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What expectations do you have of your kiddos' participation in household chores?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi, all . .

I'd love to know more about what other parents striving to practice GD do in terms of participation in chores, or expectations in terms of helping around the house.

Do your kids have chores? Or tasks that are expected of them (as in, clear plate after eating, make bed, keep room tidy, etc.)? If so, at what age did you start introducing these ideas?

And, of most interest to me, if you do expect your DC to help around the house, how do you handle it if they don't?

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 26
DS is only 17mos old but we already have him do 'chores' -- simple things like putting his dirty clothes in the hamper, throwing away his trash, putting his dishes in the sink, wiping up spills, etc. Plus he helps DH when he is working around the house, sweeping, taking out the trash, and so forth. Of course at this age he thinks it's great fun, I'm sure we'll encounter resistance down the line, but I'm hoping that if he learns that participating in the household is just what's expected of him that we'll be able to sustain it long-term & get through the periods of resistance. I was brought up being told "you're part of the family so you need to contribute" and I do believe that kids should contribute (at the very least pick up after themselves but if there is time in the day they should do more like unload the dishwasher etc.) But I also feel it's important to balance 'fun' time so if the kids are so busy with school & homework etc. to have time for the dishwasher and still have time for fun, I'd like to be more lax on things like that. Sorry I don't have older kids to make my thoughts more applicable to you
post #3 of 26
well, we started by doing the jobs with the kids. This helped them slide into doing independently.

Now 11 & 14. They hang up the washing. clear the table. pick the tomatos and berries. make everyone breakfast.

Not always voluntary, but never complain about a request.
post #4 of 26
My kids are 6, 8(soon 9) and 11 the only "set" chore they have is cleaning up after themselves. They do other things around the house as asked-putting clean dishes away, letting out/in the dog, feeding/watering dog, taking out recycling, putting away clean laundry, etc. Basically I think for the most part they are compliant b/c I help them if they want and I don't have a mindset of "this needs to be done now". If they don't feel like cleaning their room in the morning they can do it in the afternoon or if they want help cleaning out their dresser I don't mind helping if they perhaps vacuum for me, stuff like that.
post #5 of 26
my kids are 9, 7, 4, and 2. From the time they could climb in and out of their seats at the table, I have expected them to clear their plates/silver/etc. When I am making dinner, they are expected to wash the table, set it, and get out any condiments, drinks, etc. They are expected to clean up after themselves in play. They are also expected to put their clothes away, and dirty clothes in the hamper. As they are getting older, they are taking on more. We are a family that works together, and everyone helps. I am not a maid and do not expect to do it all on my own.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
We are pretty similar to most of the posters above. I have expectations that as a member of the family, each DC will chip in to clean up her own messes and pitch in when asked. We really have very little in the way of formal chores, however. I think this question was born after this past weekend, which we spent with my parents. My mother did a lot of nagging at my DD to set the table and perform other tasks. I remember my childhood as one primarily spent listening to her nag at me for one reason or another. It was unpleasant to have her constantly harping at us as kids, and it was unpleasant this past weekend to be on the receiving end of her expectations that my older DD "should" have a distinct set of chores arbitrarily set upon her.

There then developed an undercurrent along the lines of DD is lazy and disinterested in helping, and that I'm indulging it. The first 2 qualities could not be further from the truth - DD is a sweet, active, loving and generous child who above all wants to please. I don't think the fact that she doesn't want to stop her elaborate puppet show to set the table for my mother undercuts this. I'd rather pick and choose my battles. She helps out a lot and pitches in, especially with the jobs she likes and has chosen. I just don't agree with the idea of foisting chores on her and then turning it into a battleground.

If I ask Dd and she doesn't want to do something it's usually because she's engrossed in another task. I might ask her to perform the task later, when she's ready - depending on what it is and if it can wait, or I might say fine, and ask if she'd be willing to do something else for me later. If she gets grouchy about being asked to help I tell her I am feeling disappointed because I we are a team and I need everyone in the house to pitch in. I just don't make chores a battleground, but the whole scene last weekend is making me wonder if I'm out of the norm and if the predominant view would be that I'm over-indulging her.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PennyRoo View Post

If I ask Dd and she doesn't want to do something it's usually because she's engrossed in another task. I might ask her to perform the task later, when she's ready - depending on what it is and if it can wait, or I might say fine, and ask if she'd be willing to do something else for me later. If she gets grouchy about being asked to help I tell her I am feeling disappointed because I we are a team and I need everyone in the house to pitch in. I just don't make chores a battleground, but the whole scene last weekend is making me wonder if I'm out of the norm and if the predominant view would be that I'm over-indulging her.

