Chores for Kids

Updated on March 29, 2010
C.B. asks from New Baltimore, MI
15 answers

Hello I am trying to get ideas on how to get my kids started with chores. The older two I think are old enough to start having some household responsibilities they are 8 and 7 but I don't know what to start with and how to reward? They have always been dumpers and we have such a hard time even getting them to clean their rooms but I think we need to start something now or it's only going to get worse as they get older. Any suggestions would be appreciated and helpful. Thanks

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Ok so I need to be more clear apparently my kids DO help around the house they do pick up their toys and their rooms but not without me nagging and they do feed our dog and they do clear their own dinner plates and cups and they do put their dirty clothes in the hamper and they do occasionally help me vacuum or clean the bathrooms but I guess I didn't realize the things that they are doing already are really chores I just need to maybe add a few more like the dishwasher or have them put their own clothes away. They do really like to help with all other chores besides cleaning their rooms. I like the ideas for the chore jars and I think I am going to start that my kids love to be able to pick things. Thank you for all the suggestions it is much appreciated. I just want to make sure to prepare my kids for their future unlike I was prepared.

Featured Answers



answers from Detroit on

Well, You are exactly correct, they should be helping, my daughter began cleaning her room at 6 without any reward. She's 10 now & gets allowance and other perks, now because of good grades and excellant behavior. I believe children should not be rewarded for keeping the room that they mess up clean, no one should want to stay in a dirty, nasty room. In my opinion, unless these children can contribute finiancially & are able to pay for a maid, they should clean their room themselves, without rewards. However, if that is what you want to do, giving them extra privilages, sleepovers w/ friends, extra allowance, special outings, giving them a choice of what they would like to do. Giving them something to work toward, and look forward to doing. Take Care.

More Answers



answers from Albuquerque on

I have two little girls, 4 and 2. They both do chores everyday. I do not reward them for doing what I ask. They know that the house belongs to all of us and it is up to all of us to keep it nice. They actually really enjoy helping out. My 2 year old LOVES to mop and my four year old LOVES to help sort and "shout" laundry. They make their beds in the morining and make sure their rooms ar picked up before bed. They put away thier clothes after I fold them. They are also in charge of setting the table before dinner and clearing their plates when we are done. They also help me load the dishwasher. Not by my choosing (it takes forever!) but they really enjoy helping. Wow reading this it seems like a lot but they never complain, in fact once they get on a roll they want to help more and more. They really enjoy a clean house and the responsibility of gettng to help with something momma does.

I would say at 8 and 7 your kiddos can do just about anything. Now you don't want this to be a fight so maybe you could ask them what chores they would'nt mind doing, or put all the chores you need done in a jar and have them randomly choose x amount of chores everyday.

Also remember that whatever chores they are doing will only be done to the best of THEIR ability. Beds will not look perfect, windows will be streaky and the entire floor will not be vacuumed! That's okay.

As far as rewards, I ovbiously don't reward mine and probably never will. I really think it is okay to expect your kiddos to help out. If you expect it and don't make it a big deal, neither will they.

If you are adament about rewarding them I would do it the supernanny way. With a fun activity of their choosing once so many chores are done.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Start simple.
boys or girls?

Our son takes out the kitchen trash as needed. He also rolls the trash can out and carries the recycle bin to the curb the evening before trash day.

Our daughter sets the table before dinner. Son makes drink glasses.
They both clear their own plates and often mine/my husband's as well. They were shown how to scrape their plates into the trash (or rinse stuff off into the disposal) and put the plate and utensils in the dishwasher also.

They can put the clothes from the washer into the dryer and start it. Our 8 yr old daughter is learning to fold towels properly. Currently, I fold all the clothes, but as I do I make a stack of their things on the sofa and they take their stack to their rooms and put the clothes away (hang or in a drawer).
They are to keep their dirty clothes in a basket/hamper in their room and when full they take their dirty clothes out of their rooms to the laundry.

They poop scoop the yard.
They sweep off the front porch.
Son is learning to help mow the grass and use the edger (he already knows how to blow the clippings off the driveway). But he is 11 soo...

