Author Topic: what chores do your kids do?  (Read 5684 times)

ABC123

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what chores do your kids do?
« on: November 08, 2015, 05:35:56 AM »
My boys are 5 and 7, and they need to be doing more to help around the house. I admit, it is often easier to just do things myself rather than taking the time to teach them. My 7 year old puts away the silverware from the dishwasher, and they both help put toys away and such, but I feel like they need more responsibility.  Both have been having attitude issues lately, and I feel like part of the problem is that we just do too much for them and they have come to expect the house to revolve around them. So, help me out here. What kind of things do you expect from your kids, and at what ages?

Gray Matter

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2015, 06:00:48 AM »
When my kids were that ages, they were lazy schmucks (my doing--I required virtually nothing of them), so I commend you for dealing with this now.  The earlier, the better!

Some ideas based on what little my kids did then and what they do now:
  • put away their own laundry--you might have to accept that it's not a "tidy" as you would like, but that's OK.
  • feeding dogs
  • setting table
  • clearing table
  • tidying their own room, making their own bed (again, might not be with military precision, but that's OK)
  • helping dust
  • helping with supper (my daughter, in particular, loves being the sous chef)
  • putting their own dishes in the dishwasher

In general, I think it's important to make a few key points and have chores that align with those:
1.  We all take care of as much of our own mess as possible.
2.  We all have shared responsibility for general household things--everyone needs to do their part.
3.  Privilege and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. 

I sat down with my kids in the past year and we jointly created and spreadsheet of responsibilities and privileges that come with each age.  For example, at a certain age my kids can have friends sleepover, at a certain age they can walk by themselves to a friend's house, at a certain age they get a pre-paid cell phone, at a certain age they get a dog.  Also at certain ages they take on additional responsibilities, such as cooking a meal a week by themselves, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, doing their own laundry.  Too often our kids get privileges and not responsibilities.  This also makes the "you didn't fulfill your responsibilities, so you haven't demonstrated you're ready for certain privileges" conversation so much easier--you've already done all the set up.

Good luck--this is really important stuff!

Baron235

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2015, 07:05:59 AM »
My kids at that age started cleaning bathrooms.  They also clean their rooms, straighten things up, set and clear the table, put away clothes. Additionally they help take care of the yard.

Petuniajo

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2015, 07:18:47 AM »
This is something we are working on as well (my kids are 4 and 6). We do pretty much all of the same things as posters note above. We are having more success with my son (4) than my daughter (6)... It seems to be a personality difference. She will dilly dally and take for.freaking.ever and complain the entire time, rather than just get it done. She will somehow make putting away laundry (a 3 minute job) into 30 minutes plus, so of course she is not loving "chores" right now. We've been having a lot of conversations lately though when she wants new "things" or "privileges" that she hasn't shown us yet that she is responsible enough to have them. I think slowly, it is starting to work, but it is an endurance test for sure.

She really wants to earn money lately, so we have a set of chores that are "must do" (i.e., responsibilities you have for being part of the family--things like cleaning up aftter self, helping set/clear the table, etc.) and then a separate set of chores that are "over and above" and have payment tied to them (e.g., mopping the floor, cleaning the bathroom, etc.). That seems to be helping too--she needs to have her must-do chores done before she can do any of the chores that earn money.

Good luck!

LiveLean

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2015, 11:23:26 AM »
Our guys are 12 and 9. We should have started earlier with chores -- got them really going about 2 years ago.

1. Laundry. Older son starts the wash, younger son tends to unload and do more folding.
2. Litter box (younger son who is more the animal lover).
3. Dishwasher emptying. (I hated this chore as a kid and now they get the same experience).
4. Bathroom (their own).
5. Trashcan emptying and taking big can and recycling can to curb.

They don't have to mow our lawn or any others like I did as a kid. So I tell them they're getting off easy.

moneysaver

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2015, 06:10:59 PM »
My 6 year old son feeds the dogs daily and sweeps the upstairs for $.05 ( I know it is nothing but he needed to earn some money) and my 3 year old daughter empties both bathroom trashes every night.  In addition to the every day chores my kids pick up leaves and after the dog for extra money.  I am a teacher and I see how the kids who have no responsibilities act, so I think it is very important for them to have some chores.  Furthermore I recently was told by one of my fifth graders that he didn't know how to sweep.  I was very concerned that we are raising children, who at age 10 have never swept!