I do something similar. And I don't think you are over-indulgent. I think your mom was rude to you and your DD. My DD is 4.5 and we've talked about how everyone should help clean and pick up after themselves so no one person feels like Cinderella. My DD likes doing some things a lot more than others, but doesn't everyone.
post #8 of 26
I think you are handling this exactly how I hope to with DS. I also grew up with the nagging. It made me so upset as a child when my mom would expect me to drop everything to dust the piano. I think letting your DC choose chores they enjoy & allowing them to do them when it's a good time for them is a better strategy. I might consider something like assigned chores -- like DS would be responsible for empty the dishwasher & could do it whenever he wants as long as it got done within 2 days -- something on that idea... but done in cooperation with & with respect for DS & his interests...
post #9 of 26
My 3 year old sets the table, hangs his coat, puts his shoes in a basket, and cleans up each "bucket" of toys before playing with a new one. If he makes a huge mess at meal time, he helps me clean it up. He also hangs his bath towel on a hook in the bathroom after his bath. I probably should have him do some more because he loves to help. Hook them when they are young, I say.

The only one he protests much is cleaning up each bucket of toys first. But he knows he can't get involved in something else without doing this first, so it's not usually a big fight.
post #10 of 26
Everyone in our family is expected to do 15 minutes of chores right after dinner. This is the minimum amount to keep our house from falling into complete and total chaos. I've written down the chores on popsicle sticks and put them in a bag. There are a few random fun ones too (hug mom and dad, stand on one foot and count to 10, etc.) The kids draw chores. Dh and I do what's needed or help the kids. The chores range from starting laundry to cleaning sinks to scrubbing floors or toilets to changing sheets to picking up stuff.

We did this because asking the kids to pick up was becoming more and more of a battle. So, we all work together for 15 minutes. If they're cleaning the toilets, then I can pick up. They hate picking up, but they're happy to scrub a toilet. Go figure. I do have to do the toilets/floors myself sometimes to make sure they're really clean, but my kids are getting better and better. (They're 6 and 9, and this has been our system for 2 years.)

Now that ds is older, we're going to add helping with the dishes to his list of things this summer. He'll have to clear the table and either unload the dishwasher or load it daily.

Both kids clear their own plates. Both are responsible for their own library books. Both clean up spills or other messes they've made.

At 4.5, I think chores are mostly optional. As kids get older, I need them to help more. They also need to learn the skills to care for a house.

ETA: We do chores right after dinner because doing them as part of the bedtime routine kept blowing up. And if we do them right after dinner, we don't interrupt any activity they're involved in.
post #11 of 26
This is being discussed in the Parenting/Parenting forum right now, so you can check over there too. :-)
post #12 of 26
PennyRoo. For me, you are obviously the norm. And if that is not the norm, then it should be. Certainly what you are doing in allowing a child to develop uninterrupted at what you think are important moments is ideal. I only wish I could see more of it.

re-reading all the posts thus far, I'd say you have your finger exactly on the pulse of what is reasonable for you, your DD's developmental position and what you are trying to achieve for you and your family.

There might be a battle of wills you/vs/DD in the future, but I doubt it will be caused by what you are doing now.

BTW, my mum still tries to bring me up, although she swears she is not. And she casts a worried eye over how we bring up our kids + comments, tuts and sighs. But that is what MDC is for right?! We can normalise our own behaviour.

Obviously you are not "over-indulging" her.
post #13 of 26
i have zero expectations of my dd. i do not expect her to contribute because i say so. i want her to do it out of her own free will.

she has no set chores. i have asked her for some help once in a while and i have been v. specific when it is a request and when it is a command. however the command is during a time of emergency and she usually gets that.

however it is the two of us and she has naturally accepted some of the work around the house when it is necessary.

she loves helping and so does a lot around the house. one of her favourite things is to make me breakfast.

dunno. sometimes i ask for help and if she gives me a good enough excuse why she cant do it she doesnt have to. its as simple as 'the kitten is sleeping on my lap and i dont want to wake her up so i cant do it now.' or sometimes no words are needed. she'll say 'mo'om' when i ask without looking at her and when i look at her she points to the kitten and i say 'aaaaaaah. ok. i'll do it.'

and yet i find she helps me around the house way more than most other kids her age. without me asking her.
post #14 of 26
My kids are almost 5 and just turned 6. Since they were about 3 and 4, they've cleared their plates at dinner (which means bringing them out to the counter - we do the actual rinsing most of the time) and occasionally setting the table with cups and silverware - since then, we've gradually added things that they can do to help the family out. This spring, we've also started having them make their beds. Other than that, they help me put away their laundry, fold socks and towels for the entire family (not always, but if I ask they usually say yes). They also pick up their toys/playroom/bedroom/dirty clothes etc.

We don't force them, but we do have an expectation that as members of the family, everyone has things that they can do to help the family out.

I do ask them to do these things, they don't normally do them on their own, and they seldom tell me no. If they do tell me no, it's almost always about their playroom or toys, and I guess unless I have a really good reason why it has to get cleaned up (like, we're having an open house the next day) I let it go - they almost always come back and put their toys away from the living room when they are ready - the playroom I've had to clean myself on a few occasions, and I'm ok with that for now.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Everyone in our family is expected to do 15 minutes of chores right after dinner. This is the minimum amount to keep our house from falling into complete and total chaos. I've written down the chores on popsicle sticks and put them in a bag. There are a few random fun ones too (hug mom and dad, stand on one foot and count to 10, etc.) The kids draw chores. Dh and I do what's needed or help the kids. The chores range from starting laundry to cleaning sinks to scrubbing floors or toilets to changing sheets to picking up stuff.