They both know how to use the vacuum and clean the mirrors and sinks in the bathrooms. And when school and chaotic life don't make me crazy, I have them do these once a week (vacuum and clean the bathrooms).
They make their own beds (not reliably, but they do do it). They are learning to completely change the sheets on the bed.

I was slow to start them with chores.. so don't think i have it all figured out, lol. But it is really amazing (especially with girls) how quickly they can pick up what they need to know in order to help out. I have found that the LAST thing they want to do is clean their own room. So maybe don't start there. Have them help out somewhere else in the house at first. My kids are always WAAAY more willing to clean a bathroom,vacuum the rug, or take out the trash than they are to clean their bedroom. I think it is because cleaning their room is sort of an open ended task... how do you REALLY know when you are done?? it is very subjective. Other tasks are much more defined and so they know clearly when they have accomplished their goal and they seem to really get a sense of pride from what they contribute to the family when they do these other type chores. Their rooms, however, are just drudgery all around. lol
Good luck... and remember to start slow and ask them to "help you do ___.." 'cause you'll need to be actively involved and showing them what to do (and not do) the first couple of times with any new chore.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Although my kids have always done chores, they are "dumpers", too, and it drives me crazy! You could start by making a job chart, or alternatively a job jar, where they get to pick the job(s) for that day. We've done both. Right now what works in our family is breaking down the jobs into groups - we have a laundry helper, kitchen helper, and clean-up helper - and they rotate weekly. I then write a job/day on our whiteboard, and they choose which job they'll do that day. With my middle schooler's busy schedule, i've gotten to where if there's a day they don't honestly have time to do a job, they can do 2 on another day. In the summer, I give more jobs to the oldest and progressively less by age downward; but in the school year the oldest is busier so I make it more even. I don't do rewards, but that's just me; some families use that successfully. I do praise them when they've accomplished what I expect of them, but as part of the family, we all have to make things run smoothly. For my youngest, I mention that when he helps me out, it gives me more time to spend with him since I don't have to do all the work. This is sometimes true, but sometimes it takes MORE time to help them get it done; that's okay; it's a learning experience!

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from State College on

My job around that age was to vacuum the stairs (we had a little one that was hand holdable). I also was usually in charge or feeding and medicating the pets we had, which I loved doing. Maybe helping to empty the dishwasher if there are things they can put away or setting the table. Sweeping the kitchen or bathroom would be something small and not take to long. I used to get an allowance and I think we got a dollar or so extra a week for chores. I know stickers or something they put in a jar (fake money, marbles) and then exchange for something bigger (small toy, get to pick a game/movie for game/movie night, etc) when they get a set number.



answers from Detroit on

Give them an allowance. My four year old and my almost three year old have specific chores that they need to do or help with and they know if they don't do it, they don't get the allowance. My son gets 2.50 dollars a week because he has more to do than my daughter and she gets 1.25 a week. He feeds the cat, helps take out the trash (with mom or dad there obviously) and he vacuums the floor (which he loves). He also has to help clear the table after dinner and clean up his own toys and take care of his dirty clothes. My daughter has to help set the table, help take care of the dirty clothes and has to clean up her own toys.

Sometimes they need reminders, but they do pretty well with it. Money is a great motivator, my son loves to think that he gets to get a car for free. lol Good luck!



answers from Boston on

incooperate a chore list divide equally since they are close in age. certain days certain chores. if they don't do them a privelege gets take away example tv, video game favorite toy etc.. start out easy witht the chores maybe 2 or 3 each like clean their room help tak eout garbage and emptying dishwasher. see how this goes and in a month or 2 add 1 or more chores tot he list. good luck



