Housework and your kids

Krista - posted on 09/26/2011 ( 37 moms have responded )




I'm just wondering what everybody's philosophies are when it comes to housework and your kids. Do you make your kids do housework? Or do you feel that it's not their responsibility? If you do make them do housework, do you tie it to their allowance? Or to privileges?

How much do you expect your kids to do, and how should you go about getting them to do it?


Starfish - posted on 09/30/2011




Absolutely. Personal responsibility is stressed upon in my house. Cleaning up around the house, doing dishes, doing laundry, etc. If they are physically capable, they are expected to comply.

Failure to comply means failure to receive ANY privileges. TV, phone, internet, even most toys will be taken up. I don't ask for much to be done from each one, but what I do ask for, I expect.

We are a family. We are a LARGE family. It's up to everyone to make everything run efficiently and maximize the time we spend having fun. If someone chooses not to do that, they miss out on the fun.

[deleted account]

My son is 14 (15 in 15 days). He is required to help me with housework or he gets stuff taken away and grounded. I need his help. I can't do it by myself because I'm simply often too ill to do so. I regard it as helping the family. When he's grown and moves out, I'll be up the creek because I simply can't do it all alone and I can't afford professional help.

I however was not required to do housework by my mother. I wish she had, I truly do wish she had made me when I was growing up. I would have appreciated how hard she worked, I would have been far better prepared for my first marriage and living away from home the first time.

My son also very much enjoys cooking so he's in charge of dinner once a week. I figure, no knowledge is wasted and this way I know he'll have an idea on what to make beyond ramen noodles when he's in college. Plus he'll make any girl happy by being able to cook for her.

ETA: Allowance has little to do with his chores. I often can't give him an allowance because I don't have any extra money to do so.


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Renee - posted on 11/14/2013




Absolutely my kids help! I see it as part of my job to teach them to be good workers. Plus, we all contribute in our family.

Michelle - posted on 11/09/2013




You live in this house, you will help keep it clean. They're going to need to know how to keep their own places clean, they might as well learn when they're young. At eleven I was cleaning two bathrooms, vaccuming, and helping with the dishes. I didn't like it, but I didn't die, and I know how to keep my own house clean now.

Sylvia - posted on 11/08/2013




One of my friends required her daughter to do certain chores including vacuuming before she could go out on the weekends. Sat. morning was cleaning time at their house. This works well when kids don't have their license and want to go to the movies or bowling with friends.
We had an 8 room house and 1 child. My husband and I watched tv in the living room and she and her friends would watch in the family room. She had her own bathroom. We linked chores to those rooms that she was in most of the time.
when she was old enough and had guinea pigs and mini rex rabbits, it was her job to replace the litter in the cage. She was to bring down her bathroom and bedroom wastebaskets to be emptied on trash day. She was to pick up the family room floor and sweep it weekly. When she became a tween she started wearing 2-4 outfits a day as many girls do. She started washing her own clothes then. We started with her washing underwear. That way if she didn't sort well and ended up getting white things pink, it didn't show. I put stickers next to the setting on the washer and dryer that she should use.
One of my coworkers's family had a policy that everyone when they reached the age of 12 would do their own laundry. So my coworker did his laundry, his wife did hers and the youngest child's and the 2 boys did their own.
Find what works for you. I had a stay at home mom who did almost everything for me and I had a very messy first apartment as a result. Some parents to avoid assigning certain chores by gender have a chore jar and everyone picks something to do on Saturday. It's important for boys to learn laundry and vacuuming and for girls to take out trash and rake leaves. Some day they may live alone or with a spouse that travels often and they'll need to know how to do it all.

Sally - posted on 11/05/2013




Of course my children do housework. It doesn't do itself. How can they ever learn to take care of themselves, if I never teach them how. The ability to wash dishes, do laundry, or cook dinner doesn't magically appear just because you move out of your parent's house.
My kids have had age appropriate chores since they were big enough to walk. They put away their own clothes and clean up their own messes, the 4 year old is starting to take over the 9 year old's trash collection duties, the 9 year old is starting to learn to cook. She'd like to learn laundry, but she isn't tall enough to reach the bottom of the washer yet. :)
Most of their chores are done simply because things need doing and as a family we need to take care of our home together. An allowance (at our house) is not a paycheck; it is a means for us to help them learn good money management. Extra chores above and beyond the day to day running of the home (such as raking leaves and shoveling snow) do come with a small financial benefit because I'd rather pay someone else to do it anyway and I can give them less than the kids who run door to door begging for those jobs because I'm out helping them.

