Chores for Kids ?? - Appleton,WI

Updated on September 28, 2011
M.. asks from Appleton, WI
20 answers

Do your children have chores daily, weekly? Do they get paid an allowance? At what age do you start with chores?

A few of my friends have commented about the chores their children do and I guess I never thought about it. My kids will help if I'm doing a big cleaning on a Saturday night (I know - I know how to party like a rockstar on Saturday night) during the winter months, but other than that I don't expect them to do anything. I'm thinking I would like a little bit of help around here. I feel like I get burnt out sometimes.


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answers from Honolulu on

For me, "Chores" means, helping the FAMILY and that is what it means, to be a part of the family.
Thus, my kids are not paid for it.
But if they do something really great/thoughtful.... around the house, I give them some money.
But the money, is NOT the point to it all.
It is, just being responsible and helping the family.

I DO expect my kids, to partake in the family responsibilities.
Everyone, is a part of that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with what has been said already. One, chores and allowance are two separate things. You do chores around the house because you are a member of the family, and we ALL help. Allowance is to learn about money, and how to manage it.

My kids are 14 and 11. They set the table (and have been doing so since preschool), and clear it as well. DH is a control-freak about the dishwasher, so he is still the one who washes up after dinner. The kids help make dinner sometimes, especially the older one. The older one empties the dishwasher. When I ask them to, they wipe down counters and sweep the floor.

They keep their rooms clean (their rooms are always clean; I don't really get how some kids are allowed to have complete chaos in their rooms), and strip and wash their sheets once a week. They put away their own laundry. They do any extra chores we ask them to do.

However, it is clear that they could be doing LOTS more. I'm inspired by the other posters!

I think it's important for kids to learn how to take care of a house so that when they are on their own, they feel competent and independent, instead of lazy and helpless. And seriously, what women would want to marry my sons if they expected to be waited on?!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Are you kids really little? If they are under two, I wouldn't expect much help. If they are older, I expect some level of help.

My kids are 8, 4, 3, and 15 months (and in less than a week, a newborn!). My oldest two empty the dishwasher. One does the top, one does the bottom. My 3 year old puts the silverware away. My kids are all short and too little reach cabinets up high, so we rearranged our kitchen so all the main dishes are in the bottom cabinets. Makes it easier for them.

All three clear off the table. They also spray it down and clean it with paper towels and cleaners. My oldest will sweep. They sometimes also wipe down the counters.

With laundry, all three help with that too. They will toss laundry in the washer, and my oldest will put soap in it and run it. They did two loads today (I have a huge prego belly and feel like an invalid these days! So they've been helping). They will carry finished loads to the couch to be folded...including my 15 month old. My oldest will help fold laundry. They all take stacks of clothes and put them away, three year old included. When I wash a load of kitchen towels/rags, all three will fold those and put them away.

They help clean the front room, playroom, and craft table. They are learning to vacuum. They help dust and clean off windows.

So...yes, my kids help:-) I would be cleaning all the time if they didn't help! I think it's a great thing for them to learn. I try to keep it fun for them. Usually they are happy to do it. Sometimes, not so much. But I LITERALLY need their help right now. They do great. And usually they have a great attitude about it unless it's cleaning the playroom. They don't like that so much.

I'll turn on "cleaning music" which is really just upbeat fun music that we all like. Not little kid music:-) I really try hard to be encouraging and try to associate positive attitudes with cleaning. I want them to remember that and not feel negative about it. But I imagine as they age, they'll get more negative:-)

HOpe that helps! I think you should definitely have them help.

Oh, and I totally forgot...allowance. No, we don't do allowance right now. We need to start with our oldest. We've put a lot of thought into allowance and how we want it to work. We don't think they should be paid for being a member of the family and doing normal chores. Nor do we think they should be paid just because they should get an allowance. We kind of want it to mimic real life. You need to work in order to get money. And there are normal things expected of you that you get no pay for.

SO...our solution has been to not pay our kids anything for contributing to the family - no pay for the normal jobs. But if they want some money for something, we have special jobs, above and beyond normal jobs, that they can choose to do. We can hire them to do the work, and they will get paid a set amount per job. They can do as many of them as they want to get paid. I think it teaches that working for money is what is well as teaching that there are normal things you do when you're in a family that you don't get paid for.

We were thinking when our kids turn 8, they can start earning money (I guess technically it's not allowance, it's hiring them)...what they get paid depends on how much effort and work they put into doing our "hired jobs". Guess we should start with the 8 yr old! We might lower the age that they can do it, if one of them really wants to.