answers from Mansfield on

my kids have been doing chores since they we able to put a toy away! Ok so for a schedule- i pick something that they can do- take the trash out, clear the dinner table and wipe the counters after dinner, clean the bathroom, declutter the entry hallway, dust,etc depending on age and ability. Usually i assign a room. Some kids have more jobs in their room because they are older, taller,etc and some rooms have more jobs to do then others. The kids roll a die to pick the number which goes with what room they have that night. The child who does the best job on their room is the one who gets to roll first the next time. There is always a "free space" which allows them to pick their room including take one from who has already rolled. I do not pay allowance for doing chores but I do pay for doing chores without being told, good attitude toward it, good effort, etc. You can skip allowance all together and give them rewards- earning extra TV time or have a friend come over,etc.
The kids also have outside chores as well when it is nice weather. My son (11) likes to mow and rake so that is what he does. The girls (4 &6) love to help with the garden and flowers so they do. All kids clean up branches and sticks that are blown down, toys scattered and dog toys,etc.
It will take a while to get them in the habit of doing chores but if you are consistant with it they will get it. My son is also required to put his own clothes away and the girls help me sort and fold laundry as well. They also "run piles" to their drawers or certain rooms for me.
Room cleaning is a whole other story. They "pick up" but can not get it to my "sparkeling clean standards" as my son calls it on their own. I assign jobs-especially to the girls who share a room- and when those jobs are done i go in to finish the cleaning. My 6 year old loves to make beds- she gets in trouble actually because she spends 20 minutes making her bed when the floor is covered in dirty clothes and toys, etc. so I tell her that is the last job she can do but she gets to make everyones beds. She loves it.
Find what they enjoy and let them do it. Hope that helps :)



answers from Cleveland on

My kids are 6, 4 1/2 & 2 1/2... I still help them clean-up their rooms (to keep them on track, move stuff around to sweep & make sure it get's done), but they do help with house work. I feel kids chores should be based on their ablities... my kids are required to clean up toys before they go to bed each night. My 6 yr old likes setting the table for dinner & puts her folded clothes away after I carry them upstairs. My 4 1/2 yr old sets the table sometimes & helps bring down dirty clothes from upstairs. My 2 1/2 yr old helps me get stuff out of the fridge when I'm cooking... onion, butter, milk (if it's not a full gal), ect. All of them like to help put laundry in the washing machine - which ever one helps get to push the beeping buttons & start the washer. They also like helping to put away the groceries & helping me garden... it does take me a little longer to do the task sometimes, but it is time I'm spending w/ them & it teaches them to be helpful & responsible. My kids aren't old enough to take out the trash, but my daughter will put in a new trash bag when I'm running the full bag out. They also help to bag up the recycle stuff & get it ready to go out.

We don't really have rewards for chores... we feel that we are a team & inorder for a team to run smoothly, we all have to help it along. We do take the kids to McD's now & then for a treat and sometimes let them pick out something at the store. We are a very low income family, so rewards are hard for us to afford - so a lot of our "rewards" are walks in the park, playing games with the kids, sitting down & building w/ Legos or pushing cars & trains around on the floor w/ them... my kids kinda understand if they help, it gives mom & dad more time to be with them - and in their eyes that is enough of a reward.

I wish you luck - start off with just a few small ones & work up from their... I know as a kid mine were - feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, watering the cows & chickens, getting my brother feed & off to school, taking down, washing/drying, folding & putting away the clothes, taking out the trash, tending to the garden (dad planted, we weeded, hoes & picked it - it was over an acre), racking grass clipping & giving them to the cows & chickens, racking leaves, in the summer making lunch for my mom & brothers - guess in a way I was a mom before I had kids... my chore list started when I was younger then your kids & by 10 is when I was making lunch for everyone & it continued till I was 17 and married... but then it just normal for me to be a caretaker & I started taking care of my hubby & oldest daughter (who doesn't live with us - really long story) instead of my mom & brother. Oh BTW, there was nothing wrong with my mom - she just didn't like doing anything, except loading the dishwasher, but my step-dad thought she was a great mom & wife because everything was always done when he got home - including his lunch packed for the next day... he learned after I married & moved out who was doing the work.