Ashley - posted on 11/02/2013




I have three daughters, 8, 6, and 4. All three are required to have their rooms picked up before bedtime, beds made in teh morning, they clear their plates and if something is laying out thats theirs its either picked up or if I have too at the end of the night they lose it for 2 weeks.

my daughters do not get allowence for doing these chores, as this is their responsibility, but we do give our girls allowence for doing extra chores. I have a list and they are able to take the tab and move it to their name when that chore is done. At the end of the day I see what they each did and I keep tabs on itand reset the tabs, then at the end of the week they get paid for all the extra help they gave me and earn nothing up to 15.00

Tracey - posted on 10/02/2011




Absolutely. As others have stated, I didn't make the mess! And I'm not the one needing to learn life skills. I took care of things before I had kids for 10 years, and after they all leave, I'll take care of them again. But now that there are 3 of them making messes, they need to clean them up.

In fact I've read about the problem of college kids whose parents stressed academics and getting into college so much that they never learned to do laundry and know nothing about what to eat and how to obtain it. They can shop, all right, for clothes and electronics and books, but not for food because they have no idea what ingredients to buy to make a dish.

My own good friend's daughter is in this boat. My friend wanted her daughter to be "happy" and know she was loved, so she did absolutely everything for her. In fact it was only after she'd lived in a dorm for a year that I ever saw her make a sandwich for herself or get herself her own drink! She's in her jr. year and has never had a job and not really done much at home. I worry about her ability to cope. I believe my friend did this because she herself was the oldest daughter of a larger family and the kids had to do a lot because the mom was either in school or working during their childhoods.

My own kids start picking up their clothes and toys as toddlers; help clean as preschoolers; begin to learn to cook around age 6-7; put away laundry about the same age and do dishes about the same age; begin to do laundry at around age 9; take out the trash and mow the lawn and help week at around age 10-11. My older daughter could make a good, complete meal at the age of around 8 (she has a culinary talent).

Merry - posted on 09/30/2011




Ok Sarah McKnight! You said you have a large family so I'm obsessed with big families :) how many kids? Names? :):):)

Jenn - posted on 09/30/2011




My kids are 5, 2 and 2 - they are all expected to pick up their own toys or other messes that they make, and they help me put laundry in the washer/dryer, and they help to vacuum. As they get older, they will be given more responsibilities. I will not tie it to an allowance or privileges, but if they don't get their work done in time to be somewhere fun (let's say they had a party to go to or something) they would have to finish their work first.

[deleted account]

My kids do quite a bit of housework. They are expected to pick up their own toys. Cut their own fruit and vegetables. Help prepare their own snacks. Sweep, vacuum and mop the floors. I even modified a Swiffer so they can Swiffer the hardwood floors. They clean windows, the table, etc. The only thing I don't let them do is clean the toilets. They are 2 now and have been helping out since about 18 months.

Ixchel - posted on 09/30/2011




Hi Krista, yes I make my kids do chores they help put away dishes, they clean their room, help put away laundry. They always carry in shooping bags from the car and help to put away groceries. The oldest will get cereal for the youngest if i am busy etc. We don't give an allowance to our kids but we buy them what they need or want which is not usually much. My kids enjoy the out doors family and small things. I strongly beleive in teaching kids to be self sufficient and them knowing how to do laundry the dishes clean organize the kitchen and cook is a part of that. I don't think you do your kids any just by handing them everything but by teaching them that there is value to working and keeping your home neat and tidy it makes your feel comfortable. I think that because of my illness and surgeries my kids have learned to value what is really important family and the time you spend with them. not games and toys etc. I do not think you should treat your kids as your personal house keepers that is wrong but you should teach them how to do things.

