Do I Expect Too Much from My Kiddo?

Updated on July 04, 2011
S.C. asks from Milwaukee, WI
46 answers

My daughter is 5. It's just me and her (she sees her dad for 8hrs on sunday). She has a list of chores that she needs to do. Empty my lunchbox and hers, feed cat at night, clean off kitchen table (her plate and stuff and any condiments), swiffer sweep one room, take out recycle garbage, help w/ her laundry (go down to help put in washer, go down to help move to dryer, go back down to help get it out, fold and put away socks and undies). She earns a dime for each of these and has to save 10% every week. When she whines about it I remind her that she is part of the family and needs to help contribute. If she is complaining about not wanting to do her chores, she has to sit at the kitchen table till she is ready. This morning it was just cereal for breakfast. It annoyed me that she just came and sat down. I asked if she saw spoons or milk on the table. When she said no and got up to get them I reminded her again that this is not a restaurant. It's a family and she needs to help.

Am I expecting too much? None of my friend's make their kids do this stuff, or much of anything. Am I taking away her "childhood" by having her help??

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So What Happened?

Adding......we have a chore chart on the fridge and she gets to draw pictures w/ the wipe off marker or put different magnets up in the area she did. The only really daily thing is the one room sweep. Laundry is about once a week and I added it cause she would ask me to wash some shirt right away so she could have it agian the next day. I wanted her to see what it takes to wash clothes. The recycle garbage is every few days cause it takes time fill up. Feeding the cat is daily cause she wanted the cat. Lunchboxes are just during the week. If we are out or busy and they don't get done, that's ok. if she's sick, I don't make her do them. I never tell her she didn't do things right or quick enough. When we come home and she cranks them out right away I do praise her and let her know how proud I am she did them so quick and go them done and now how we have more time for fun.

And I do say let's get "our" chores done. I do housework or dinner prep while she is doing her stuff.

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answers from Harrisburg on

You are expecting a bit too much for that age. Chores is fine, but I think because you are a single M., you are pushing her to do more to help you out. Cut her some slack.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I don't think you are asking too much - she'll learn a great sense of responsibility. I would only suggest you make it fun, and praise her to make it a more positive experience for her. You might do this, but maybe comment on how big she is when she helps or how big of a help she is when she does things w/o whining or asking. Sometimes even suprise her with a reward for her hard work - a day at the zoo etc. That way she'll fell a sense of accomplishment which will carry with her her whole life.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

Nope, I don't think you are expecting too much. She needs to learn to be responsible and not to grow up to be a brat and pampered. You are not taking her childhood away!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Denver on

I agree with Lesley S. 100%. The restaurant remark rubbed me wrong too. Thats not a respectful way to speak to anyone. I'm not trying to judge. I'm not a morning person at all, I'm sure I've snapped at hubby or kids :) but perhaps it could be rephrased next time so your daughter doesn't feel belittled.

I think you're "kind of" expecting too much. its great that she its doing chores and learning responsibility BUT she is only 5. Why does she have to empty YOUR lunch box? Would you come home, toss your coat in the floor, take off your shoes and then have her hang up your coat and put your shoes away? I think you should each empty your own lunch box together. That way you are both taking responsibility for your OWN things. Laundry seems a little excessive. my kiddos help sort colors, whites etc., help with folding and they put their own clothes away (as well as a 3 year old can lol). Theres nothing wrong with her running a swiffer a couple days a week. My 7 year old vacuums occasionally. Not well, but he tries :) I am all for chores! I have a 3 and 7 year old. They both pick up their toys, put their clothes in the hamper, and put dirty dishes in the sink every day. They put laundry away on laundry days, plus my 7 year old gets the trash bags from the bathrooms and put them in the kitchen trash on trash day. Dad or i take the trash outside. During school, homework is done before play or cub scouts.

I think you're definitely on the right track, but remember she is a kid. It seems like since you're questioning if this is too much anyway, you probably think it is. The 2 of you are a family unit, but she is not your equal. Yikes, don't have her thinking she is an equal, then when shes a teenager, she will do as she pleases!

