120 thoughts on “Chores and Children

    1. I so agree, anyone who thinks you are lazy for having children help has never tried to train them.
      Heidi, thanks for encouraging us to see the big picture!

  1. feeling so very blessed today!! this break time was partly used to do some Xcountry skiing very near our house …and… our son, 8, helped REALLY clean the kitchen. Like it had been forever since stove pulled out, really gross. He was a real trooper and helped me with this big job for hours (with some breaks) HIS 2 cupboard and counter rearrangements I hesitated abt, but ya know, THEY WORKED! GO FIGURE!! took most of one day…but it was some good bonding too!

  2. This year I woke up with a terrible migraine on the day we were planning to undecorate our home. When I woke up after taking my medicine and laying back down for a while, my sweet husband and children had already taken care of everything! What a blessing to teach them young so that they remember it as they are older.

  3. There is controversy in just about everything these days. I think it’s great you make your children clean. My children do it as well and yes they do play, learn, clean and rest!

  4. uh, well should I also say we have our bumps in the road….make cleaning a “game” helps too. Yes he is an only and we started early like 2yo… PS.. he also cleaned off the bread machine…without being asked….!

  5. So the question remains in our house. How do you get dad to A- not judge their lack of perfection B- realize he needs to help train and follow up in assigned chores C- not do it himself when the fail to


    This is a huge culture clash in our house. As my hubby us Filipino, it is so not uncommon for a mother to serve her son as a master. Hubby used to wear an ironed shirt daily before he came to the US at 24. Why? His mother did everything from the ironing to cooking, etc.

    This is a far cry different from life with seven children in the USA!!!

  6. my two year old LOVES helping me ‘fold’ laundry and picking up herr toys 🙂 sure i usually have to re-do at least part of it with her but she is getting better! and her brother is already following her example aand picking up toys and laundry 🙂 love it!!

  7. When my daughter started walking, around 1, we had her start ‘helping’ pick up her toys before bed time. She’s 20 mo old now and it’s a part of her nightly bedtime routine. We are teaching her to help clean and be responsible for her things. Start as early as you can so when they are 5,6,7+ it won’t be such a battle. Like all things they are children so some days are easier than others but don’t give up! We are teaching them to take over the world, let’s not mess it up!

  8. Love this! I want to raise my boys to know how to do everything like their wives someday, so they are able to help out too! Sew a simple stitch or button, run a load of laundry and put it away, cook a meal, vacuum, mop, and take out trash. Just the same, my daughters are learning, as well as someday… How to check a tire, change oil etc. it’s amazing how fast things get done with many hands working!

  9. They live in the house, eat the food, and help generate the messes. They should learn to clean & cook. Mom won’t be walking behind them cleaning up their messes their whole lives. We need to teach them how.

  10. We are not raising children we are raising future adults I have 4 boys by the time they leave my home they will know how to do all the chores and why it’s important to do them. My 12 year can cook, do laundry, yard work and all general cleaning. Now I am teaching him general maintenance…. and how to learn new skills when a need arises. The younger boys are learning the same things at their own level. We do work daily but not too much just enough to keep the house in order. Also I don’t pay them for it…they have things they get paid for but no one will pay them to wash their own dishes when they are grown.

  11. I can testify that this is definitely worth the time! I gave my two toddlers tasks to complete and gradually added more and more as they grew. Yesterday those two toddlers who are now teens decided they could undecorate the house and return it to sparkling in one day. This normally takes 3-5 as we overdo on the Christmas decorations. Me, the encourager, responded, “No way! Nice thought but you are dreaming!” Well they worked circles around me and flew through the work and with a short lunch break finished at 8pm. The look on their faces told the true story – their satisfaction at a job well done, their joy at their father’s shock and surprise when he got home from work and, of course, they enjoyed mom having to eat her words:). This was their initiative and no cracking the whip needed as they have been pitching in to help as long as they can remember. Keep on – it is worth it.

    1. I love this, Dee! You’ve done a great job to have such willing and self-motivated helpers. I’ve been enjoying watching my married daughter keep her house so neat and tidy—only I miss her helping at my house, haha! 🙂 You’re right, it’s worth it!

