Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chores for Children

Since I am a full-time homemaker, I do a majority of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, but Lee and I do think it is good to teach children responsibility and how being a part of a family is about helping each other out. So, we make Luke do chores. Lee and I have talked about chores and allowance a lot and have come up with one conclusion for our family, our kids should help out because they are a part of the family, not just for financial gain. As they get older and understand the concept of money more and can do more (ie mow the grass, wash the car, babysit their younger siblings), we will evaluate giving them an allowance then. But in general, we are going to stick to the "You are a part of this family and that means we all help out."

Luke's chores have changed over the years and will continue to change as he gets older, but I thought that I would share what his chores are right now. He is 5 years old.

Luke's Chores:

1) Make bed each morning - We started teaching him to make his bed and have encouraged him for every attempt. I know some of us tend to be perfectionists and figure if we do it, it will look better. Trust me, if you let them do it enough, it will get better and better. My goal isn't perfection, but progression. As Luke has gotten better, he gets more and more proud of himself.

2) Remove sheets, pillowcase, comforter, and blankets and bring to laundry room once a week and bring them back to your room when mommy is done laundering them (he doesn't put them back on because he hasn't quite learned the motor skills to do the fitted sheet)

3) Bring down hamper and sort into the bins when mommy asks you to - He has a lightweight hamper with handles that he collects his laundry in. A couple times a week I have him bring it to the sorted bins and have him sort them (socks and undies in the "whites" bin, khaki pants in the "khakis" bin, church shirts in the "nice shirts" bin, and the rest in the "Luke" bin). This helps me a lot because I go to one place to get the laundry.

4) Help with laundry - Sometimes I will have him help me with laundry. In addition to collecting his sheets and sorting his clothes into bins, I will give him an empty basket and have him collect a pile of clothes and bring them to the laundry room. Yes, I could do this all by myself, but I think it's good that he pitches in sometimes. He enjoys putting the clothes in the washer and dryer anyways.

5) Clean up toys - I refuse to clean up toys. We taught him very early on (as in 6-9 months old - we would pick up the toys in his hands and put them in the basket) how to do that. My theory is, "If you make the mess, you clean it up." We clean up toys before we leave the house, before nap, and before bed.

6) Set the table - I pull the plates, napkins, and silverware out and he takes it to the table and sets it out. He will also put salt, pepper, butter, and other condiments on the table.

7) Clear the table - He has to at least take his own dishes over, but a lot of the time he will help Lee clear the table while I wash the dishes.

8) Help mommy - Little things come up and when I ask him to do them he is expected to do it cheerfully.

I don't think our children's lives should be boring or excessively chore laden, but I do think they should learn to help out. I think this is a good start.

Please share what chores your children do (include ages) as well as your method of encouraging them to do it. I love hearing other ideas.


  1. Love it! There is an awesome book on this topic that I love, "The Parenting Breakthrough" by Merrilee Boyack. You would love it.

  2. Thanks for the book rec. I love to read books on parenting.

  3. This is great! I love hearing about other parents teaching their children responsibility and manners. It is so inspiring.

    Our toddler is 2 1/2. He puts our dog's kongs away after the dog eats, brushes his teeth, puts away his placemat, clean up toys before bed and that's about it. Baby steps!

  4. Lisa, that is really great for a 2 1/2 year old. I think it is awesome to hear other parents doing that as well. I have a great book called Boundaries with Kids and it talks about the top 10 things we need to teach our kids and #1 is responsibility. I think of it as, "Yes he may just be cleaning up a few toys, but eventually that mindset will be him being responsible for his job, wife, family..." Looking at the bigger picture is exciting.

  5. Kendall is 3:

    - Set the table - we count together how many of everything we need and hand things to her one at a time for her to put on the table. She also wipes down the table after I've wiped it off first.

    - Help cook dinner - stirring, adding water to a cold pot, etc.

    - Put clothes in hamper when she takes them off

    - Clean up toys - lately emphasizing not just putting things away, but putting them into their correct bins.

    - Dusts with a swiffer duster.

  6. That's great Jennifer. You are such a good mommy. :)