Good luck

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I am also pretty "old school" in my parenting. I don't buy into this new fangled parenting fad where the kids run the house because the parents are too afraid to make them mad or damage their psyche.

That being said, while I appreciate what you are teaching her, please remember that she is a child, not your equal, & not an adult who should have to share duties with you 50/50. I don't think she should have to fill the void (responsibility wise) that not having the other parent in the house leaves. By the list of chores, I would've expected she was in middle or high school & I do think it's a bit much to expect of a kid that age.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

I think it's too much. My oldest daughter turns 5 in two months and there's no way I'd expect her to do all yours does. What I DO expect of her is to put her dirty clothes in the hamper and the clean ones away, but *I* do the washing and folding; she empties her OWN lunchbox; clears her plate (as does my 3 year old); she also puts the recycling into the proper places, but *I* take it out. And I don't make her clean 'common areas' yet. One day, but not at 5.

I totally get that you're teaching her responsibility, but I think it's just a bit much for her age. And the part that REALLY bugged me? This:

"This morning it was just cereal for breakfast. It annoyed me that she just came and sat down. I asked if she saw spoons or milk on the table. When she said no and got up to get them I reminded her again that this is not a restaurant. It's a family and she needs to help."

I can't even really say *why* this bugged me so much, but just the tone of it comes across as kinda it was from an older teenage sister or something. IDK.

Sorry....just my opinion *shrug*

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Seems like a lot of chores at 5 but I think it's great to be a productive member of the household. She is five though, not an equal. I have been a divorced mom since my daughter was four. What I think would work well is if you didn't ask her an obvious answer ("do you see spoons or milk"?) and then finished off pretty negative that it isn't a restaurant. That sets the tone for a pretty negative day. I don't run down directly for the milk and spoons either on a Saturday morning. I would have approached it more like "Good morning love, we are going to have breakfast now. Could you please get the spoons and milk"? It's tough as a mom to go it alone, I know, my daughter is 17 now. Happy workers (family, whatever) are better workers in my experience.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Well your daughter seems real productive. And she is 5 and she is doing a lot.
But don't get 'irritated' at her if she makes mistakes.
The human brain is not fully developed until 26 years old.

All I know is, my Mom was like that. She was the oldest in her family. Her parents were not home much and were poor and worked all the time. So my Mom was the alternate "parent." She did all those chores and more and took care of her siblings too.
But she still, really looks back on it in a not good way. She said she NEVER had a childhood. At all. Because she was responsible for so many things. She could do only that and her school work. Her parents even thought of holding her back from school, just so she could stay home and still do the household chores and helping with her siblings. So... she was NOT thought of as a 'child' at all.
She was thought of as a 'cog' in a wheel.
I remember even my late Dad saying to us "Mom had a bad childhood... she doesn't like to talk about it..."
My Mom no longer feels this way- but before, she really resented her parents/family. They put a lot of pressure on her. Of which "pressure" is all about "Expectations."

Sometimes she looks at my kids and tells them "you're lucky your Mommy loves you so much and plays with you." Or, "You're lucky you have a childhood and are not over-scheduled..."
When she says those things to my kids... I KNOW where it is coming from. HER childhood... of which she was expected to be an 'adult.'

I am not criticizing you.
But developing a child is about developing their entire being. The 'whole' child. In all respects. Not just in discipline.
Sometimes my Mom would say that as a child she didn't even know how to be 'silly' like all the other kids. Because, because of her 'responsibilities' she was just always serious or having to do so much already plus her schoolwork too. But that is all she knew.

Kids make mistakes.
Kids are not perfect.
Kids will rebel or not.
Kids are kids.
It is childhood.
But if your child has a balance... then that is fine.

My kids do do chores.
And it is per their age.
Every kid should do chores.
Per their age/development/motor-skill ability.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It sounds like you're probably on track, if she's having fun and feeling the rewards of her labors.

