As a parent to an 8 year old, you’ll no doubt catch yourself wondering how they grew up so fast. Gone are the days when you needed to do practically every single task for them—or at least heavily assist them. Your 8 year old has progressed in leaps and bounds in terms of their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
So what chores should you assign your oh-so-grown-up kid? It’s helpful to consider the typical developmental milestones of 8 years. According to WebMD, a typical 8 year old can dress and groom themselves, and are far more coordinated and communicative than their younger peers. Their focus and attention span should continue to improve, too.
This means it’s the perfect age to assign chores that carry more responsibility than chores for 7 year olds, let alone chores for toddlers. Keep reading to discover the ideal chores for 8 year olds.
1. Make and Pack Lunch
Ready to make school lunch prep easy-peasy? Your 8 year old can help!
We’ve already covered the chore of making lunch in our chores guides for 5 year olds and 6 year olds. So how can you capitalize on their existing culinary skills? It’s time to up the ante.
You can do this by supporting them to develop their skills further. Consider trying out more complex recipes and providing them with greater choice in what they make. You can also ask them to take more responsibility for packing their lunch. Make this a breeze for both of you by putting a lunch packing system in place.
2. Feed and Walk the Dog
Are you also a dog parent? Getting your 8 year old to help with feeding and walking your dog is an excellent idea. At this age, they’ll understand the responsibilities that come with this chore, and be able to carry it out with the level of care required.
One thing to note is that you’ll need to adapt your level of instruction and guidance based on how your child responds to this chore. Always start off by showing them how to correctly feed and walk your dog. Ask them to watch you do this a few times, and then let them take the reins, with some guidance.
Once you feel your child is ready to feed and walk your dog independently, let them know you’re always there if they have any questions or need extra support.
3. Pick Out Their School Clothes
Watching your child develop their personal sense of style is exciting. Whether they’ve decided to stick to a particular style since when they were knee-high, or are constantly experimenting with different looks, your child will have an opinion on what they want to wear
This may have caused some difficulties when they were younger (like that time they insisted they wore their pajamas to school photo day). But as a ‘big kid’, they now have a better idea of what’s appropriate to wear and when.
This makes assigning the chore of picking out their school clothes perfect for your 8 year old. Doing so will develop their autonomy, time management skills, and creativity. In fact, it will likely not feel like a chore to them at all.
Get your child into the habit of carrying this chore out by asking them to select their school clothes the night before. This will give your child enough time to pick their outfit, so they don’t feel rushed. It will also give you enough time to check that their chosen outfit is school-appropriate—and that all necessary items of clothing are included!
4. Keep Their Bedroom Clean and Tidy
If your child has grown up doing chores, keeping their room clean and tidy is probably one they’re already familiar with.
In their younger years, this chore probably focused on getting them to tidy up their toys and make their bed, with some help from you. Now that they’re 8 years old, you can expand their responsibilities by adapting and adding to their existing ones. For example, you can ask them to vacuum their bedroom and dust all surfaces in it as well. You can also get them to empty their bedroom trash can (check out Chore #7).
5. Help to Keep The Rest of the House Clean and Tidy
As a member of your household, it’s vital to teach your child that they contribute to its functioning. That’s why you may also want to assign your child the chore of helping to keep the rest of the house as clean and tidy as their room.
This is a sizable chore, so your child won’t be able to take it on all on their own. With this in mind, you can go about assigning this chore a few ways. One way is to assign each family member a room to be responsible for. What this entails is up to you; vacuuming, polishing, and tidying up are all on the table. You can either get everyone to stick to the same room or do a monthly rotation.
Another way is to assign a specific responsibility to your 8 year old. Maybe you make them responsible for ensuring all of the cabinet surfaces are spick and span? Or perhaps they can help vacuum the living room floor every fortnight? If you’re looking for a simpler chore, they could even just fluff up the couch cushions.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. It’s a good idea to involve your child in the conversation and give them a say about what they’d like to do.
If your child has a green thumb, why not assign them some gardening chores?
There are many gardening chores you can ask your child to help with. Some ideas include:
- Watering the garden
- Potting plants
- Planting seeds
- Tending to a vegetable garden
If your child is already doing these chores, you can get them to carry out gardening tasks they couldn’t in their younger years, like raking leaves and pruning. Another way to make gardening more age-appropriate for 8 year olds is to give them greater autonomy with tasks. While you can certainly still provide guidance, you won’t need to as much as before.
7. Help Take Care of Younger Siblings
Carrying out this final chore requires a huge amount of responsibility. But if your child has demonstrated maturity, or you’d like them to further develop this quality, consider asking them to help take care of their younger siblings.
The operative word here is ‘help’. 8 years old is still too young to ask them to offer anything more than a helping hand with taking care of their younger siblings. However, as you’ll know when you’re a parent, any offer of help is always welcome!
For example, your 8 year old could help their younger siblings with their homework, or assist with dinner time. They could even keep them entertained while you’re doing some life admin (ahem, like taking a shower in peace). Perhaps your 8 year old has some ideas of how they can lend a hand, so don’t forget to ask them for suggestions.
Giving chores to your 8 year old can be an incredible learning experience, as long as you assign the right types of chores for their age. This guide shines a light on a range of age-appropriate chores for 8 year olds you can try out. If you’re interested in learning more about chores, take a peek at our custom chore chart and comprehensive guide on chores for toddlers.