ABC123

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 06:56:48 PM »
Definitely some good ideas here. I'm going to put some thought into this and make up some sort of chore chart for them.

Fbeyer

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2015, 03:44:30 AM »
One thing I'd like to add about chores: It's all necessities and the entire family is working together to make a functioning household.

One should emphasize that there is neither punishment nor rewards associated with chores.

It's not strictly helping around the house, you don't owe something specific to your kids for 'helping' with household related activities.  It is simply doing what is right around the house. Once the child shows maturity and gains new privileges the child is not being rewarded, it is a simple extension of being part of a family that does what families do.

A child is not rewarded for speaking nicely during disagreements, it's expected behavior.  A child is not rewarded for keeping it's mess away from common areas in the house, it's expected behavior. Yes, you're grateful, but you're grateful in the same way as you are when your spouse cooks and cleans. You say thank you, you mean it, and that's also part of being a functional family.

Don't  turn child rearing into a matter of bribery. You'll end up raising the kind of man that wants sex from his SO every time he vaccums, or raising a woman that wants new shoes all the time because she's the one who cooks.

2Cent

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2015, 03:54:42 AM »
One thing about chores. There will be much more buy-in if you make them responsible for a certain result, but not micro manage them. I remember my mom's insistence that I hang the laundry and fold the clothes in her preferred way, but that mean it took twice as long. Obviously there is some teaching required, but at a certain age its better to let your kids do it wrong and face the consequences.

If they feel they are doing your work, they will try to escape as much as possible. If they realize that it's their own work, you will not need to even ask after a while.

Gone Fishing

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 08:47:10 AM »
Lot of goods stuff already, I'll just had that mine also do a lot of carrying stuff/fetching.  They carry in the groceries, firewood, and fetch tools for me when I am in the middle of a project etc. Helps them learn the difference between a Phillips head and flat head, claw hammer and ball peen, etc. Sometimes it takes them 2 or more trips, lol...

Kids also like to wash cars, but we only do that every year or two... 

AnEDO

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 08:59:36 AM »
Our oldest (just turned 3) picks up his toys from the floor after playtime, he wipes up any spills that he makes from the floor, I hand him the clothes from the washer so he can put them in the dryer, and he also will go retrieve things for his baby sister such as wipes or a diaper.  We are setting our expectation of helping out early because we don't ever want our children to feel entitled.   

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 10:24:19 AM »
My good friend's 1-year old puts her dish in the dish washer. I am not kidding. After every meal she picks up her plate from her little table and carries it over to the dish washer. She drops it, etc, but they are training her now. Your kids can do quite a lot if you let them.

MerryMcQ

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 10:30:36 AM »
When my kids were 5 & 7, they would take out the garbage & recycling, feed cats, clean cat box (by age 7), clean the toilet and sinks (I generally cleaned it afterwards when they couldn't see), dust, sort their laundry, fold towels, put away laundry, kinda make their beds, kinda clean up their rooms.

I found that I could give them chores as learning experiences, but for many things, I re-did it later when they weren't around (like cleaning the toilets). That way they got confidence in doing the chores and I wasn't micro-managing their work. Now at age 11 & 13, they can cook breakfasts, lunch, & dinners, clean most of the house, do their own laundry, do all pet care (except medications). They don't do everything to professional cleaning folks standards, but they are self-sufficient enough to manage.

We used to keep a chore chart with 5 chores on it; they got paid $1 per chore per week if they did the chore without reminding or complaining.

We don't have set chores anymore, they simply do things as we ask them. If they help without complaint (or minimal complaints when picking up after the dog), then they still earn their weekly wage. The flexibility works pretty well for us.

TrMama

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 11:12:47 AM »
At 5 both my kids were able to clean their own rooms, vacuum a room, unload the dishwasher (usually each kid does 1/2), set the table, put away their own laundry, swiffer a floor, clean a bathroom (not the whole thing at once), dust, etc.

I think a better way to look at the issue is to make a list of what needs to be done around your house. Then just delegate the tasks. We also have a system of chores you do because you're part of the family and "money chores" that are paid.

When my kids balk at doing their chores, I just tell them they have to do them before I  serve the next meal. Amazing what they'll do when they're hungry . . .

kimchi

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2015, 11:44:26 AM »
We have 3 girls, ages 11, 16, and 18.  For chores, they each make their school lunches and do their own laundry.  We have done this since the youngest turned 6.  They do get paid allowance for this ($10/week per kid) -- worth every penny! I don't get into any more arguments about what was in their lunch or whether or not they have clean clothes...  And they do have to keep their bedrooms tidy as well.  They do other random chores around the house occasionally for no extra $, like being tasked to empty/fill the dishwasher, or set the table for dinner.