  12. LOVE it! We live on a farm where we raise cattle and chickens. We raise around 60,000 chickens every 8 weeks. Our children are along side my husband and I while we work. We also enjoy fun times of play and recreation too! It’s a good balance of work together and play together! Some of our happiest times are actually while we are working together. 🙂

  13. Love that my kids can help out with chores, I tell them we are a team and we all have Jobs to do! I really like there help even if it isn’t much! It helps me out and teaches them responsibility. And as they grow they learn more and more!

  14. We have always had our kids helping do chores. The struggle we have had lately is that as the get older and are in more activities and have part time jobs we can’t figure out how to make it even. 1 seems to always get stuck doing everything who h isn’t fair. I know this should be easier to figure out but my mind is running out of ideas.

    1. Once I had a part time job I paid “rent”. If I did my assigned chores every week then it was cheaper. If I didn’t make time or chose not to do them, it was a but more expensive.

      1. My family did this too. I think it is a great way to teach responsibility, and when I was truly out on my own, I had a much easier go of it than most of my friends!

  15. I could not agree with you more!!! It is our job as parents to teach our children not only to pick up after themselves, but to pitch in and help others! How annoying to know some moms think of this as “abuse” i would much rather have a helpful, responsible child than a spoiled brat who thinks mommy has to do everything for him/her. Just sayin 😉

  16. Great Blog, my wife showed me this and I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said.

    We MUST train up our children in the way they will live their lives.

    Question for you. What do infants become? Toddlers, who become children, who become teenagers, who become adults. We MUST begin a an early age to teach our children how to be productive adults, otherwise the older they get the more resistant they become to change. So beginning when they are little and “Love to Help” is a great idea. My wife is doing this with our 22 month old son, little by little =)

    As a child we had chores and my parents instilled inside of us the ability to work. This has provided a great benefit to me and my family.

    Thank you for being a true “Old Fashioned” mom. Let’s keep it “Old School” because it is an excellent way to do things!

    1. Exactly, Tommy! Best part about teaching them early is that you don’t have to start teaching them to work when you’re entering the ups and downs of emotional adolescence. (One thing at a time, right?) 🙂

  17. My mom had to do LOTS of work growing up. So she gave my brother & I a “childhood” by letting us play & such. The only thing we had to do was make our beds. I will say this- I think that was one of the biggest sources of anxiety for me (and might be for others) in my early 20s. When I got out on my own I literally didn’t know what to do & felt overwhelmed most of the time. I offer my boys a balance of play/free time but they each have things they are responsible for & we work together on big projects. My mom says I’ve reached a balance. She now spends lots of time w/ the grandkids as she remodels her home, having them watch, learn & help as they’re able. My boys are learning so many valuable life skills. And, hopefully they won’t feel the anxiety I did in my 20s.

  18. I’ve seen a lot of “you’re a lazy mom” comments on blogs about having kids work. I can tell you from experience, /not/ teaching them to work is being lazy. And for those moms who think it is cruel and robs kids of a childhood, stop thinking of it as “child labor” and start thinking of it as “grown up lessons,” no different than teaching them to tie their shoes or make change.

  19. I had a stroke at 32 that left me with disability. So my kids are very familiar with housework. I like to say that no Anerican children havedued from too much work in several decades:)

  20. And then you have those who believe boys should never do housework because it’s disgraceful for a boy to handle things of the house-that’s women’s work. And, boys have no business learning to nurture or care for babies, that’s not a mans place. Sigh!! There’s always someone to critique but they are usually missing logic and bible to their theory or methods.

  21. You actually got comments saying you are abusive? What our parents for?… anybody can let children play all day. I even do it some days. I only feel like a real parent when I’m teaching them something valuable. We’re not supposed to teach our children how to move from one recreational activity to another. We’re supposed to teach them how to live the most balanced life we can. My mom didn’t really start enforcing clean up time until I was what 12? I’d have to say that was way way too late. By then I was solidly and messy person and it took me years and years to correct that. I’m still working on it now.

  22. At 2 I take them as my cleaning buddy, but at 3 they begin their own chores. I did this with all my kids. I don’t believe it’s taking their childhood, on the contrary, it builds their self esteem. We do a chore chart with prizes and it gives them something to look forward to…

  23. I think it is awesome that you teach your children to help clean the house. I also do this and it is sometimes harder to get them to help than it is to do it yourself. But, believe me, they and their spouses will love you for it in the end. In fact, I have a sister who did not make her kids help when they were little and now that they are upper teens she is having a really hard time getting them to do anything!