Five is an interesting age. Kids are capable of taking on quite a bit of responsibility at this age, but their heads and hearts are not always in it, nor should we expect them to be. They need plenty of free, unstructured time and play, as well as structure. My grandson and I break up tasks into fun, cooperative bits, some of which he does, some of which I do. I have always tried to model the (very real) joy of doing a job well, and the pleasure of service to others. My mom was a rigid and joyless taskmaster, and I didn't learn the pleasure of work until eventually seeing it modeled by other adults.

But there is a very clear difference between what 'he needs' to do, and what I need him to do. He doesn't 'need' to clean the floor, HE needs to play. I need him to help pick up toys off the floor because of back pain. So, I present it that way. I think it's confusing to try to convince children 'they need' to do what parents want or need done, and unfair, and they will eventually be telling other people, erroneously, what "they need" to do.

Gradually, children do come to understand that they also want and need their families to function well. They want and need fairness and balance. They want and need to learn adult skills, which eventually include organization and scheduling. They want and need a clean space to play and an orderly home. They want and need food, and can contribute to making meals happen. These realizations are dawning on my grandson naturally as an outcome of his everyday experiences, and he's stepping up his own participation, cheerfully and without nagging.

In the meantime, I just tell him I NEED his help, or that he can make some desirable outcome arrive faster by helping me. I express gratitude and admiration for the contributions he makes, and because he NEEDS connection and appreciation, he willingly contributes. It works for us.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

My kids always had chores. I didn't have charts and I never paid them. Helping was just part of every day life and the things I had the kids do were subject to change at any time.

I have some friends that have the philosophy that kids only get to be kids for so long and shouldn't have to do chores. All they should have to do is get good grades. Interestingly enough, it backfired. The kids don't take their grades seriously. Both have adult kids who've moved back home because they weren't responsible enough to make it on their own. By responsible I mean go to work every day, pay bills and do their own laundry once a week.
They have kids in high school that don't pick up after themselves let alone help with any yardwork, dishes or laundry. Both sets of parents wonder where they went wrong.
I personally think chores are good for kids. How a parent implements that is an individual thing.

Yours isn't the only kid that will complain about having to do things they don't really love to do. My daughter hated her turn to do the dishes. I told her that was okay....I didn't say she had to like it, I just said she had to do it.

Hang in there.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Not at all.. helping is good.. but remember she is only 5. She will forget... just be patient with her and dont come down on her for not doing chores according to your standards.. you are teaching her, remember... not making her a little "slave".... no offense.. please..

Just keep on teaching her in a loving manner and she will grow up to be a wonderful woman oneday.

We all need discipline and routine... If she does not do something immediately, dont scold her... just remind her why you asked her to do it in the first place..

she is only 5

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

My son is 15 now and he has been helping with the household chores since he was that age. Like you, it is just the two of us, and we are team. Not all of the chores are daily chores (like laundry), but I think it has made him appreciate what it takes to run a household. (Tho' at 15 he has a bad case of the rebellion LOL)

I also keep a chore chart on the fridge so that he knows that I have responsibilities too. My chore chart has always been longer than his. :)

I give mine a flat amount of money each month to do what he wants with. He has really learned to save and think about his purchases since I started this. I think it is great that you "pay" her for chores and have her save some - it teaches financial responsibility.

Just make sure you take time to play, laugh and giggle, and be silly together. Remember, she is only 5. I think you can find a balance between chores and fun. Just keep the love flowing.

Good Luck
God Bless

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't think parents expect enough of their kids most of the time. I hate the excuse of "he's too young" or "he doesn't understand". Kids aren't stupid and we need to stop treating them as if they were. Yes, chores should be age appropriate(yours sound as if they are) but these are things everyone needs to know how to do. Not only are you teaching her to be responsible and how to clean up after herself, but you are teaching her how to work with others and get things done as part of a group- even if it's just you and her. Even my 16 month old will pick up her dirty diaper and throw it in the trash and also help me take her clothes( a couple shirts at a time) into her room after they have been folded. Kids have plenty of time to play and be a kid- but part of being a kid is doing chores and learning what you will need to know as an adult. You don't magically become responsible when you turn 18 or 21 or older. You need to be taught this when you are little. Kuddos to you!