I do understand teaching kids responsiblities, but please let them be kids too. Don't go to the extream like my mom did with me.



answers from Jacksonville on

I have four kids and a foreign exchange student. THis is how we do it.
The chores are broken into days.
Cat day, Dog Day, Kitchen day, and an off day.
Every day my kids have a responsibility.
Cat person:
Sunday through Friday, scoop litter and feed cats, sweep around litter box
Saturday, Do both bathrooms upstairs and down, along with cat duties. Sinks, floors, toilets
Dog person:
Sun-Fri, feed dogs, pick up poops in back yard
Saturday, Dining room and Foyer, Dust vacuum, wash windows, straighten, along with dog duties
Sun-Fri Wash, dry and put away dishes
Sat, dishes, wash, dry, and put away, sweep, and computer room, pick up dust, sweep
Off day
Sun-Fri, day off
Saturday, piano room and tv room, dust, pick up and sweep.
I give no allowance. THe reward is to go out and do something fun on Saturday afternoon or Sunday. If they look on the calendar Fri night and see what their job for the morning is and do it then they have more free time.
I started this when my oldest two were 12 and 6. My youngest two were 3 and an infant. I then would put the little ones in a room with an older one and have them teach the younger child. My now 21 year old pitches in on a day when he comes home on leave form the Navy.
I don;t expect perfection, if I want it done for a party then the dogs go in the kennel and I deep clean and the kids get out of my way. :o)
I do expect them to help out if I need the rooms cleaned for any reason and I will say Off person pick up the piano room or tv room. It usually gets done without complaints.



answers from Detroit on

i made a chore board. My 9 and 7 year old are responsible weekly for doing the kitty litter changing it once a week. They also have to feed them every day. I have other chores they get money for to do extra dough i either do 25 cents a chore or a penny. Sometime if there is a movie or like they want to go to the community pool thats there goal to do there chores. It ranges from either cleaning bathroom sinks and counters or toilets. Helping me and there father out with other chores, filling toilet paper, cleaning up after dinner putting away dishes, etc. I don't know what your living is like so you have to do it to fit you and your husbands life. I have markers so they have to mark the chore when there done.



answers from St. Louis on

Wow! 8 and 7? By that time, my older sister was in charge of cleaning the living room and I was in charge of cleaning the bathroom! My sister would dust, clean up as much as was needed (she would put people's things on their beds), and vaccuum. I'm not sure what else she did. I would clean the sink, mirror, toilet, bathtub, and sweep and mop. Our bathroom was really small, though. We all worked together to wash the dishes, weed the garden, and paint the picnic table every year. (That was really fun!) We all also knew how to do the laundry and would do it as we remembered or as we needed.

We cleaned the house about once a week. Just make a chart and see what happens.

**Side note: my boys are 3 and 1 year old. They help us go grocery shopping, pick up their toys, put their clothes away, set the table, and vaccuum (the love that one!). Our oldest also loves to "help" cook. Just let them do the things that interest them, and they'll do the others so they can get to do the things they want to do.


answers from San Francisco on

Hi, I have a 7 year old. He helps me dust his room, and mop. (i go over it again when he is done). He picks up the lemons that have fallen in the back yard, and stacks the toliet paper under the bath room sinks. When we do laundry, i sit in my room and fold, I hand him a stack of clothes and say 1st drawer, 4th drawer, 2nd drawer. He puts away his clothes and his baby brothers clothes. This involves him in the chores we do, he uses his brain thinking about what drawer he puts things in and he knows when we go to Target he gets something BECAUSE he has done something. He knows nothing in life is free you have to work for it! (only down fall, his drawers are a mess so now and then i go fix them again! :)



answers from Detroit on

We do what we call walk throughs, where the kids walk through the house and they have to put away whatever is laying around that is theirs. I explained that I don't want to spend my time puttting away their stuff. They put it away and they know where it is. On weekends they do a few choirs, folding towels, swiffer wood floors, wash down the kitchen chairs. Not much but it allows them to earn a few dollars and have a feeling of helping the family. :] They earn a dollar a chore unless its a bigger chore they earn two dollars.



answers from Benton Harbor on

definitely start now, I started my son at age 2 and we're still struggling some days hehe...if they like the computer try they can compete against others in the family and you can use it to help set their allowance, the winner can earn some special prize or everyone can submit a reward for the winner, then the person with the least points each month has to pay up :) whatever you do definitely start only gets harder later...good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions