be created.  And because anxiety is not something you can compeltely get rid of, it is important to help your child build skills and learn how to manage their anxiety.


So what can parents do?


I  am a big fan of giving anxiety a persona and treating it like a 3rd person. When you teach your child that anxiety is like a really concerned friend that is there to try to protect them, you can also teach them that they can choose to not listen to that friend. With practice your child can learn to tell their ‘anxious friend’ that things are not as bad as they seem or that they don’t need to worry, they can handle this challenge.


Parents can also teach their children how to do deep breathing as a way to calm their anxiety. Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve that runs along the spine and naturally calms down the body. When the body is calm, it is primed to learn, which will lead to performing better in school.

It’s importnat to note however that practicing deep breathing should be done when your child is calm. Because it can be a difficult skill to access in the moment until there has been lots of practice. It is also important to teach your child how to breath into their diaphram by putting their hands on their abdomin to ensure they are not accidentally accelerating their anxiety through chest breathing.


In both of the above examples, parents are not responsible for taking away their child’s anxiety. They help their child learn how to live through the uncomfortableness of anxiety. When a child can learn to tolerate their anxiety, they develop resiliency and confidence. Their brains can also learn better because their prefrontal cortex, where logic, working memory and organizational skills are, is able to be fully engaged when the body is no longer anxious.


2. Reduce stress through mindfulness


Mindfulness is a great way to relieve stress in the body. And while you may be skeptical or think it is trendy, the science behind mindfulness is robust.


Mindfulness helps keep you in the present moment. This helps teach children that emotions and challenges come and go. This is particularly helpful because children lack the ability to put things into perspective based on their limited life experience. By staying in the present moment the body is able to relax, which once again primes it for learning.


There are also several other benefits to teaching mindfulness to your child. Mindfulness helps you expand your ability to focus, pay attention and control your emotions. All of which are critical in order to function well at school. Because of all these benefits, mindfulness is a particularly good tool if your child has ADHD or other challenges with executive functioning.


One of my favorite mindfulness techniques for kids is to have them jump or run around for 20-30 seconds. Then have your child sit or lay down with their hand over their heart. Invite them to close their eyes and feel what their heart feels like. Have them notice how long it takes for their heart to calm down and what it feels like in their body once it does. Finally, have your child extend out their senses to notice how the rest of their body feels in that moment. The longer a child can hold on to noticing what they are feeling in their body the calmer they will become.


3. Set up routines and rituals


Whether your child is going to school, participating in distance learning or some kind of hybrid system, routines and rituals are important. Routines and rituals help children feel safe because they are things that they can predict. It also helps them succeed in school because they can better plan for what comes next.


When a child feels safe, they are better able to learn. When a child is feeling unsafe or uneasy, their stress response is activated and they get ready to fight, flight or freeze. When a child is in this mode, their executive functioning is no longer online. This makes learning difficult and behaviors more challenging.


Routines and rituals do not need to be big or complicated, but they should be consistent because once again the goal is to create predictability.


One of my favorite parenting tips is utilizing music with your routine. Have your children make up a playlist of songs they enjoy. Then use that playlist as a way to help complete tasks. Music can be played to help them get ready and out the door in the morning or complete their homework after school.


Music is very predictable. So for children that have trouble keeping track of time or staying on task it can be an easy way to help them get things done.


One last thing about creating routines. Be careful not to make your routines too rigid. There should always be room to have some flexibility if needed. And it is also important to schedule downtime into your child’s daily routine. Downtime is a chance for your child to relax and regroup. Something that is critical for us all, but especially for children. Downtime is particularly important for children who have neurodiversity or learning disabilities because most mask their differences during the school day.


Masking uses a lot of energy. This is in addition to the extra energy they are already spending to make up for their underdeveloped executive functioning. This can quickly lead to burnout. If you don’t schedule enough downtime, your child will usually let you know through meltdowns and tantrums.


4. Make good nutrition a priority


If you want to help your child succeed in school, nutrition is a good place to start. The stomach is connected to the brain and it’s functioning. So if you want to help your child perform better at school, make sure they are eating well.


Always try for a breakfast that is rich in protein to sustain energy throughout the morning. It is also a good goal to eat the rainbow as much as you can and to work in vegetables any way your child will let you. Try to eat less processed foods since those tend to create inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the gut often leads to inflammation in the brain, which can affect learning and behavior.