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answers from Kansas City on

Unless you're my mom and just sit on the couch and expect her to cater to you, I think it's great. You can never expect too much of your children, only too little. We (as a society) seem to baby our children too much, to the point where they freak out when they go to college and have to do things like laundry for the first time. (I had to teach 2 of my friends how to do laundry when they first started college, I thought that was crazy!)

I dont believe in giving money for chores, though. Then you get to the point where, well, I dont need that dime, I wont clean the floor this time, or whatever. You dont get paid for cleaning, she shouldnt either.

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answers from Dallas on

Personally, I do think you are asking too much. Yes, she is part of the family and DOES need to contribute BUT she is only 5. I'm sure at times she just wants to be taken care of and be a little girl instead of an adult in training. I would reduce the list. Maybe ask what does like to do and go from there... You are doing a good thing by guiding her to be a responsible young lady with chores and money management, but may be it is too much for this age.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Awesome! I wish I could pull this off! Way to go!

The idea that children are helpless flowers that need protection is very modern and a myth. Children benefit from knowing that they are useful and valued members of their household and society.

If she has useful work to do, time with you and some free time every day for open exploring, she's having an awesome childhood. The kids who are losing their childhood are the ones who have scheduled, structured activities from from 7am to 8pm, and never get a chance to develop independence or competence.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Maybe expecting just a wee bit tad too much. :)
My hubby doesn't even do all that and he's like a 105 (kidding).
I see that you are trying to teach her things: clean up after herself, responsibility etc but some things may be a bit much: swiffer, take out the recyclables.
I say make the chores comensurate w/her age.
Add more as she ages.
My 13 SD doesn't even do 1/2 of that although that should change as she is more of an age to help around the house and clean up after herself.
Maybe just scale back some chores and let her play.
She will never get her childhood back to play and have fun.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I have to be honest, I think you are expecting a bit too much out of her. I'm all for chores. My daughter has had a couple chores since she was two...helping to clean up her toys, putting her plate in the sink after dinner...and we've gradually added things (she's now 4). She sometimes helps me sort laundry and at dinner she'll put forks and napkins on the table, etc. I think we sometimes forget they're "just kids". I'm guilty of this and have to catch myself expecting more out of her than is really reasonable (chores, behaviors, words, etc.). Age appropriate chores are great, but I might take it a little easier on her. I'm sure as a single mom it's tough not having another adult in the house to help with some of these things...good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

EXCELLENT JOB!!!! And a dime is plenty for a 5yr old, whomever told you it's not enough & that's why she's whining & has a right too, what the hell, that is absolutely ridiculous, she should be thankful she's getting a dime!!!

I have used your restaurant line on my kids & my husband, it's true!!!!!!!!!

I have a 21 yr old that had several chores as a child. She lives away at college & she complains about 2 of her roommates that never had chores growing up. These girls don't know how to do anything, they wait for my DD & another roommate to clean & pick up. My daughter complains to me about what pigs these girls are & says that she is thankful that I taught her how to clean an entire house otherwise she would feel real ignorant. One of the girls never did her own laundry, thank goodness my DD has been doing her own since she was 12 & was able to teach her roommate. She didn't always like having chores & would complain "my friends don't have to do this", but today she sings a different tune & is happy that she is capable to keep a clean house.

You are doing an excellent job, you are not treating your daughter as your equal, you are not holding back her childhood, you are not making your daughter cater to you (seriously people we all know what it takes to run a household so why on earth people would suggest your daughter is doing as much or more than you is just plain ridiculous). What you are doing is teaching her what 'Family' is all about, sticking together & pitching in. She will thank you one day (century). Keep up the good work.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on


I've never really understood the idea of teaching children that they aren't capable, nor teaching them not to pay attention to what's going on around them (like seeing that the table needs setting/ looking around for what they can do to help).

My son's chore list (has been essentially the same since he was a toddler). I've cut and pasted, so any "my" is directly from his list, meaning "his".


