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Yes, Your 8-Year-Old Should Know How to Do Laundry

You probably remember the many chores you had growing up, but is your child helping out around the house as much as you did back then? If the answer is no, you’re not alone—you’re part of a large group of parents that had chores as a kid, but doesn’t give their kids any. According to a recent poll conducted by Braun Research and commissioned by Whirlpool, 82 percent of the American parents surveyed said they regularly did chores as kids, but only 28 percent give their own children chores now.

According to child development expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa, many moms and dads today believe that their kids are too busy with homework and extracurriculars to be burdened with chores. But, as reported on Today, Dr. Gilboa thinks regular chores are the best way to raise kids to be “problem solvers of good character.” That said, she providedToday with a handy guide of what kids should be doing around the house at what age.

Here’s a quick glance at some takeaways from Dr. Gilboa’s guide:

From 18 months to 3 years old, Dr. Gilboa says children want to be “big kids” and this phase of budding independence is a perfect time to start having them help with household duties. Start them off small—for example, try letting him or her hold the dustpan as you sweep, Dr. Gilboa suggests.

From 4 to 5 years old, let your child perform small tasks on his own, like picking up toys.

From 6 to 8 years old, weekly chores should already be established, says Dr. Gilboa, and daily tasks are even better. As far as what chores to assign your child, an 8-year-old is perfectly capable of doing the laundry, according to Dr. Gilbert, whose own son is an expert at clothes-cleaning duties. He even made a how-to video about it:

9-11 years old: At this age, “take advantage of your child’s ability to tackle multi-step projects,” said Gilboa. “These will take a while to learn, but are great for sharpening their planning and problem-solving skills as well as — eventually — taking something off your plate.”

12-13 year olds: Your best bet with tweens is to connect a chore to any activity that is important to them, said Gilboa. “If your child loves to eat, dinner or breakfast prep is a great chore,” she said. “If they need a lot of rides to activities, then cleaning out the car regularly is a good task.”

14-15 year olds: Pick a household chore you really don’t like to do and delegate it to your teenagers, said Gilboa. Kids this age used to hold full-time jobs, she pointed out, and “they can certainly handle making dinner for the whole family once a week or tackling larger projects around the house.”

16-18 year olds: Once your children are driving age and looking at graduating from high school, it’s time to make sure they have all the life skills they will need to handle daily life once they leave your home, said Gilboa. “Cooking, cleaning, car maintenance, even getting them involved in bill-paying … make sure they’re ready to adult!” she said. (And don’t forget the laundry!)

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