I think it's very important to teach them how to not only manage their money and use it wisely...but to also teach them to EARN their money;-)

Hope that helps!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

My children work daily. We all live here, so we all help keep it clean. I do not pay them for doing what they ought to do. I don't get paid for cooking, cleaning, etc. Now, if they want to "hire" someone, like a sibling, to do their work, they will have to pay them for it, just like the real world. That seldom happens though. We are a family with a common goal. We work together and we play together. Now, if someone else wants to hire them to do their work (raking leaves for the neighbor, plowing the snow, etc.), I'm all for it. I think it is a great enterprising thing that my children have to be creative and go out and drum up business if they want to earn money. Nobody pays us to do what we are responsible for in our own home. That is the real world. If you want to earn money, you go out and earn it (or stay in and earn it, as the case may be (internet work, etc.). We also do not require our children to purchase their own clothes, etc. It's part of our responsibility to do so. Of course, we have a say in how much we spend and what they wear.
You really are not doing them any favors by not teaching them to help around the house. I can't imagine what that would look like in our home. Yikes. I would be working around the clock. Many hands make light work!
Oh, I should have read the other responses first. Just read Teresa C.'s response. It is perfect. That's what I wish I would have said. Very well put.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My five year old has been doing chores for almost a year. I got her a chore chart (you can download them off of the internet or just make one) and put jobs that I expect her to do on there. She is in kinder now, so her jobs are: feed the cats, do her homework, make her bed, clean up toys. There are also spots for special jobs I ask her to do and a smiley face spot for having a good attitude. If she has a rotten attitude, I take away checkmarks. If she gives me a hard time or whines about cleaning up, she doesn't get that checkmark. It has worked well for us.

I just made a chore chart yesterday for my 3 year old because he likes his sister's chart and expressed an interest. His jobs are cleaning up toys, staying clean and dry (a.k.a. no potty accidents), doing "homework" with Mommy (like a page of a workbook or coloring something), having a good attitude (no tantrums), feeding the cats and not pitching a fit or crying at bedtime.

My daughter gets 10 cents per checkmark. She usually makes around $2 per week doing her chores. I have her split her money into 3, saving and spending. This teaches her that she can't spend every dime she makes. My son is happy with just the checkmarks at this point, so I haven't started giving him allowance yet.

Hope this helps!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

You've gotten a lot of great responses. I'm in agreement that chores and allowance are separate issues. Like someone said, I don't get paid money to do my household chores, but the reward I get is a clean house, a nice yard, etc.

I came across an article recently about teaching kids about money using a simple ledger system. While I couldn't find the exact article again when I did a search, I did find something similar. Check it out: If the link doesn't work, just google "bank of dad"

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My 3.5 and 1.5 year old have chores of sorts: empty left over food into the garbage and put dishes in the sink, put away shoes/coats when we return home from being out, clean up their bedroom floor before bed, clean up the playroom before dinner. My 3.5 year old also helps me put away laundry. And, soon I am going to make them sweep up their crumbs after dinner (I just need to buy two brooms). They don't get an allowance since I am a strong believer that every house member contributes to the household economy in some way.

With that said, they do get whatever change is in their daddy's pockets at the end of the day (trying to teach the 3.5 year old about money). And maybe when she is 4 we will start giving her $1 a week. With that said, 20% of whatever she gets will go into a bank savings account.

I am so looking forward to the day that they clean my whole house on the cheap! And mow the lawn! and do the bulk of fall yard clean up!

I have a neighbor that had 8 brothers and sisters. She told me that she was put in charge of family dinner at 10. Could you imagine learning how to cook for that many people at 10? Great lady, strong and wise. Housework is a an important educational tool, if you ask me, they are never to young to learn how to clean up and be organized.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

My 3 year-old is expected to:

feed dogs (3) daily
put his laundry in hamper
put his dishes in sink/dishwasher after each meal
put away his laundry after I have washed and folded it
put away his shoes/coat/lunch box after preschool

He does those things pretty happily and is eager to do more when I ask him. He loves to help cook dinner and loves to help dad with outdoor projects and yard work. Crazy kid gets excited to help pick up dog poop. As he gets older we will add more chores, but I think kids should start helping as soon as they are able. My son has had some sort of chores since he was 2. He is learning responsibility as well as how to cook, do laundry etc., skills he will need when he is older.
I do give him an allowance ($3/week), but it is not payment for doing chores, it is money of his own so he can learn how money works, how to save, how to give to those who have less than we do, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

Yes, give your children chores. No, allowance and chores are two different things. How old are your children? There is an age when children WANT to help...that's when to start, when it's more trouble to let them help. Let them help anyway. Praise the help they give you.

If you've passed that window of opportunity, start asap. They live there, they need to help. When they move out on their own one day, don't you want them to have the life skills to know how to manage day to day existence? They won't get them unless you give them.

I take care of lots of children and some of the older kids who have no chores are a mess. The younger ones do better than most of the older ones I care for as far as knowing how to put things away, where things are or where things go, getting things for themselves and so on.

