Here are our ideas for what we think our kids can do at certain ages for the ages of 5-8 range (as old as my children get right now). To see the years 1-4, see Our Family Plan. I will add this info to that post, as well. These lists are adding to those lists, so if you don’t see something you think a five year old should be doing, it might be on those lists. Also, I don’t think this is an all encompassing list that universally will work for every child, every culture, and every family. This is just to give you some ideas.
A note on this age range. This is the age range most children in the USA start a team sport. Even if your child does not aspire to be an athlete some day, playing a team sport can teach great things. You don’t have to start in this age range, but it is something to consider.
Another thing commonly done in this age range is the start of a musical instrument. My children start piano at age five. That is younger than most do it. It is something else to consider.
If these things are in your long-term goals and in your value system, watch for your child to be ready to take on these responsibilities and activities.
The things listed here are things I want them to be able to do during that year sometime. So it isn’t that a five year old is able to do all of these things as soon as they turn five, but that I make sure during the fifth year, these things are mastered. We start teaching at the birthday and I want them to be able to do them by age six.
I got many of the ideas on these lists from The Parenting Breakthrough: Real-Life Plan to Teach Kids to Work, Save Money, and Be Truly Independent by Merrilee Boyack
FIVE YEARS OLD
This is a year to really focus on teaching your child to function independent of you. Your child needs to have responsibility for herself, her jobs, and her things. Keep that in mind this year.
- Straighten a room alone when told to
- Empty garbage cans (our kids have all actually started this as 3 year olds)
- Clear table after meals (our kids also started this as a 3 year old, but at five, this can be done more independently)
- Make lunch for self
- Be responsible for pet (with your reminders!)
- My son has been able to shower independently by this age. Girls can do everything but hair (a girl might be able to do her hair with short hair–long hair is too much I think).
- Water plants
- Memorize phone number
- Memorize address
- Make sure they know your full name
- Start putting away laundry that can be reached
SIX YEARS OLD
Your six year old should be able to be quite independent.
- Load dishwasher
- Continue to unload more things from dishwasher as he grows
- Warm up canned food
- Clean sinks
- Learn to run microwave
- Learn to make and answer phone calls (and yes, many kids need to actually be taught phone etiquette)
- Floss teeth
SEVEN YEARS OLD
This year is not a huge leap–the child simply continues to be able to add on personal responsibility and take control of tasks himself.
- Wash dishes by hand
- Pull weeds (effectively…)
- Do own hair (again, Brayden could at 7; Kaitlyn is 6 now and I will still need to help with many things. But as a 6 year old, she is learning to comb her hair own her own so that it is smooth and she has super long hair).
- Put all of own laundry away.
- Wrap gifts
EIGHT YEARS OLD
This is a big year; this is a year we will be turning over even more personal responsibility and also adding some personal responsibility spiritually.
- Clean toilets
- Clip own fingernails
- Wake up on own (with alarm if not a natural riser)
- Clean mirrors
- Start personal scripture study
- Use stove top