Jesstache

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2015, 11:54:58 AM »
My 4 year old gets $2/week to put her dirty clothes in the hamper, get the mail from the box, flush the toilet (this was a big issue before implementing the system) and picking up her toys.  She gets docked 5 cents per instance of clothes on the floor and unflushed toilet.  Now that the toilet flushing issue has been fixed, she's in the habit of clothes going in the hamper and she's a little more self sufficient, I'm going to implement that she make her bed and set the table for dinner and put her dirty plate in the sink.  When she turns 5, I plan to up it to $3/week and add more responsibilities like putting clothes away and vacuuming her room.  My goal is to delegate myself out of a job :). 

My just turned 2 year old loves to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and start it and put the silverware away from the dishwasher .  He gets paid in love and praise (which my daughter also gets) but not $, lol.

AgentCooper

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2015, 12:14:05 PM »
My 9 yr old and 7 yr old, every night, without being asked, are expected to:
Help us clear the table
Wipe the table
Dry the dishes

Then when asked, they occasionally:
Collect the eggs from the henhouse
Gather the laundry from its 4 collection points and roll it to the laundry room, then throw it in the washer
Pick up everything off the floor in one or more targeted rooms
Organize their toy area

When asked, my 5 yr old picks up the toys, books, and clothes off his floor.

My 3 yr old mostly just tags along and "helps" by tagging along and pretending to do what we're doing.  But we try to involve her by giving her 1-step/brief tasks like "Can you go put this in the laundry basket?" or "Can you pick up your colors?"

No chores result in allowances; we don't pay them to be a part of the family.

Edit:  Hmm, actually they do a lot more stuff that I don't really think of as "chores" per se.  We have a 1 acre plot with several vegetable patches.  The kids, to their abilities, usually help rake, help weed the garden, help shape the rows and plant the seeds, harvest / pick, hull or shell (e.g., beans).  They are sometimes allowed to feed and water animals, but only with supervision (otherwise it turns into play time that leads to wasted feed on the ground).  They help move groceries from the vehicle to the pantry.  The 9 and 7 yr old help me any time I'm building something, so they can watch and learn how to handle a drill, a hammer, etc. 


« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 12:25:42 PM by AgentCooper »

MandyM

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2015, 12:33:41 PM »
I don't have children, but my mom was quite the taskmaster with us growing up. Among the fairly normal things like making beds and doing dishes (I am quite certain I was doing dishes when elementary aged, I needed a step stool to reach the sink), we also had to clean our bedrooms and bathroom every Friday. We had to have it pass mom's "inspection" before we could do ANYTHING else on Friday. My brother, sister, and I rotated who had to clean the bathroom that we shared.

Also, I didn't get an allowance, but we could do extra things to earn money. In middle school I was ironing for 25 cents a shirt and polishing my dad's shoes for 50 cents a pair. I would also do laundry for $1 a load (washed, dried, and folded).


snacky

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2015, 12:41:35 PM »
i started out with kids being responsible for putting their plates in the sink after eating, cleaning up their toys, putting away their clothes when they were toddlers.

4-6 they started putting away clean dishes, putting away all laundry, taking care of pets

7-10 they are now cleaning the cat box and poop scooping the yard, doing all the laundry, some prep cooking, taking the garbage out, sweeping and mopping, cleaning bathrooms, whatever else needs doing.

we have two categories: the things they do because they live in the house and so are part of its upkeep, and extras.
they clean their rooms, put away their laundry, clear the table, etc. because I am not a maid.
they do the bigger jobs, like cleaning the floors or doing everyone's laundry, to earn $1. this is their allowance. they can earn $1 for each large job, so some weekends the old kid earns several dollars. it's enough money that it feels worth it to him, and I am happy because they're taking on a huge amount of housework (so I don't have to) as well as learning the practical skills they will need in a few years. next up i'm teaching the older to cook.

eta: they have been making their own school lunches since early elementary years. this way they can control what they take (so no bringing home things they didn't want) and they have some ownership of their dietary choices.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 12:44:49 PM by snacky »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2015, 12:12:24 PM »
My two-this-week-year-old picks up her toys at the end of the day and hands us everything from the lower rack of the dishwasher. Considering hand washing sharp knives as she's getting quicker.

sol

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2015, 01:13:15 PM »
12 year old: garbage and recycling, setting the table for dinner, feeding dogs.