  24. I’m STILL shocked when I hear of teenagers that are not doing things for themselves (like their own laundry)!!!
    I should think they’d WANT to know how to do things for themselves…I did.
    There were actually kids in college with me that did not know how to change their sheets!!!
    Truly sad, if you ask me. :

  25. Chores are things I had to do as a kid growing up and it made me who i am now. I’m pregnant w my 1st baby now I totally believe in passing that down to my child!! It helps shape who they will b as adults. I had to many friends growing up (teenage & early adult age) that literally had no idea how to take care of themselves and we’re lazy beyond believe b /c mom or dad did it all!! I do not want that to b my children!!

  26. I think so many people with this don’t have children do anything but play and have fun creates an extremely dangerous mindset in grownups… look how many people now just want to have fun…. real life is not always fun… you have to work… so do my children! They learn to be proud of their accomplishments ! Good work ethic is lacking in USA… also an increase in entitlement attitude… I wonder why??? Poor precious expects everyone yo do everything for them!!!! Look at our country… seems to me it was a parenting issue… sad… but I’m raising the next generation and my children will be true Americans!

  27. I have several young friends who are in college. I ask them what has challenged them the most in their new environment – learning to keep up w/laundry and feeding themselves. These young people are from homes where learning self-sufficiency was part of their upbringing. I can’t imagine what it is like for those students who were never taught to take car of their personal space :/

  28. We recently got custody of my husband’s 8 and 10 year old children. The only thing these kids were expected to do was play video games and watch tv. His daughter didn’t even know how to wash herself properly or even brush her own hair! Between us both, we have 7 children living at home, including a newborn baby. So of course, they are expected to do chores like everyone else and were taught to do thier own laundry. You would not believe the backlash we have gotten from some people who have even suggested that we have them doing thier own laundry because they don’t have a mother (I’m just chopped liver, I guess). The point is, we want them to be responsible and to contribute to thier family and household so that they learn to think of others and care about a world outside themselves. I don’t understand what is wrong with that!

  29. Our kiddos do chores around the house bc I refuse to pick up their messes. They are 11, 9 and 7 and know better than to leave trash laying around. Our oldest does dishes they all help with laundry, bathrooms, their rooms, picking up poop in the yard and whatever else we need done. Their father and I are not their maids but neither are they ours. I am praying this will teach them to care for their own homes one day.

  30. My inlaws taught my husband NOTHING about cooking, cleaning, fixing, and just plain taking care of things!! My dad taught me to take care of things 🙂 My children will definitely be helping when they’re of age 🙂 As for now, they do small chores like picking up their toys, putting their laundry away, and clearing/setting the table.. it’s a start, right?? 😉

  31. I totally agree. We are a family here, and that means we all help! I have 3 children ages 5, 10, and 11. Plus we foster medically complex children as well (we currently have a newborn). Between my children’s doctors appointments, and any foster kiddo’s appointments, things are crazy! Not to mention Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, awana, our homeschool group, our Music Group, and basketball practice/games for all three kids! Here is how it works. If they don’t help, they don’t go. It is as simple as that. If they want to participate in all these extra curricular activities, I have no problem bringing them. However I do not have the time to run them all over and homeschool and clean the house as it needs to be done. If they want to help me clean, I have more than enough time to bring them to the activities they want to participate in. Everything is a tradeoff in life, and children need to learn that now while the lessons are easy and the consequences are small. There are only a limited number of hours in a day, and one person can’t do it all. We are a family. Family sticks together, family works together, family is forever.

  32. My kids don’t have assigned chores but they do whatever I ask them to do around the house whenever I ask. I do not let them do their own laundry even though 2 of them are old enough to (10 and 12) because I like to have full load when I wash clothes. They do have to fold and put away their own clothes though and help with sorting washing and drying.