Becky - posted on 09/27/2011




I don't make all the mess in this house - in fact, I make very little of it - so I don't know why I would be expected to clean it all up! Our boys are still pretty young, so we don't have regular chores for them yet. But they do have to pick up their toys and they help us with other things around the house as they're asked to. If they dump a box of cereal or something on the floor, they help me clean it up. The exception is if it's something dangerous for them to clean - like broken glass - or if it's something that would just make a bigger mess if they cleaned it, like spices. Or if it involves chemicals, like cleaning pen off the carpet. I don't like them handling those at this age. I probably need to have higher expectations of them than I do, actually. Cole, at 3, is perfectly capable of taking his own dishes to the sink and helping unload the dishwasher. I should make that a regular expectation.

We don't give the boys an allowance yet because I don't really think they're old enough to grasp the concept. Their allowance is emptying the change from my wallet and putting it into their piggy banks, lol. But as they get older, probably around 5, we will give them an allowance and it will be tied in some ways to chores. We won't pay them specifically for doing expected chores (putting away toys, tidying your room, helping set or clear the table), but they will lose their allowance if they refuse to do so. And most likely, we would pay for extra tasks that they weren't normally expected to do, like raking up the leaves in the yard or something.

[deleted account]

Ideally we have a blitz every evening and put away all the clothes and shoes and books and junk lying around on the floor before they get dessert. We often forget though, and find ourtselves picking it up later when they've gone to bed and getting pissed off with the levels of mess.

I think it is really important to get kids participating in house work, cooking cleaning etc otherwise they'll turn into unbearable adults whose relationships won't last!

Elfrieda - posted on 09/26/2011




Well, my toddler helps set the table for breakfast each morning, but that's pretty much it for his regular "chores". I guess I should have him put his toys away, too. He "helps" with clearing the dishwasher, he has his own little broom for sweeping, and he really likes standing on a chair and splashing in the water when I wash the dishes, but as you know, a 21-month-old's "help" doesn't actually speed the process along.

When he's older he'll be responsible for more.

I don't think I want to tie chores to allowance, just because I don't want him ever to say, "Well, what do I get?" when I ask him to do something. My cousin used to ask this. He was a brat. I want it to be "You're part of the family, so you do things to help the family".

And then allowance just comes weekly or monthly? Or he gets a certain amount to pay for his own clothes? I don't know, but I've got some time to think about it.

Charlie - posted on 09/26/2011




I expect Cooper ( almost 3 ) to clean up after himself with toys and clothes he leaves on the floor ..of course I wash his dishes and stuff like that but generally he likes cleaning and if the mess is a large one I am happy to help him out .....He also enjoys vaccuuming and has washed the dishes before when he has asked to do so but I always have to wash up again afterwards.

My youngest is 1 year old and already copies his brother and puts toys in the box when it is pack away time.

They do get pocket money for helping around the house which they bank and they get to split and keep any coins they find lying around ( Cooper saved $180 in coins in 6 months last year ! ) my oldest has saved a lot in his bank account and recently paid for his own Tonka truck he has been nagging for , he took the money out at the bank ( with me of course ) paid for the truck and put the change back in his piggy bank!

And guess what he DID draw on the walls this morning and he offered to wipe it off himself !

His room isnt something I will be giving him money for , that is his domain and his responsibility , he already loves helping me make the bed because he says it looks "beautiful" but general helping around the house does get pocket money.

Of course there are times where he just doesnt want to clean up after himself like put his lego away but in our house unless he puts the lego away he cannot get another activity out which sometimes he is fine with , he will run off and play outside but eventually when he does want to come in and get say playdough out he needs to put away the lego first.

Rosie - posted on 09/26/2011




i do make my kids to housework, and it is tied to an allowance. they get 15 cents per chore, and 30 cents if they do it without being asked to.
if they don't do it, and i have to do it for them, i make them pay me 30 cents.

i expect my older 2 kids to do chores. grant is 11, he does the dishes, gives the dog water, brings in garbage cans on garbage day, takes trash out of bathrooms once a week, picks up livingroom and diningroom everynight. cleans bedroom once a week.
vinnie is almost 7 and he empties the dishwasher, takes the clothes from upstairs downstairs to the laundryroom, cleans livingroom and diningroom every night, and his room once a week.

Carolee - posted on 09/26/2011




My son is 4, and he puts his own dishes in the sink when he's done eating and puts his toys away. There's no "allowance" or "privilages" tied to it. It's just his responsibility to take care of his stuff (age-appropriate, of course). As he gets older, he will do more to help out. My daughter, who is 1, tries to help put the toys away, too. She sometimes helps, sometimes makes it worse.