Good nutrition can be even more critical for children with neurodiversity and learning disabilities. Because these children are more sensitive to the link between gut health and brain function. Additionally, a good breakfast is especially important for children taking ADHD medicines that suppress their appetite. This often leads to children eating only a little lunch and ending their school day ravenous. This of course impacts their ability to focus and learn as well as making them more prone to behavior challenges.


5. Set goals and celebrate successes


Goals can get children excited about things while developing the skills of planning, organization, delayed gratification, and problem solving. In addition, goals can really help combat depression and create motivation if your child is struggling with either of these challenges.


Make your goals small so that your child is more likely to achieve them. This will build up their confidence. From there, you can work on building up their stamina for longer or more difficult goals. For children with neurodiversity and learning disabilities, make sure you are adding in some smaller goals on the way to their big goal so that they stay motivated. Having too big of a goal or one that is too far off may be too challenging. This is due to their struggles with time perception and planning, so adjust the goal to set them up for success.


And of course make sure you celebrate successes. School is tougher for some kids. If your child is struggling in school, you need to take the time to let them know that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. So celebrate when they achieve their goals, but also celebrate when they do something that was hard for them.


Bringing your child’s attention to the good in their lives will help them with their mental health. It can also help them recognize their own resiliency and problem solving. Two skills that are definitely needed for success.


Final thoughts on how to help your child succeed in school


When your child is struggling in school, it can make you feel helpless as a parent. Especially if your child is refusing to go to school. If you need additional support, reach out to me to schedule a free 30 minute consultation. I have extensive experience helping parents with school refusal and other struggles in school. Together we can talk about how to get you and your child back on the path to success.


Talking to Teens: How to Have Open Conversations about Alcohol & Drug Use

Talking to Teens: How to Have Open Conversations about Alcohol & Drug Use

Talking to Teens: How to Have Open Conversations about Alcohol & Drug Use


From marijuana to alcohol to prescription drugs – Here’s how to help keep your child safe


Teen alcohol and drug use happens. These 7 tips will help you keep them safe.


Helping your child navigate alcohol and drug use begins with having conversations. Pick a calm time to talk with them. And know that sometimes it is easiest to have your conversation in the car or side by side, when your teen does not need to look directly at you.


While setting up the conversation as stated above is great, regardless of how you get into the conversation, remember to let your teen talk first. It will help them feel heard and it will make them more likely to listen to you later. But here is the most important tip… make sure you do not argue or try to logic with them during their turn. Instead, parrot back to them their ideas and opinions. It does not mean you agree with them, but it helps them to feel heard. And that will ultimately increase your teen’s likelihood that they will listen to you.


Once it is your turn to talk, here are 7 tips to help increase your influence in your teen’s behavior.


1. Talk with them about how you feel about them using alcohol, marijuana and other drugs

This is a good time to share personal stories. Stories can show why you feel the way you feel or the problems you are hoping they will avoid.

2. Be specific about why you do not want them to use alcohol, marijuana and other drugs

Explain your concerns and fears and open the conversation to have them give their take on it as well. Make sure you are giving them enough space to ask questions and give their opinions. They will be much more likely to listen to your opinion and accept it if you do the same for them.

3. Talk about different substances

You don’t have to be an expert. But it is a good idea to have an idea of some of the major substances such as alcohol, marijuana, vapes, fentanyl, and prescription drugs. Check out Project Know to find out more about the most common substances teenagers use. You can also check out my article on vaping to get more tips on how to start a conversation with your child or teen.

4. Don’t forget to talk about over-the-counter medications and “natural” remedies

Teenagers rarely think of prescription drugs or legal substances as harmful. This can lead to unwanted consequences and addiction. Make sure you talk about the dangers of sharing prescribed drugs. It is also important to talk about how “natural” and/or legal does not automatically mean safe. One such example is kratom.

5. Make sure you have regular conversations about substance use throughout the year

Talk before major events where alcohol, marijuana, vapes and other substances are likely to be available. Regular chats help lessen any awkwardness and keeps communication open. It also reminds your teenager of your values on a regular basis.