As soon as my child (now grown) could stand on a step stool, she was in the kitchen cooking with me (or my sister or her step-mother) and she looks back on it fondly. Now we have her daughter (my granddaughter) right in there with us (she started at age 3). She loves it.

If you start young enough, chores aren't chores, they are a part of LIFE! An expected part of day to day life.

I'm all for allowance after a certain age, but don't believe in paying a child to clean up their own mess or help with the family in a house they live in for free that you own or rent with your money! It's not good for them, their values or their skills.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We have a chore chart. It is on the calendar.
Each child picks a marker color. My 10 yo picked blue.
So every day he has a set of chores that coincide with that day.
there are three days, CAT, DOG, KITCHEN
First day he has a blue C for cat,
his duties include everything cat, litter, feeding, sweeping, picking up cat puke
On the next day he has a blue D for dog
His chores include feeding, letting out, picking up poops and puke-ups(these happen) Keeping the water bowl filled
On the next day he has a blue K for kitchen,
Duties are setting the table, washing, filling the dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen counters.

The girls have either pink or purple. When 10 yo is on Cat the 13 yo has pink K for kitchen and the 16yo has a purple D for dog.

On Saturday the kids have three rooms that coincide with their day,
Kitchen - breakfast nook - family room
Cat - Laundry room (cat litter room) - upper hall - downstairs bath
Dog - dining room - foyer - piano room

THey all dust, vacuum, clean toilets, sinks, windows, etc.

They all cook, pay the house bills, do car maintenance, and laundry.

My goal is to get them ready for life. Our 22 yo thanked us while in boot camp for being so hard and actually teaching him to do things like deep clean a toilet and iron his clothes.

I started this about 7 years ago. THen the two little ones worked together, or the girls would work together and I would help the baby.
Yes, at 3 he had a sponge and cleaned the sinks and toilets.
All I have to say if they squabble is "look at the calendar".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

My children ages 5 and up have chores simple things keeping there rooms and bathrooms clean, tidying shared areas, litter box and small animal cages. My 11 year old also has to help cook once a week, walk the dogs twice a week, and clean her personal aquarium as needed. If they had a D or lower in school I give them extra chores such as Vacuuming or Dusting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

start at 18 months. My youngest wipes and picks up items and puts them away daily. The oldest does laundry, wipes counters and sweeps and other daily chores. The oldest gets an allowance once a month for her to learn how to manage $, not for helping clean her own home.. I offer extra chores like filing my papers or cleaning blinds etc for pay. Get your kids to help with chores whether you pay them or not. Kids should learn how to maintain whatever space they occupy (home, work....)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have the same philosophy as S.H. Our kids do chores all the time. They are 7 and 13. Some of their chores that they don't get paid for are:
Feeding the dog
Feeding the pig
Dusting their rooms
Putting dishes in the dishwasher/Putting dishes away
Making their beds
Putting away clothes/toys/other belongings
Oldest son often cooks dinner & babysits (sometimes we give him bonus money for babysitting)
Changing the air filter in the air conditioner once a month (13 year old)

They can earn extra money for doing extra things like:
Raking dog/pig poop
Cleaning base boards/Ceiling Fans/Air Vents
Other things we think of

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

Your kids get an allowance every week. Do you make them work to earn their allowance? What are the advantages of creating “jobs” (chores) for your kids in exchange for earning their allowance?

1. Your kids will learn the value of a dollar. It’s easy for kids (and adults) to go through money like crazy when they’re spending money that isn’t their own. When kids have to work for their money, and they realize how much time and effort it takes to generate a given amount of money, they usually make more conservative spending choices.
2. Your kids will learn to budget their money. Assuming that you don’t grant your kids loans every time they run out of money, your kids will learn to conserve their money for the expenses that they can anticipate.
3. Your kids will learn accountability. When work is performed unsatisfactorily (or not performed at all), you can deduct a proportionate amount from their allowance for the week in which the work was under-performed or not performed. Kids then learn that, in order to get the money that they want or need, they must perform their work satisfactorily. (NOTE: when holding your kids accountable, always communicate with your kids about what your expectations are, what their performance was, what the gap was between expectations and performance, and why it’s important to the family to perform to expectations.)
4. Your kids will learn to have a work ethic. By learning that the family depends on them to get certain chores done, and by experiencing accountability when chores do not get done, kids will generally learn the importance of work ethic.
All four of the advantages above are life lessons: lessons that will benefit kids into their adulthood. In sum, making kids work for their allowance is a good way to create responsible, productive adults.



answers from Spokane on

My girls are 5, 3.5 and 10 months. The older two have "chores" that they do every day. They do not get an allowance. They clean up their toys when they're done playing. They take their dishes to the counter when they're done eating. They hang up their coats and put their shoes on the rack when we get home. They put their dirty clothes in the hamper, and put away the clean clothes I've folded.