Breakfast ((I make brunch, he makes breakfast for himself))
Dishes (B, L, D, & snacks)
Shower & Brush Teeth
Make Bed
Pick up Toys (except 2)
Help with Projects
Help w/ Dinner


Wash My Sheets
Wash & Put Away My Clothes
Clean Room
Pick a chore x 1 (Like mop the floors, yard work, clean up after dog, windex, etc.)

They take a grand total of about 20 minutes out of his 12 hour day (excluding school & playtime & helping with projects.) ROFL... I don't think that 1/36th of his day spent helping is 'robbing' him of his childhood. Far from it. He's not a lump. We crank up the music, laugh, and get our work done.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Nope - you're doing great. You're giving her the gift of responsibility. Think of it this way: picture her when she's 20. What type of values and level of responsibility do you want her to have? (Earning her own money for college? Doing her own laundry? Being a good roommate?) Work backwards from 20 - starting the chores that she's doing now is a great learning tool! Too many children don't take part in the household duties these days ( the "mom fairy" does it all), and when they get out in the world - the kids don't know what to do!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have a daughter who is nine. It is just her and me at our home, also. Here is my opinion. At age five, I would make the list a little shorter, do these chores WITH her, and not pay her for them. Allowance can be a separate thing as way to let her get used to handling money. "Chores" can be just things we do together to keep our home nice and to have clean clothes and good lunches. At five (and nine and 50) the more enjoyable we can make these tasks, the easier they are. If she's whining at 5, you might be setting yourself up for outright rebellion by middle school...

BTW - There's a book by Daniel Pink called "Drive". In it he talks about motivation in children and working adults and the recent research on motivation. The first way to REDUCE motivation in children to do chores is to pay them for doing them. The only way to motivate is by internal motivation. "See how nice it is to have clean clothes in our drawers?" "Let's empty our lunchboxes so they are ready for our lunch for tomorrow. What yummy fruit should we have with our lunch tomorrow?"...and so on.

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answers from Redding on

You are doing the right thing. Teaching your child responsibility and to be a helper around the house saves your sanity and makes your child a much more pleasant kid to be around. As long as everything is well rounded, which I'm sure it is... she's only 5 and I assume does five yr old fun things all day inbetween the things you expect from her. Mom's need to "teach" kids, not let them just "be", otherwise it may delay maturity and cognitive thinking.
Good job!

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answers from Santa Fe on

Just be careful you don't become like my mom. She was a single working mom and she gave us way too many chores (starting when I was about 10). We had a very long daily list of chores and a very long weekly list of chores. We got $5 a week. And by very long, I mean VERY long. I would get home from school and start working and I'd get done a couple hours later. I know she needed help around the house but part of the problem is she is OCD with cleaning. I think your daughter's chore list sounds ok...except for emptying your lunch box. Our son (7) has a few daily simple chores (for no money) but he will also ask for an extra chore to earn some money. He can sweep or mop the livingroom/diningroom for a dollar. Don't be annoyed if she comes in asking for breakfast. You sounded too snippy with your remark to her about that. I'd just say, please go get the spoons and bowls and I will get out the cereal and milk.

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answers from New York on

Nope you aren't expecting too much. Basic chores teach young children that they need to contribute to the success of running a household. That being said, little ones need to be reminded to do and complete things. So know that you'll be 'reminding' her to do these things for a long time to come.

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answers from Columbus on

My kids are also part of a family, and to me, that means working together to keep the family running smoothly. My kids get their own breakfast ready and have since they were about three...depending on the simplicity of the breakfast, an older sibling or I will help. We have a 'Freedom For Fun' checklist that has to be completed before the kids ask to play/watch TV, etc. On the checklist, I have 1. Clean room? 2. Laundry put away nicely? 3. homework/summer reading complete? 4. extra help? (whatever I need done-dishes put away, dusting, vacuuming, etc.) 5. good attitude?