10 year old: catbox, kid bathroom.

Both: emtying dishwasher (taking turns), making their own lunches, clearing own dishes, own laundry.

Adults: all yard work, all cooking, all floors.

Nobody: cleaning room. Kid space is not my problem so they clean or don't as they see fit and we don't help them find anything they lose in there.

They get an allowance.  The real breakthrough for us was realizing how money motivated they are, so we charge them one dollar off of allowance for any chore or task that isn't done, even little stuff like picking up toys or clothes.  I ask once, I remind once, then I make a dollar by doing it myself.  This system has vastly improved their attention and responsiveness to household chores, it helps limit adult annoyance levels at having to do things for them, and it avoids the problem of paying for expected chores.  Having a pre-established system of consequences avoids conflict because they know what is coming.  I'm happy to pick up that backpack or pair of shoes from the living room for $1, but I rarely get the chance anymore.


galliver

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2015, 02:03:29 PM »
My parents generally had a "do it when asked" approach so we never had chores we had to do without being asked. At some point they pointed out this gave all of us more flexibility in case we had a lot of homework a given day or something. I conceded that this trumped predictability. They were probably just not organized enough to keep track ;) The three of us turned out fine (middle sister is kind of messy...but she does know how to clean).

When I was 6 or 7 I would wash dishes quite gladly upon request (not all the time, and generally easy ones--no pots and pans or dried on cheese), I'd make my parents coffee in the drip maker on weekend mornings, and clean my and my sister's room after sufficient fighting with my mom. (Side note: I've since read that kids at that age may have trouble with breaking down huge projects like "clean your supremely cluttered room" into smaller steps or dealing with very fiddly storage systems. Fairly general bins are apparently easier for kids than boxes+shelves. This is secondhand knowledge, though.) I also remember baking a cake one time, and my mom tells me she started me helping in the kitchen when I was 2 or 3 (cutting eggs and boiled potatoes with a dull knife). So I probably helped with dinner some. I would watch my sister in the other room/just outside the apartment/while my mom ran to the laundry room (So 5-10 min chunks. Sister was 20-36 mos. This was the early 90s.)

Sometime around 8-10, I was loading and unloading the dishwasher, could clean the whole kitchen if sufficiently motivated (I remember doing this once and surprising my mom), clean the bathroom (with toilet bowl cleaner and windex+paper towels), vacuum. Again, all of this if/when asked and usually with complaints. I did like cooking (trying new recipes) though. I got up on my own and got myself ready for school. Mom would get up just before I left and see me off.

11-14, I started occasionally cooking/serving simple meals (pasta, boiled potatoes, eggs, hot dogs, cutting salads, etc) and eventually more complicated ones (stir fry, pancakes, soup); helping with, then doing laundry (it had to be taken to the apartment laundry room; my youngest sister started on this earlier because we had in-unit laundry). Oh, and at 11 I started middle school and made my own lunches (before that I got free school lunch).

By mid-high-school I was pretty self-sufficient, chores-wise (i.e. could do basically anything, though our family always did laundry jointly). Actually, 16 was when I learned to clean sink drains because dad had a torn meniscus and mom had back pain so neither could contort to get under the sinks which clogged every 6 months in that apartment (rented condo). WORST. CHORE. EVER. But by that point I could see how it had to be done...

zolotiyeruki

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2015, 07:05:41 AM »
We have 6 kids, 5 of which are old enough (3+) to do chores, and each has four chores that need to be done daily, one from each category.  They each have a card, and the cards rotate weekly, so nobody can claim they always have the harder chores.  Here's what they do:
Morning chores:
Clean out dishwasher
Set table
Clean off play room table (used for school work)
Take care of trash from one of the bathrooms, or take out kitchen trash if it's full
Start a load of laundry

After-lunch chores:
Clear kitchen island
Move laundry across
Fold a load of laundry
Load dishwasher
Wipe down table

Zones: to be completed in the afternoon before they get screen time.  On Saturdays, the zones expand to include vacuuming for the rooms with carpet, or a full cleaning for the bathrooms
Family Room
Library & Entry
Office & Mudroom
Powder room & Hallway