6. Talk about what to do in various circumstances

Preparing your teenager for the pressures they will face is important. Talk about the signs of alcohol poisoning and the dangers of drinking and driving. It is also important to talk about the risk of mixing substances. And how they may not always know everything they are ingesting when they choose to take drugs or alcohol. Talking about fentanyl and “date rape drugs” regardless of your child’s gender is incredibly important for them to understand the dangers they are opening themselves up to when interacting in an environment that has alcohol and drugs present.

You should also discuss their vulnerability to others overall when consuming substances and how to navigate peer pressure. This video on teen brains can help them understand it’s not about a lack of trust in them personally, but peer pressure impacts the teenage brain more so they need to be prepared.

Give your teenager different scenarios and a chance to problem solve it with you as their guide. The more confidence you can give them ahead of time, the more likely they will make better decisions.

7. Let your teenager know that there will be no punishment for calling for help if they use substances

Talk about how to get help and when to get help. Everyone makes a mistake at some point so it is important to talk about back-up plans.

Chores For Autistic or ADHD Children

Chores For Autistic or ADHD Children

Chores for Autistic or ADHD Children

Chores for special needs kids require adjustments be made to meet your child where they are


As a parent of an autistic child or a child with ADHD, you want your child to grow into independence and be able to one day thrive on their own. However depending on your child’s particular struggles and challenges, you may wonder what your child can realistically take on. Or you may simply question when to push them to do more or when to let things go.

The truth is raising an autistic child or a child with ADHD requires a complete overhaul of your expectations as to what they can and cannot do. But with the right structure and support, your child can work towards more independence through chores.

Parenting tips on implementing chores for autistic or ADHD children


Be realistic with what your child can do


A child’s numerical age is rarely, if ever, aligned with their developmental age when they have autism or ADHD. Understanding your child’s diagnosis and what their strengths and challenges are can help to guide you in setting what chores your child can take on.


Pay attention to sensory triggers


If your child is sensitive to a particular sense, make sure you take that into account when deciding what chore to give them. Are they able to handle the sound, vibration and sometimes smell of a vacuum? If not, don’t make that a chore for them. Perhaps sweeping would be a better fit. If your child has tactile sensitivities then finding the right kind of glove they can wear when doing their chores is necessary before you can take on giving them chores.


Be realistic with what your end goal is


Some neurodivergent children will be able to live independently with proper supports in place, some will be able to live in a group home setting, and some will require more dependent care. As your child grows and you have more experience learning what their challenges mean for them, adjust your end goal accordingly. View this as a fluid process and a slower launching process. Expecting too much of your neurodivergent child too soon can cause them to shut down and become overwhelmed, which can lead to anxiety or depression.


Have a candid discussion with your teenager


For teenagers who will eventually be living in a group home or independently, have a candid conversation about what daily chores they struggle with. If they truly cannot pick up after themselves because their neurodivergence is making it too big of an obstacle, talk to them about their options. They can either agree to implementing and working through chore routines in small, manageable steps or they will need to always budget for a cleaning service to take care of this aspect of their life. If they choose the cleaning crew option, don’t fight it, don’t spend your time and energy on it, just move on to something that they are willing to work on.


Use visuals

For all chores, use a visual chart. For example, take a before picture of dishes in the sink, a picture of them doing the dishes, and then a picture after the dishes are done. Display these pictures instead of a chore list.


Use Choice Boards


Allowing your child to choose the chore they will complete from 2-3 pictures can increase success.


Break Down Chores


Break down all chores into smaller tasks to be completed. If you can, continue to provide visuals for the smaller steps until they are learned. For example, if the chore is to load the dishwasher, have a picture of glasses to indicate all the glasses should be loaded first, then plates and so on.


Provide Rewards to Reinforce Habits


The use of rewards can be extremely effective for neurodivergent children. It does not need to be something huge, perhaps a favorite snack, special art supplies only available when chores are completed, a game, screen time, etc. Make sure to show a picture of the reward next to the chore so your child knows what they are working for.


Final thoughts

Life with a autisic child or child with ADHD can feel overwhelming, frustrating and full of worry. Please remember you are not alone. If you have any questions about parenting your neurodivergent child or if you would just like support from someone who truly understands the challenges and struggles you are facing on a daily basis, please connect for a free 30 minute chat.

If you need ideas about what kind of chores to give your child, check out our Chore List by Age.