  33. I honestly dnt get why other moms dnt understand this concept?? I was raise in Mexico, my father had us working at the age of 6, all my 5 sisters and myself. I hated it! At the age of 13 I would be embarrassed my classmates having fun going out to the park while I was stuck working at either the hardware store, ranch or in the house. Now I am thankful to my father, ever since I came to Cali I been doing very well for myself and family. Structure, discipline, and lots of love is what I been taught. I have a one yr old who cleans his own mess, yes that is correct I have videos to prove it, and a nine yr old that can bake, sweep, mop, wash clothes, wash dishes on her own and doesn’t well. And she still has time for studying and playtime. I dnt understand why doing this is a “bad or wrong” thing? Your children will appreciate things more and when they are fully grown they will be grateful human beings.

  34. We have 3 boys 5, 2.5, & 9 months our older boys absolutely have chores they each have responsibilities they are required to do each day and will draw up to 4 chores each day they can get paid for but only if they have completed the responsibilities they have first. They like this because it allows them the freedom to make a “grown up” decision..we all live here we all help out! 🙂 we started this with them very young, and they know what is expected of them!

  35. My boys both had chores from a very early age. When my first began walking, I started teaching him to put all his toys into the bucket and tell them night-night.
    Both are now gown up with young children of their own. Both “boys” have incredible work ethics. And yes, I’m proud of that. I’ve had their bosses tell me how much they contribute to their jobs/careers and how glad they are to have hired them. And yes, both do laundry, vacuum, and are EXTREMELY involved Dads in their kids’ lives!

  36. I totally agree kids should learn the essentials what they will need when they move out, I started using charts but could never stick to them so I made a chore lucky dip or unlucky dip as my kids called it lol I put jobs in a tub and they had to pick out a job whatever they picked they had to do, they loved it cos it was like a game, now they have 2 rooms to do each 1 upstairs and 1 down and everyday they swap rooms so they don’t have the same things all the time

  37. I can’t wait for my 18 month old twins to be able to help. Right now we make a game out of pairing their socks, and they like to “wipe” surfaces with dry washcloths. It’s a start! I wasn’t raised in a home with set chores, just bribes to do stuff. I loved as a child if I let my room get messy enough I would get a new toy if I cleaned it. How ridiculous is that? When I got married and moved in with my husband, I had hardly any skills. Thank goodness for his patience and the internet to show me how to do things! But my children will not get away with what I did!

  38. My husband wasn’t taught to help. Yes, he was Told to do specific things when his parents needed him to, but mostly he never had any responsibilities. I have taught my kids to help around the house Not as chores, but as family responsibility. We are a family, we take care of one another, look after one another. For example, nearly all 7 of us are sick with various colds. I’m starting to get better as I’ve had it the longest, and my younger son isn’t sick (yet). He’s been helping take care of his younger sisters while I take care of the older kids & hubby. I didn’t ask, he just stepped up and did it. He fixed breakfast for the family, made sure the girls got tea and meds and even made a steam pot for them to stand over and inhale.
    We don’t do allowance – but we buy them things when we can. It’s great to see all the teaching you’ve done was absorbed ♥

  39. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to cleanliness so I have a problem letting go to train. My daughter is a bit harder to train and I get frustrated and end up doing it myself because she’s not doing it right. They don’t get paid. I never got paid growing up. From the time I could stand on a chair my mom had me doing dishes. If you don’t teach them at home, they won’t learn anywhere else.

  40. I am the mother of six myself. I have learned that if I try to do all of the chores myself, I am a bad mom. I am grumpy, irritable and snappy because I resent having to spend ALL of my time cleaning up after people. My kids have learned that in order to get what they want (access to their gadgets and the Internet, rides to a friends house, money, extra time on the computer, art/piano/guitar/voice lessons………) they must do what is expected of them. We have a chore chart that indicates who is on what chore. We have one room (kitchen, laundry room, school room, dining room, living room or bathrooms) that we are assigned to every day. I have a checklist in every room of what has to be done. It’s very specific like: take hampers to basement and sort them, then bring hampers back to the bathrooms. That way there is no cutting corners (which kids are really good at) and things get done to a certain standard. It also takes me out of the equation. They check things off the list, and if I need to I will check their work before I turn on their internet or whatever. I tell them all the time: ” There are two ways to do things: “Right. And again.” The older kids do well on their own. The younger ones (5 & 7) occasionally need help with things like carrying the vacuum downstairs. They do occasionally complain, but it is well understood that if you want XY&Z, you are expected to do AB&C. That’s how the real world works, after all. I’m not raising a bunch of lazy bums. I am raising strong, independent, productive and diligent leaders. Chores and responsibility teach teach kids so much more than how to properly load a dishwasher.