After-dinner chores:
Wipe down island
Clear table
Wipe down table
Sweep/vacuum floor around dinner table
Wash dishes from dinner prep that require hand washing
Upstairs Bath & Hallway

Saturday work:All the above jobs, plus:
Clean up Play room
Clean up kitchen floor
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 10:40:08 AM by zolotiyeruki »

hunniebun

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2015, 07:23:14 AM »
A timely post because I am in the same boat (with kids 3 and 6).  My approach has been pretty ad hoc and I think I need a more structured system.  But I know exactly what you mean. It is less work for me to just do it myself and not hear the whining, complaining the entire time.  Things they have helped with are wiping down the counters and table, cleaning window inside and out (they like anything with a spray bottle).  I realize now that I would easily extend this to the bathroom counters/tub.   They help wash floors and vacuum (for a few minutes, the vacuum is pretty big and heavy).   Taking out the garbage and recycling, gardening, putting away clothing, planning the weekly menu.  My issue is that I need to make the expectation daily, rather than just when I have time!  Good luck!!

zolotiyeruki

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2015, 10:41:31 AM »
My issue is that I need to make the expectation daily, rather than just when I have time!
This, I think, is more important than exactly *what* the kids do.  Teach them that as members of the family/household, they are expected to contribute, and consistently enforce it, and it becomes TONS easier.

startingsmall

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2015, 08:58:58 PM »
My daughter is 3 years old. Her current 'chores' include:
- putting toys away after playtime
- feeding the cat twice a day
- putting her dishes in the sink after meals
- loading laundry into the dryer (we have a top-load washer, so I pass it down to her and she pushes it in and shuts the door)

We're currently working on emptying the silverware (except knives) from the dishwasher and putting away laundry.  (The laundry is a tough one... because we spend most of our day downstairs and only really go upstairs at bedtime....  so when we go upstairs during the day to put away laundry, she gets distracted by toys/books in her room that she normally forgets about.)  She also loves to help with cleaning, so on days that I'm cleaning the house I'll usually give her a rag with Pledge on it and she'll wipe down all of our wood tables/chairs/etc.  She also likes to clean the baseboards... lucky me!!

Geostache

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2015, 11:21:55 AM »
My kids are turning 3 this week. We have been asking them to clear their dishes from the table after meals for about 3 months now. We also make them clean their toys up at the end of the day. They also like to vacuum (but obviously not an entire room), and wipe down tables, though those are intermittent at best. From time to time, we will ask them to put the silverware away (it's a good sorting activity), including butter knives. I second the notion that the reinforcement helps. It becomes routine and expected of them, and although it might take them longer than an adult, there's certainly less argument about it.

Feeding the pet is a good idea, too! I think we'll start asking one to feed the cat in the morning, and the other to feed the cat in the evening.

asauer

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2015, 10:37:22 AM »
My kids are both 8.  They have chores they do for free (b/c they live in the house!) and chores they can sign up for each week and earn $.

Examples of family chores: Clean your room, change your sheets, clean the sinks/ toilet in your bathroom, set the table, clean up from dinner, feed the cats

Examples of paid chores: Change sheets on mom and dad's bed, vacuum, clean baseboards (my son LOVES this for some reason- lucky me!), empty and reload dishwasher, fold laundry, weed garden, clean shower(s), clean downstairs toilets.  The paid chores vary in how much we give them (which I post each week).  For example changing sheets earns .75 while cleaning the shower earns 1.25.  Time/effort ratio.  If they do it poorly they get to do it again and don't get paid.

A funny side effect of these paid chores is that now, the kids will fuss at each other if one of them leaves dishes in the sink or doesn't flush the toilet b/c they know they're going to be cleaning it!  Haha!  So--there's an added bonus for me of not having to parent as much : )

galliver

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Re: what chores do your kids do?
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2015, 06:20:47 PM »
They help wash floors and vacuum (for a few minutes, the vacuum is pretty big and heavy).   

What if you get a smaller/lighter vacuum? We have a fairly small apartment with laminate floors and a few rugs, so I didn't feel like a giant powerful vacuum was really justified (esp with no kids!). We got a cordless convertible stick/hand vac for under $100 and I LOVE it. It makes it really easy, even pleasant, to just grab the thing and vacuum for a bit if you notice crumbs/dust. Seems like it would also be easier for kids to handle. And then you can do a weekly "power vac" to get anything that did get ground into the fibers of carpet/rugs (big vacuum still worthwhile if you have carpets, or large or thick rugs, I think).