JL - posted on 09/26/2011




We have age appropriate chores (housework). There are things they are expected to do like pick up after themselves but there are other things they do to earn an allowance.

My 4 year old doesn't do much besides clean up after himself as best as he can. He throws away his trash, helps me put away his clothes and make up his bed. He puts his dirty dishes in the sink carefully with my help...don't want broken dishes. He gets a dollar for helping mommy out.

Now my 8 year old does much more and she earns a dollar for each day she does chores so if she does chores every day during the week she will get 7 dollars. She dusts, helps bathe the dogs, helps wash the car, waters the garden, makes up her bed, vacuum's her room, and so on. She actually will ask to do more things so she can make sure she earns her dollar every day..LOL. She is saving up right now to buy herself a new Nintendo DS. She wants the 3D extra large DS and some games. So far she has saved up 200 dollars.

September - posted on 09/26/2011




Our son is only 3 so no he does not do housework. He does clean up after himself though (toys and such). Our son does like to help me when I clean, it's really cute, and he helped fold socks last night with his Daddy. When he gets older I would like him to help with dishes, laundry and the cleaning of his room in which we will provide allowance. As of right now Mommy and Daddy do all of the cleaning. Yes my husband cleans :) Even maybe more than I do!

[deleted account]

Gabby will be 2 in December. She picks up her toys, puts her dishes on the counter, puts her dirty clothes in the hamper and helps wipe up any spills she makes. When I'm doing laundry she likes to pull the clothes out of the dryer and put the dirty ones in the washer. I expect her to do what she wants to. However when she is older she will have set chores. Like cleaning her room or other house hold things.

Stifler's - posted on 09/26/2011




My kids are like 20 months and 4 months but they will definitely be doing housework like cleaning their own room, helping with the dishes and cooking and tidying up the living areas which they no doubt will be the ones to mess up.

[deleted account]

my son is only 2 but i already have him put his shoes in the closet when we come in and his dirty clothes in the laundry hamper. he also helps me clean up his toys at the end of the day. i think it is important that kids do chores so that they can learn how to take care of themselves and also to teach them that some things need to be done even though they aren't fun. they live in the home and, once able, should have to contribute to cleaning up the mess they help make. i would probably tie it to allowance, in that if they do extra chores, on top of what is required, then they could earn some extra money

Merry - posted on 09/26/2011




Yup they sure will! I bet I'll give them money for helping out, it's good to know how to handle money so I don't want them not knowing how to save etc. Eric does help around the house now and I assume with age I'll expect more out of him and if I have enough kids I shouldn't have to do any housework! Haha just kidding, but yeah they make messes and we clean it up for years, so when they're older it's only fair they help clean up too!

Jenn - posted on 09/26/2011




My girls are 5 and 7. They dont get an allowance yet but they do get a "bonus" for big jobs. They are expected to clean their room, feed the cat, put up their clothes (if it is small piles). When they do get money, we have three jars set up. Savings, Spending, Donating. I am a huge believer in donating...earnings as well as things no longer used/needed.

[deleted account]

Oh sure my son does chores! At 6 1/2, it's an expectation based on what he's capable of doing. Can he haulthe giant big trash cans? No...but he CAN dump the bathroom small trash cans into the larger ones. He can dump the recycles into the container. He can pick up his toys. He can assist me with laudry, bring in groceries, help put away groceries. Matthew also loves to use window cleaner on the patio doors and the mirrors, and he likes to vacuum. Sometimes I have to nag at him to do something, don't all mothers?! Sometimes he gets allowance, but half the time I forget!

Lady Heather - posted on 09/26/2011




I was thinking the same thing Sara - allowance for bigger jobs. They won't be getting paid to clean up their rooms! Helping with yard work would be a good one. The husband used to make his pocket money by chopping wood for the wood stove. Good way to earn money and get a nice muscle workout.

[deleted account]

I expect Eliza to pick up her toys, put her dishes in the sink, and put her clothes in the hamper. She takes it upon herself to run and get a clean rag to wipe up Jacie's spit up.