We did this because asking the kids to pick up was becoming more and more of a battle. So, we all work together for 15 minutes. If they're cleaning the toilets, then I can pick up. They hate picking up, but they're happy to scrub a toilet. Go figure. I do have to do the toilets/floors myself sometimes to make sure they're really clean, but my kids are getting better and better. (They're 6 and 9, and this has been our system for 2 years.)

Now that ds is older, we're going to add helping with the dishes to his list of things this summer. He'll have to clear the table and either unload the dishwasher or load it daily.

Both kids clear their own plates. Both are responsible for their own library books. Both clean up spills or other messes they've made.

At 4.5, I think chores are mostly optional. As kids get older, I need them to help more. They also need to learn the skills to care for a house.

ETA: We do chores right after dinner because doing them as part of the bedtime routine kept blowing up. And if we do them right after dinner, we don't interrupt any activity they're involved in.
Wow, what a neat idea for stressing that the responsibility is a shared family affair, but also injecting some fun into the mix! Do your kids ever try to trade off popsicle sticks amongst themselves to get jobs they like better?
post #16 of 26
Tidying up after themselves was introduced as soon as they started making messes. If they can pull it out of the toybox, they can toss it back in.

Bed making usually at age 4 (when they have the motor skills to do it).

At around 2 they can take their own dishes and toss them in the sink.

All other chores are done on an as-needed basis. They help when asked.

My oldest is seven and the next one is five, and I've started introducing the two of them into the wonders of laundry sorting and dish washing, but they arent' assigned those chores yet.

We don't do allowances, but they can do bigger chores for their grandparents for pay.
post #17 of 26
Ds is almost 3 and does the following:

-feeds the dog (he knows how much to give her, how to open/close the food box and garage door, we have to ask him to do it, but he can independantly, he has been helping do it sense he could walk!)

- feeds his fish (I dole out the food, he puts it in) and helps with cleaning the tank (gets out the supplies, holds the hose in place)

- helps with laundry, he can carry small piles of clothes around, help sort things, remove bedding from his bed and seperate it from his stuffed animals that dont need to be washed. He also puts his laundy in the basket

- wipe up spills, wipes his table after eating

- puts dishes in sink (by himself), on counter (breakables), or in dishwasher (if someone is there to help direct where in the dishwasher it goes)

-puts dishes away, he puts his own plates/utensils/glasses in his cupboard, and sorts the main utensils in the drawer

- helps cook, this is his favorite! He can do a lot of little things

- gets his own snacks, we keep an accessable 'snack cupboard' with healthy stuff

- puts his books on his shelf, puts toys away, puts school/art stuff away

- pushes in his chair after eating.

- goes around block with the dog (and us)

- helps with gardening/watering plants/planting stuff

-wipes/dusts things with damp rag (usually helps me when I clean stuff)

- uses small dust buster for little messes he makes

- hangs up his library/dance/school bag on hooks his height

- hangs up his towels when done with them (outside over a chair or on a low hook in bathroom)


None of this is 'required' but it is requested of him. He has been doing all this stuff sense he was capable of doing it (with help to start obviously), and he doesnt seem to mind. Sometimes he doesnt want to pick up toys, but I have explained to him that peices might get lost/stepped on/eaten by the dog, so one thing needs to be put away before something else comes out, and he is pretty good about it! Explaining 'why' things need to be done helps a lot with him (we hang up our towels when we are done drying of so they dont get moldy and stinky!, we wipe food off the table so when you read your book there it wont get jelly on it.. etc)
post #18 of 26
My children do a lot around the house. They're 9, 6, 4, and 2.

They:

- make their beds
- clear the table
- sweep the dining room after meals
- put toys away
- help each other buckle and unbuckle in the car
- wipe down the dining room table
- put their laundry away
- pick up toys in the yard before the grass is mowed
- help do dishes
- use the Dustbuster
- scrub the floors

They get an allowance on Fridays and it's earned by cheerfully helping around the house.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PennyRoo View Post
Wow, what a neat idea for stressing that the responsibility is a shared family affair, but also injecting some fun into the mix! Do your kids ever try to trade off popsicle sticks amongst themselves to get jobs they like better?

No, they've never thought of that! I don't see why not, it's just not occurred to them. Dd hates vacuuming, ds doesn't mind it. But unfortunately, there's no chore that ds hates that dd likes!

Usually the chores are arranged around something that needs to get clean, so there's not always an easy swap. (So, we rarely vacuum on the days we clean the bathroom, for example.)
post #20 of 26
We invited them do chores with us as toddlers, and their own responsibilities along with the helping-out at about 4. We try and keep it in the tone of "everyone can help out with the house-needs and here's things I think you can handle on your own" rather than "this is what you have to do everyday".
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