Holiday Harmony: Stress-Free Parenting Tips for Busy Parents

Holiday Harmony: Stress-Free Parenting Tips for Busy Parents

Holiday Harmony: Stress-Free Parenting Tips for Busy Parents

Holiday parenting tips


Holidays and school breaks can create a lot of parental stress. And kids are more likely to act out due to less structure. This leads parents to have less patience and more frustration. Add in travel, long visits with relatives and friends, sugary foods, interrupted sleep schedules and you’ve got a recipe for tough times.


So here are 5 holiday parenting tips to help you navigate


1. Readjust Your Expectations


Come to terms that things may not work out exactly how you would like them to. Take a moment to recognize a lot of things are outside of your control. It is not a reflection on you as a parent or as a person. And then come up with the next best thing you know you or your kids can do. This will help take some of the pressure off. And make everyone feel more successful when things do work out.


2. Take A Break


As a parent, if you are stressed, the whole family feels stressed. So as hard as it can be and as guilty as you might feel, it is important to practice self-care during holidays and school breaks.


And I know what you are thinking, you don’t have time for that. But, think of it this way. Parents set the tone for their families. So if you want to have a smoother holiday or break, you need to set the tone of being calm and relaxed. And the only way to do that is to actually become calm and relaxed.


Which brings us back to self-care needing to be a priority. Schedule it in as though it is an important meeting, because it is. Better yet, use the time before the holiday or school break as practice. Start asking for more help and taking more time for yourself. Help yourself get into the habit. Tanks can’t run on empty so make sure you are going into your holiday or school break with a full tank.


3. Practice Self-Compassion


It’s okay to feel sad, overwhelmed and upset. These are emotions that a lot of people feel everyday. Even during holidays when you are ‘supposed’ to feel happy. It is also okay to feel the grief of not having things go the way you want or for traditions being changed.


What can help you through these tough emotions is practicing self-compassion.


In short, self-compassion is treating yourself like you would a close friend. Realizing that you are dealing with something tough. Recognizing that others may also be struggling like you. And that this is just one moment in time.


And because it is a tough time, you deserve to meet yourself with kindness and understanding. As you would a friend.


Need more of a push? Studies have shown that self-compassion can help increase oxytocin. Oxytocin is the love hormone that can counteract increased blood pressure and cortisol, the stress hormone. And that helps lower your stress and decreases your anxiety. Plus self-compassion has the added benefit of helping you stay in the present moment. So you have a higher chance of actually enjoying the holiday with your children and family.


4. Move Your Body


Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress in your body and reset your stress response. Whether you like to run, lift weights, go for a walk, or something else, just get your body moving.


The reason exercise works so well is because it helps to complete the body’s stress cycle.


It’s easy to get stuck in a stress cycle when you are running from one thing to the next. But when you exercise and bring your heart rate up and then stop exercising and your heart rate comes back to normal, it is a natural signal to your body to stop its stress response.


When you can get your body to stop signaling a stress response it will reduce the levels of cortisol in your system. Less cortisol allows you to think more clearly, function better and sleep better. It also gives you more control over your emotional regulation, making it easier to keep your cool. Which is a win for you and your kids.


5. Practice Mindfulness


Mindfulness is the exercise of staying in the present moment. And staying in the present moment can help you cut down on a lot on stress. It can also help you reset so you can appreciate the things that are going well.


Now if you aren’t into mindfulness or feel like it is too difficult, stick with me for a moment. Because anyone can learn to practice mindfulness, even kids.


Mindfulness is about being in the moment, noticing your thoughts/feelings and then letting them go. So it is okay if you think about things as you try to be mindful. Simply acknowledge your thought or emotion and then try to let that thought or emotion go.


For beginners and for kids, I like to help teach mindfulness through exercises that engage the senses. A very popular mindfulness exercise for this is noticing 5 things you hear, 4 things you see/notice, 3 things you feel, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste.


Another way to begin to practice mindfulness  is doing 10-20 jumping jacks. Then rest your hand on your heart and focus on how your heart rate comes back to normal.

Learning to practice mindfulness, like self-compassion takes time. But the benefits are worth it, so give it a try.


Final Thoughts


Holidays and school breaks don’t have to be a time of stress. Try out the above  holiday parenting tips to see what they can do for you and your family. And if you feel like you need more parenting support to navigate, reach out to me for a free 30 minute consultation and together we will work to create better balance in your parenting life.