Additionally, my girls are given the option to help with cooking, folding clothes and other (heavier) chores, but I don't force them. Once they're older, then we'll institute an allowance..but not for the things they already do. Maybe for things like washing floors and mowing the lawn..but not for picking up and taking care of their own stuff and contributing to the day-to-day running of the house.



answers from Davenport on

Well, personally, at 6 and 8, I would think they should have some kind of chores, as a natural part of a family unit. At the very least to clean up their own messes, toys, their rooms, etc.

My kids are expected to help around the house, at 2 and 4 years old, but thye don't have a specific list of chores for each one, thye just know they are expected to clean up their own mess and do as I tell/ask them otherwise. They clean up their toys each day, in their bedrooms and downstairs, they help dust ( swiffer dusters are SOOOO much FUN ( for them)) weekly, put away silverware and plastic dishes, help match/fold socks and put away their own clothes, take their own dishes to the counter by the sink after meals.

At 8, I had to fold nearly all the family laundry, put away all the dishes, vaccuum and dust the house weekly, and keep my room clean, as well as feed the dogs. I did not get an allowance, ever,doing chores was part of being part of a family. If chores and homework weren't done, you did not get ot do ANYTHING else until they were done, in our house - no TV, to reading for un, no playing outside..and as wer were older, no going out, no phone converstaions, no friends over, till all chores for the day, or for the week( if it was a weekend) were done.

I am not sure yet what we will do about allowances, but my kids will always have chores to help maintain our home and learn responsibility.



answers from Minneapolis on

I have a 6-year old and OFTEN watch my 7 nieces and nephews (ages 3-9). Our family motto: Everyone helps everyone. Clean up your own mess. You don't get an allowance for chores. Your allowance is for being a valuable member of the family and helping others.

Here's a few hints: For younger kids, make it easy to pick up toys and dirty clothes. Create and clearly label (with words or pictures) boxes for specific toys (e.g. stuffed animals, dinosaurs, batman, bakugon, etc.) and a dirty clothes hamper. Telling kids to "pick up your toys" means nothing to them. If you say, "Put your Batman stuff in the Batman box," he'll know exactly what to do. (this is good for husbands too :)

I keep a spray bottle of homemade non-toxic house cleaner: mostly water, with a 1/4 cup dish soap, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and a couple Tbsp of Borax. Once a week, I give the spray bottle and a rag and show him what I want wiped down. (1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar makes a good non-toxic glass cleaner).

When kid family or friends are over those kids know that they have to clean up after themselves before they leave. House rules. But I make it easy for them with the organization. And they think spraying and wiping stuff is fun. (Really!)

Except for urine. Some of the 7-year old boys were having fun in the bathroom in a way that would never occur to girls. I caught them and simply handed them the cleaner and rags and told them to clean it up. They whined about it, but --importantly--they never did it again.



answers from Milwaukee on

My 4 year old has had a chore chart for 1.5 years. This week we just changed it and updated it. But on a daily basis..he needs to wake up and go the bathroom (not in pull up), make his bed, feed the dog, take trash out of his bedroom to the kitchen, clean up toys, get dressed by self (day clothes and pjs). He also helps me clean on days we clean. I let him pick and usually he picks to clean toilets, wash windows and dust. He gets no allowance...these duties are part of family duties and part of being a family. We all help each other. We let him pick out the chores for the chore chart and so far these have been lots of fun for him. He wakes up and says..can i feed the dog now? too cute! Each family is different and you probably should teach your kids that it is good to help the family but you will figure out what works for your family.

oh i forgot the easy stuff..he has to clear the table of his dishes, put them in the sink, pack his own toys for outings, and put his clothes in the hamper.



answers from Minneapolis on

my kids always helped with chores-starting with picking up their toys then moved forwards-they didnt get an allowance for it-i explained first of all a family works together to keep a clean house-we all make the mess we all clean it up.and then i told them when they said their friends get money for helping-i said well whos gonna pay me for cooking,cleaning laundry shopping etc.?..they understood then-never had a problem with a single working parent things were just a bit tighter-their granparents liked to pay for good grades also-i put a stop to that-thats their only real job is going to school.



answers from Dallas on

my kids (help) pick up their toys, put their clothes in the hamper, & help put their clothes up when clean
my 7yr old also is in charge of feeding & walking her dog, she also unloads the dishwasher, picks up the outside toys, & cleans her room that she shares with her younger sister.
they do not receive a regular allowance, I really just am too inconsistent & forget, but I also don't think they should get "paid" to pick up after themselves & help out with family things. they do receive plenty of rewards (sometimes money for their accounts/piggy banks) for being good

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