  41. I love this. The only thing we do different in my house is we call chores, ‘contributions’. We all contribute to the household. My husband and I go to work to supply the money and my children go to school to get and education, we all are tired at the end of the day and all the housework should not fall on one person. We all live there.

  42. Take the time to teach your children ..it make take you twice as long to teach your child to do a chore right but when they do it will not only be a blessing to themselves and you but to their future families as well.

  43. Take the time to teach your children ..it make take you twice as long to teach your child to do a chore right but when they do it will not only be a blessing to themselves and you but to their future families as well.

  44. I am training my 3, 10 and 11 year old boys to not only do outside house work , like yard work and mowing..etc but also inside house work like cooking, cleaning and laundry. Now that they are getting a little older I am introducing them to “see a need, fill a need”. If you see the trash needs to be emptied…do it without me having to ask. Be observant to your surroundings 🙂 I want them to be a helper to their wives someday NOT sitting on their butts watching sports while she’s having to do it ALL!! FYI we also foster babies and they are HUGE helps in assisting diaper changes, feedings, changing clothes and bathes if needed. What amazing dads they will be…..#GodWilling 🙂

  45. Chores for kids are a good thing not a bad thing. Some people just love to be offended, ignore them. If you don’t teach them who will and kids should help keep the house they live in and mess up. It will be a happier home for all.

  46. Our family modo is we are a team! Everyone helps! It’s no fun for one person to be doing it all (the mom) if everyone helps, then mom isn’t so tired and afterwards we can all do something fun! We have a 20 min work time in the morning and a 20 min work time in the afternoon! That still leaves plenty of playtime and it’s amazing what can all get done in that time when everyone pitches in!

  47. Studies have shown that children that do chores have more confidence in themselves in years later. Chores help teach kids to be part and valued in the family. How could anyone argue with teaching kids to be helpful?

  48. I agree that teaching kids and giving them chores is essential in helping them to learn how to take care of their own house one day. People need to remember that when looking at the list each age group has bigger chores they are able to do as well as all previous chores learned. This doesn’t mean they have to do ALL of them just that they are age appropriate chores. The actual list a child gets needs to be manageable. I am sure none of these mothers posting are turning their children into Cinderella to clean every hour of the day but using this as a guide to help appropriately teach their child in a loving way. My daughter comes home every day and does chores depending on her school homework schedule. If she has two hours of homework she gets less chores that day while if she has none she helps out a bit more.

  49. Heidi, all our children live, eat and are cared for with all of our hearts. They too all participate in keeping the house clean, daily. They are 16, 10 and 6. My 16 (son) and 10 (daughter) each make dinner one night a week also. I pray they will continue to grow and learn from the training we do physically and spiritually. They receive training in both areas. My son and daughter are great cooks by the way and love it!!! All my kids started chores at age 5 with the family. But we’re always responsible for keeping clean their room and bed when younger

  50. My 7yo 5yo, and even 15 month old have been a great help with cleaning up! I’m 4 months pregnant and bending down to pick anything up off the floor would simply result in more mess! It’s so important for our kids to learn what being part of a family is; takeing care of each other and our Home God has blessed us with!

  51. Great post Heidi. I’ve found so far in my eighteen years of parenting that kids thrive when included in the daily care of the home and family life is happier and runs smoother. Also, they are well equipped for life, which surely is one of the outcomes a parent would hope for.

  52. In a bigger picture, they are learning to be responsible citizens- contributing their part to the whole. I was not brought up this way but my children were. My married son helps his wife out around the house. She can count on him to pitch in without worrying if he’ll mess something up. He can manage the house, meals, and children when she’s sick, recovering from childbirth, etc. My other sons are just as capable, but are still single at this time. All three have great leadership skills and I attribute that to them having confidence in themselves because of their training at home.

