Chores for Your Kids

Updated on February 23, 2011
J.M. asks from Fox River Grove, IL
12 answers

Just curious, how many kids do you have, what "chores" do they do and do you pay them an allowance? My husband and I keep trying to implement a "chore chart" for our 6, 5 and 2 year old but to be honest it is him and I that end up failing to enforce it. Just curious what other people do, my kids DO help clean up although it is a slow process with me nagging them the whole time! I feel like I am always telling them to clean up yet something is always messy!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Right now, my almost 8 yo has to:

make his bed
get himself dressed & ready for school
get the drinks for dinner
put his plate in the sink after dinner

If he does all things all week, he gets $4.
He is failing miserably.

I really like the "point system" that Stephanie H. described. I think I'm going to try that!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Richmond on

I don't get paid for doing housework, neither do my kids ;)

I started my girls on simple chores very early on (probably 1 1/2 and 3) SUPER easy stuff... they have always been eager to please and as a single mom at the time, I probably to a little advantage of their eagerness, but it's turned out really well! They've ALWAYS been my good helpers :)

The 2 year old can hand you things as you put them away (or have the 2 year old put things away that you hand them). Little stuff.

The 5 and 6 year olds can do more. My 5 and 7 year olds put away all their clean laundry (which I've cleaned and folded), they clean their room, feed/water the dog, put the recycling in the bin, empty small waste paper baskets, replace garbage bags, get their dirty dishes/clothes in the sink/hamper, etc... it helps SO MUCH! They do more than my fiance, LOL!

I've always failed at chore charts, but my daughters know what is expected of them. My 13 month old son will 'help' me put his toys in the bin, bring my diapers or his sippy cup if I ask... I'm really big on verbal praise. If the girls do a super exceptional job cleaning their room (like bust out the broom and dustpan without me asking), they might get a hersheys kiss or something special, but in our house, it's all about that constant verbal praise. It took a long time to get to where they are now, but persistance is key! Hang in there, they'll get it (maybe your husband will too!!)

On a side note, it is a constant struggle with my 5 year old. She'll do the work she's supposed to, but she knows that if she doesn't do it, her big sister will (lazy bones!)... I have to constantly poke my head in and remind her that we're not coloring/reading/watching tv/singing, and to clean up her stuff... it takes her a little longer, but she gets it done :)

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answers from Johnstown on

Older daughter is 10, twins are 6. From the time they were all 2, they were all responsible to help me sort dirty laundry and fold items such as towels/washclothes and match socks. Now that they're older, they're all responsible to take care of their rooms, make their beds, still help with laundry, care for our pet rabbit, clear off the table after meals and help dust/sweep. They get no allowance. Instead, they have a roof over their heads, a tv to watch and internet to play on occasionally. If they do their chores without much of a hard time, they get to have friends over and/or go to a movie or bowling or something to that effect. However, my kids do not get money for helping out at home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

My kids are 6 and 8, they clean their rooms, pick up their own stuff around the house and put away their own laundry. They feed the dog and do other little stuff that I ask - like open the blinds in the morning, put tp in the bathroom, get out more paper towels, maybe a little vacuuming etc.. They do not get paid for any of this.
In the summer, when they are off from school, they do more chores on a schedule and get an allowance. They help weed the garden, take out the compost, empty bedroom trash cans, fold towels, more vacuuming etc. We are getting ready to move into a bigger house that has more bathrooms than our house now (only 1) and they will be in charge of cleaning there own bathroom (with vinegar spray) and vacuuming their rooms and the adjacent liv room. They will also dust. This summer they will be 7 and 9 and I think they will b old enough to have the sustained chore list this next year even after school starts.



answers from Washington DC on

The kids got $1 a week through elem. school, $5 a week in Middle School and $10 a week in High School. With each step, they needed to do more, without being told. Chores and allowance aren't directly related, but they can be fined for things - like missing the bus because they didn't clean their room and couldn't find their socks. A trip to school is a week's allowance if it was their fault and they made us late to work.

Chores include loading/unloading the dishes (for a younger child, maybe just the plates and bowls), sorting and/or folding laundry (a 2 yr old can help match socks), putting away own laundry, feeding pets, cleaning room, taking out trash and recycling, cat litter....

When the kids were little (before our youngest), they were required to fold and put away their laundry but in order to keep on task, we'd set up a family movie and all folded together. That way they didn't feel stuck in their rooms.

I also find that it's easier to direct them to do one thing at a time. Pick up your blocks. Now pick up all the dolls. Make a game of it. Set a timer and put out 2 baskets. Whoever gets the most toys up wins.

Some things aren't "chores" in our book, but general "teamwork" and helping out around the house. If the kid says, "I didn't take it out..." then say, "I need us to be a team and as a team everyone needs to pitch in even if it wasn't theirs. One day I'll ask your sister the same so she'll take care of you."


answers from Dallas on

You're going to love this- I have implemented this for my 7 and 4 year olds- Dave Ramsey's Finacial Peace Jr. It's really great, it gets the kids excited about earning money and teaches them to save at the same time.

I never, ever, EVER give an 'allowance'. An allowance is something they get no matter what they do. My kids earn 'commission', which is money that they earn ONLY when they do the work.