I think you are doing your daughter a great service by teaching her how to be an adult...I can't tell you how many adults I have met who had no idea how to start a washing machine or sweep a floor, because their parents 'thought' kids did not need to learn the basic life activities-that doesn't make life easier on the child, I would hate to have been thrown into life with no advance preparation and feel lucky that my parents believed life skills were an important thing to teach me :)

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answers from San Francisco on

My opinion -- that's a lot of work for a 5 year old. If it's going to cause constant battling between the two of you, then I wonder why it's worth it. Wouldn't it be better to have a less clean floor and have a fun, harmonious household? What do you want in the future, memories of you and your daughter laughing, talking and playing together, or memories of a mopped floor?

I think that's way too many chores for 5, but I think since it's just two of you, as she gets older, she can increasingly do more chores. Just don't make everything a battle! Not worth it!

A friend of mine is a single parent with one child, and her daughter, now 18, does almost all the housework, and her mom pays her handsomely. Since her mom had to do it all alone, I always felt it was fair that she asked a lot of her daughter. Lots more than my kids do, that's for sure. But she didn't make her do all that stuff when she was 5.

Remember, your daughter needs a childhood.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Too much. Waaaaay too much. I was that child and I vowed never to do that to my kids. I haven't. I backed way off from what was expected of me and my 10 and 12 year old are great, respectful, responsible kids even though they have had about 1/4 the responsibility I had as a child. Instilling these values is great, but let her be a kid!!!!!

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answers from Houston on

Mine don't do anything like that - is that every day? Wow, no my son has one chore he does every day, it's not the same chore, but he earns screen time by doing chores, so he will ask me what he can do - like yesterday I got him to water the garden, took him about 20 mins. Sometimes he will clean the bathroom, or pick up the living room floor. He is eight.
I think at 5 they don't have the capacity to remember a "list" of chores, but they can definitely "do" them. you will have to remind her, probably until she is around, hmmm 18?!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Expecting a child to help out and be part of a family is a good thing. That being said, I think she is doing too many chores for her age.

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answers from Dallas on

I think you're doing a great job! Both of my boys were doing plenty of chores at 5 and are still doing many chores at 7 and 13. We don't pay them for chores; they just do them because they are part of a family, and that's how family works. They can earn money doing extra things. If you were to ask either of my boys if they had/are having a good childhood, I guarantee you they would say they were both extremely happy with their childhoods, and your daughter would probably say the same. :)

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answers from Appleton on

You are teaching her responsibility.
One thing though we did chores at home windows got washed inside and out once a week, car washed and waxed sometimes twice a week ect. But no reward, no allowance, no trips to the library ect. I would say that yes an allowance is a good way to reinforce this but also something like you are such a help to me lets go to the park and play for a while, the library to get a DVD or book she wants or an ice cream cone or friends over.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I think it's great. The only time I have issues with this sort of logical contributing to the family, is when it becomes the child being a servant to the adults in the household-- the parents sit on their butts and the kids are expected to do it all. Unless that is your end goal, then you are doing fabulously! :)

ooh. but as for the paying for them... hmmm. That gets a little tricky. Our kids have household contribution things they do and they don't get paid...they just do them. Then they have some specific things that they do that they are paid "commissions" for doing. Setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, putting their plates in the dishwasher, putting away their clothes, etc... that is just part of being part of the family. Pulling their own weight, so to speak.
Taking out the trash on trash day... that earns a commission. Cleaning the bathroom toilet... that earns a commission. Taking the full kitchen trash outside to the receptacle, that is just part of life.

You can decide which fits into what category at your house... but some things need to be done, just because they need to be done. Not everything needs to have a $ attached to it.

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answers from Chicago on

I actually think it's great you are having your daughter take on responsibilities. My daughter is a special-needs kiddo, and even with her challenges she still has to do things like clear her dishes and put away her toys and clean laundry.

The thing is that most young kids still have growing to do with problem-solving. Is the laundry routine too complicated for her to manage without supervision for now? Another example is her thinking " gee, the breakfast table isn't set, therefore I should go get the bowls and spoons". I know when I was five I got yelled at for being "inconsiderate and selfish" for stuff like that. As an adult, I've seen few five year olds who are that willing and/or able to think/act along that line. Perhaps a more helpful solution would be to show her the right way to do it one or two times before expecting her to do it automatically.