  53. We are currently expecting our seventh child. Our oldest is 12. We are firm believers in training our children to be real grown up people with real responsibilities. I’ve taken things from the chore chart you posted along with other parent’s suggestions, and while I admit that we may never be able to follow a chart to the “T” because we simply aren’t that organized, raising them in an environment where helping has always been a part of their life has made our lives exponentially easier, and they are nearly always happily, willing to help. Thank you for you’re blog, you’re making a huge difference to so many women!

  54. All the people who said you were lazy or abusive should really take a hard look at their children and make sure they really want them be living at home into their 30’s! Not requiring the kids to pitch in and be a part but giving them a childhood and allowing life to be “fun” why would they ever want to move out???? Not that I’m pushing our kids (#8 due in Feb) out the door but failure to launch has become an epidemic in our country. We feel it is our job to equip them to be Godly, productive adults when it is time for them to move out and impact the world! A large number of kids these days seem to feel entitled and want everything done for them and something for nothing! I have changed drastically in my parenting, my oldest son (he is a great young man!) is smart…gifted! He skipped a whole grade and never even tries in school to maintain A’s but has NO work ethic!!!! I take a lot of that blame….I doted, he was the first, made life fun….did it ALL!! He had a ton of activities I packed him around to, never really had to work for anything. Our other 2 teenagers are the same…NO WORK ethic!!! It was not required at a young age…it is our job as parents to teach this as the Bible says! Now our younger children they do a ton, we have chickens, horses, 15 acres to maintain and they contribute. I have a 9 year old son who asks, yes…..asks me every day to wait for him to finish his school work so he can make lunch for the family!!! Yahoo!!! I don’t slave drive him or take away his childhood….it is something he enjoys to do with his time (not on his “chore” list) and we all benefit! He also will be right by our side on any home improvement projects….we recently re-modeled 2 homes in a 4 year period! He LOVES to work with dad! Our 4 year old son is best when directed and on a task…I heard it said once undirected children are the ones who are typically getting into trouble! All our kids contribute…they whine sometimes, complain too but overall they are very helpful…even our 2 year old beams when she does a job well and we thank her! LAZY? It is MUCH, MUCH easier to put them in front of a tv, video game etc and do it yourself, how you want it done, without reminding…..I think NOT training is LAZY! Lots to say – keep posting this great stuff we are raising our kids very different from a large number of people and we are happy to do it the way God directs us!!!! Thanks for all your awesome encouragement!

  55. I think you’re great, Heidi.

    I don’t know why some parents would n’t want their children to help out around the house. Of course they are not going to do it perfectly, and not the way it would be done if moms just did it themselves. As the kids age, their abilities will increase and they will be able to improve on their cleaning skills. We are supposed to serve our children, but we are not supposed to be slaves to them. It is our job to teach them to be responsible adults, not to be helpless, lazy, self-centered adults who can’t so anything for themselves. When you have a large family (we have six kids) everyone needs to help out. I would pull my hair out if I had to do everything by myself. Besides regular cleaning we have about 14 loads of laundry a week, some times more. I prayed about how to make our chores go more smoothly, and was inspired to add another step to our chore system. The kids love it, and they are encouraging each other to do their jobs well.
    Thanks for all your inspiring words and for keeping it real.

  56. This is a great post! I totally agree. We have three children (2 boys and a girl) ages 9,6,and 5. They all help out around the house. Our oldest son is responsible for some of the bigger jobs, like help with cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming, mowing the yard. My middle one is helps with picking up toys, dusting, sweeping down spider webs, learning to vacuum, setting table, clearing table, sweep floor and my little girl helps with folding clothes, dusting, help set the table, clearning the table and learning about other chores. They all help in the plant, tend and harvest our garden. They are always willing to help others as well, their grandparents when they are at their homes, relatives, friends and complete strangers. I agree with so many others, we are raising future adults and it is our job to make sure they know how to run a home. It is our job to teach them good work ethics and to also show them how important it is for family to work together. I have a niece and nephew, my niece is in college my nephew is 16, they have never been taught to do anything. My niece had to learn how to wash clothes and dishes when she went to college. My nephew doesn’t know how to do anything but go to school and play video games all day. My children can work circles around them both, not just with energy but their knowledge on how to do things and get the work done. It saddens me to see my niece and nephew not prepared for the real world. And yes my children play, they play all the time, they also know how to have fun while doing work as well.

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