I thought my four year old wouldn't really get the concept, but she LOVES to help now. She is absolutely thrilled to see her money jars growing. (They each have three money jars labeled 'spend', 'save', and 'give')

My seven year old has chores like "set the dinner table",, "feed the pets", "clear off the table", "empty the dishwasher (except knives)", swiffer the living room floor, keep rooom clean, take our recycling, take dirty clothes to laundry. We have separated her chore chart into three categories- daily chores (that she has to do no matter what), extra chores (irregular tasks like swiffering, picking up the living room, and emptying dishwasher), and bonus chores, like 'an act of kindness' and 'keep your room clean for a whole week'.

My four year old has much simpler tasks- 'give the guinea pig a handful of hay', 'put toys away', 'put forks on the table before dinner', etc., and she gets paid as soon as she does the chore for positive reinforcement.

They love it!


answers from Chicago on

I have 2 kids - 14 and 5. The 5 year old does not help much. She HATES cleaning! I will try to get her to help with her toys which is a huge struggle. But, when I do my house cleaning on the weekends, she will want to dust or things like that, so that's about as far as we have got!!
The 14 year old get shome from school and does the dishes, cleans up the potty pad from our puppy and will fold any laundry that needs folding. That is about all she does. I try to get her to keep her room clean (haha! a teenage girls room being clean) and sometimes on the weekends I may have her help clean her own bathroom. I pay her monthly cell phone bill. That is her payment. Which really isn't much. With Verizon, it was only $9.99 to add a line and $10 extra for unlimited texting. I tell her it is more :)
Too bad for my kids though - growing up I had no chores! My mom did everything. Sometimes I blame that on my laziness :)


answers from Spokane on

We have a rewards chart for our 6 y/o. It includes feeding the dog, putting dirty clothes in the laundry room, clearing the table after meals, kind/good deeds, brushing teeth, showering and a few others. It's not necessarily a chore list, but his list of daily responsibilities. He does not get $ for doing these things but gets a point for each one done either on his own or being asked only 1 time. If I have to ask more than once then no point.
He is working toward a batting net that is $80 dollars. So he has to earn 80 points before he gets the net. He doesn't have the best concept of money yet so the reward chart works well for us. There is ALWAYS something he wants :) and this way he earns it! When he earns his net we'll come up with a new target and they are not always monetary items, sometimes it's just a simple play-date so the points he has to earn are maybe 10.



answers from Dallas on

I have 3 kids, but my 7 year old is the only one old enough for chores. We have a chart on the fridge that lists his daily and weekly chores that he can mark off as he does them. Some things he doesn't get paid for like keeping his room clean, putting away laundry, etc. Other things, like taking out the garbage, dusting, handling all of the recycling, etc. he gets paid a small amount per chore. I have a list of "extras" written on the chart in case he wants to make some extra money to save for something special. Those are things like scrubbing the bathtubs, helping to clean/sweep the garage, etc. He really loves to check things off his list and seems very proud of what he can accomplish!


answers from St. Louis on

6yrs and 5yrs do chores, but we don't make a list just yet. It is on a "do as mom or dad says" basis. I must be in the minority of parents whose kids just do something when asked. I very rarely if ever get back talk when asking my kids to do a chore.

Examples of the chores they do:
"dustbusting" the kitchen tile floor
cleaning their own room (cleaning consists of dustbusting/sweeping the hardwood, putting toys away in an organized manner and hanging up all clothes and just basically making sure the ground is free of clutter and the room is organized overall. They are quite good at it!)
Cleaning up their plate after dinner and any other mess they make in kitchen
Getting bookbag and other items ready for school next day

The kids don't get paid for these chores. Once they are older and need an "allowance" maybe hubby and I will add to the list and they will get paid for those additional items. Currently, the chores they have now are ones I feel they should be doing simply because they are part of the household. Most of the chores are cleaning up after themselves and no one else. Once they start scrubbing the toilets, I will prob feel obligated to give them a little cash!



answers from Appleton on

Giving your kids chores is TEACHING them. My best friend's mom never taught her how to do anything. Her husband had to show her how to wash dishes, vacuum, dust, cook and do laundry. She was in her mid 30's when I met her and cooking was still hard for her. I explained to her that you put on the item that takes the longest to cook 1st ect and she was amazed. OHHH that's how you do it!!! I never could figure out how to make everything come out at the same time.
Instead if nagging, teach your kids that this is OUR home and we must all work together to keep it nice.
Remember knowledge is power the more knowledge we have the empowered we are.


answers from Washington DC on

My kids all help out. My 3 year old LOVES to vacuum! Weird I know, but he loves to do it, so why not! Of course my husband or I help every time, but he likes to be in charge. All 3 of my kids help with laundry, dishes, and keeping their rooms/toy room cleaned up. The kids like to clean the bathrooms, so we let them help a little. Sometimes I feel like they do too much, BUT I know we need their help to be able to support their activities. No allowance, but my kids want for nothing. We keep trying to do an allowance, but it doesn't work too well. So maybe we can try to implement $2 a week, $1 of that to go to church.

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