As my girls get older, they will be given more and more responsibility. I don't have it all planned out or anything. We'll just play it by ear.

At some point, I would like to incorporate some type of allowance system. There are two reasons for this:

1. I want them to associate work with payment (because when you work hard on your job as an adult, you are more likely to earn raises and promotions).
2. I want them to learn how to manage their own money.

I haven't worked out how the system will work yet. And some jobs will be done just because we are a family and we work together. I'm thinking that jobs that go above and washing the car or doing laundry for the entire family...will be the types of jobs that earns allowance.

Krista - posted on 09/26/2011




I get mine to pick up after himself, to a certain degree. He just turned two, so my expectations are low. But when he's done with his blocks, I tell him that it's time to clean up, and we'll put them back in the bucket together. And if he spills some milk, I hand him a paper towel and he wipes it up. As well, when he's done his snack, he'll take his plate and cup to the kitchen and put them on the counter. (I didn't teach him to do that...he's just mimicking.)

As he gets older, he'll be responsible for more. The big thing for me is that I don't want my kids to think that some magical fairy comes and does the cleaning and the cooking and the laundry. And I DEFINITELY do not want them thinking that this is Mom's "job".

Kate CP - posted on 09/26/2011




I think kids should do what they can to help out around the house. My five year old vacuums using a stick-vac and she does a pretty good job. She also sets the table, helps unload the dishwasher, helps with laundry, feeds the dogs, picks up her room, and watches her brother for me if I need to go to the bathroom or something. She's pretty awesome. :)

[deleted account]

Since over 90% of the mess comes from them.... you'd better believe they do some of the work. My girls actually ASKED for a chore chart recently, so that's how I got them to do it more regularly. ;)

They don't get an allowance, but I do randomly pay them for stuff.

Lady Heather - posted on 09/26/2011




At 2 years old Freja is expected to tidy her toys. She loves doing it though so I'm not sure it's much of a chore for her. "I clean up mum! I clean up!" hehe. She volunteers to help unload the dishwasher. She really wants to vacuum. And her favourite thing is taking the pet hair remover to the couch.

I guess I hope that setting an example by actually doing it myself and including her when she's able will encourage her to keep it up. No allowances yet, but we'll do that when she's older. I think it's a good way for kids to learn about money management.

Jodi - posted on 09/26/2011




My kids do housework, absolutely. It is all age appropriate. And yes, I do tie it to an *allowance*.

Personally, I find that paying an allowance eliminates them asking me for money at certain times (such as wanting to go to the movies with a friend, etc), so I have chosen to pay an allowance and teach them to manage their money accordingly.

So in order to achieve this allowance, I expect them NOT to complain about doing household chores and just get them done when they need doing (ok, I have to remind them, or sometimes ask, but they never or rarely complain, and I don't think I've had an eye roll either, LOL).

My 14 year old will hang out and bring in washing, fold it and put it away, load and unload the dishwasher and also do the handwashing if I ask (I rarely do), take out the garbage, including to the kerb to be collected, sweep and vaccuum, dust, and I've now got him learning to cook full meals (his latest was a lamb roast).

Obviously I expect less of my 6 year old. She helps though, and is quite happy to. She'd love to help more, but simply isn't capable quite yet.

I figure by the time she is capable, she probably won't be quite so willing, LOL.

Things like keeping their rooms tidy, helping change their beds, putting washing in the laundry hamper, etc, are a given.

Anyway, the allowance gives the kids the ability to choose their own rewards for their hard work.

Nikki - posted on 09/26/2011




My daughter isn't even 2 and she does housework! I expect as she gets older she will learn to help around the house and take responsibility for pitching in. When she is old enough I will use pocket money as an incentive.

At this stage, she helps me with the housework, hands me the clothes to put in the line, packs away her toys, plays in the washing up, just small general things. It's all about fun, we make it into a game and she loves to help.

Minnie - posted on 09/26/2011




My daughters clean their toys. I don't have -expectations- beyond that, they're only five and three.

I do try to include them when I am doing housework though, and they usually enjoy it. They enjoy doing the dishes and sweeping.

Just a couple of days ago Evelyn took it upon herself to take a sponge and scrub the kitchen floor and both the downstairs and upstairs bathroom on her hands and knees. Lol her idea of fun.

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