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Not all 5 year olds are the exactly the same, but seems that being five she may tire more easily and is still going to go through years of growing pains. I'd kind of measure her each time like a new day with a clean slate. See how she's feeling THAT particular day. Some days she might be energetic and feel on top of the world and others a little run down and not "feeling" it. It sounds like she needs validation, acknowledgement, positive reinforcement of some kind. She has to feel like she's making a difference and she's appreciated for her contribution. With my fam, I noticed that when we all cleaned together, it got done faster and everyone didn't mind participating. When one person is cleaning and others weren't it was resented and not done well. It's all psychology, human behavior kinda stuff. As far as paying, it's controversial. But, if you ask them to clean and reward them with pay then you may be telling them that they're doing it for pay rather than for the fulfillment of taking responsibility and pride in your place of dwelling. As they grow older they come to expect more funding. I used to reward them for good behavior and clean rooms, etc, every so often. I wanted them to know that I took notice and that they would be rewarded for it. Or take them out for a new clothing, or restaurant, etc. Nothing should be taken for granted.



answers from New York on

I assume your daughter is in school/aftercare all day since you mention the lunchboxes. If so, it seems like you're expecting a lot from her. Kids do need more downtime than adults. I was one of those kids who had very few chores growing up and I am one of the neatest and most responsible people you'll ever meet. And I am so appreciative that my mom gave me a real childhood. My good friend growing up had divorced parents and she had to do so much around the house and hated it. Her mom actually was lazy though... I understand if you need help etc but I'd just keep it in check. If she's complaining, it likely is just too much for her. She's only 5 and if she's in a program all day, that's a lot for a kid so it's likely important she gets as much time as possible at home to just do what she wants. You are a family but she didn't get to choose any of it. You chose to have a child and she should get her childhood...



answers from Minneapolis on

I think that it is very good to have your daughter learn that she is part of the family responsibility, but in my personal opinion what you are expecting of your five year old is a bit much. Your daughter is probably learning how to read, write, and be a child all at the same time she is navigating relationships with both parents and households and still have time and place to use her imagination. All of these things day to day can be difficult enough to manage in the world of a five year old. However I do not think that you are taking away her childhood by teaching her to be responsible. Maybe it is a matter of doing these things as a team and not just expecting her to take on the whole task herself. I have nine year old twins and a five year old son. I expect about the same amount of chores with my nine year olds as you do with your five year old. They do have homework, and piano practice as well, and I expect them to clean up their rooms and any messes they make so I do not feel like they are getting off easy. I try to acknowlege the days they have less energy because they are growing and also try to encourage taking on more responsibility when I know they can handle it. In the end every parent has to do what they think is best for their situation. I have been a single mom, and that is much more challenging than when you have a partner to help out.
Good luck:-)



answers from San Francisco on

I think it is great that you have a chore chart and are having her earn $ for her chores. But, I think that you should cut 1/2 of what you are asking her to do out---Its too much imo because she is 5! You don't want to overwhelm her with it---cut the chores down a bit and I bet she will stop complaining.




answers from Milwaukee on

I don't think anyone should judge you. I think you need to do what you need to do to keep sane! We have a 4.5 year old and he has a chore chart with the following on it.
Go the bathroom right when he wakes up
Get dressed by self
Brush Teeth
Make Bed
Say please and thank you
Show respect
Clean up toys
Do indoor chores - which can include clean toilets, dust, clean windows, set table, clear table
Get ready fo rbed - get pajama on
Brush teeth again
No time outs

I don't think it is too much! Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Not at all. She will thank you when she is older for teaching her to be responsible. There are too many children out there who have no chores or responsibilty and expect everything to be handed to them. My parents think I am too hard on my children because I expect them to listen and behave no matter where we are or who is around. They are not permitted to run around like little animals. Congratulations for being an active parent.



answers from Rapid City on

Expecting a child to help out and be part of a family is a good thing. Paying them allowance and teaching them to save is exellent. I would suggest to limit the chores on the chart to the number of her age. A 1 year old can pick up his/her toys, a 2 year old can pick up toys and help with something else like dusting or setting the table. If she is getting plenty of time to play and do things like read, then she should be ok. I don't think I would make her sit at the table in punishment for not doing her chores, but let her see the consenquiences from not doing them. No helping with laundry, favorite shirt isn't cleaned... not helping set the table, it is hard to eat the food on the table without the dishes. Of course if she is getting paid a dime per job then if she doesn't get the job done she shouldn't be paid for it. These are enough to teach her without the time outs. Also don't be a perfectionist with her chores, she is too young to do them perfect. Instead of making her do them over each time if it isn't done good enough tell her "thank you but next time can you please....make sure you get under the furniture when you use the swiffer. and then when it is time to do it again remind her before "don't forget to do under the furniture". The reason is we are teaching them how to do it right but we want them to not feel nothing is good enough. I remember surprising my mom with cleaning house when she was gone and when she came home she would point out all that I missed. She thought she was teaching me to do right but what i heard was no matter what it isn't good enough so why do it?


answers from Rochester on

Wow. You are totally expecting too much.

My daughter is recently six. I expect her to put her dirty clothes in the hamper, make her bed, and brush her own teeth, dress, and comb her hair. For a six year old in the morning, that's plenty.

I expect her to pick up her own toys, and throw away her own garbage.

Occasionally, I will ask her to pick up her sister's toys (who is one) while I'm doing dishes, but that's just so we have time to read together before bed.

My daughter LOVES to go down and help with laundry...probably because I don't make her.

I really think that as a mother, most of what you listed are YOUR jobs until she is older. I am sorry, and I didn't read the rest of your answers yet, but you seem a little tyrannical with chores.

I agree with the philosophy of teaching children responsibility...but SHE did not have the children, you did. I think teaching her to be responsible for HERSELF (you know, put her own clothes away, empty her OWN lunchbox, feed her cat, etc) is fine, but I don't have my children doing my chores...that's my job. As they get older, fine, add a bit...but she's only six!



answers from Davenport on

I think you are doing great - more responsible parents making more responsible kids are what this wrold needs - I am doing the same with my 2 and 4 year olds!

Kudos to you - who cares about the other parents and what thye are or aren't doing, this is YOUR family, and you are doing great, it sounds like to me!



answers from Chicago on

I have an almost 5 year-old and I thought I expected too much of him until I read your post. Wow. She has to empty your lunchbox too?

Personally I can't imagine how you do it as a single mom...I've often thought about that when my husband is traveling for work. And I totally admire you for being able to do it. But yeah I think this is a bit much for a child her age.



answers from Milwaukee on

I think that we do not require enough of our children, myself included. One of my parents (they were divorced) were really strict and we had to have the whole house cleaned on Saturday morning before we could do anything - tv, telephone, showers, go anywhere, etc.

I think as parents, we try to give our children a better life than what we had. While I wasn't deprived of anything, I still clearly remember feeling like Cinderella and waiting for my Prince. I ask very little of my son, but I do expect him to help when we're doing chores. Luckily, he likes to "help." Unfortunately his help isn't always "it." But, I think that you are instilling great values for your daughter. Way to go!



answers from Pittsburgh on

None of these things are taking hours away from her day or getting in the way of her "being a kid". What's wrong w/having high expectations or standards for your family? Obviously you saw value in doing things that way or you wouldn't be. Now, if someone tells you it's too much, regardless of what their family is like, you'll compromise?

Kids will complain about chores no matter how many they have. Doing them, especially as a family, instills a sense of teamwork, ownership and eventually, independence. The virtue of discipline is an investment with a lifelong payoff as even adults have things in our lives we don't feel like doing, but they must be done. You're giving your daughter important skills, just continue to encourage her and try not to nag - that makes it all seem like a lot to a kid. Praise her for being responsible and helpful and from time to time, give her an "atta girl!" reward to reinforce the behavior.

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