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Mom's Talk: How Do You Hand Out the Chores?

Is it as much of a chore or helpful and what do you do?

As much as the joys of parenthood are rewarding, and there is lots of fun to be had, there is also housework that needs to be done. The laundry is piling up. The kitchen sink is filled with dishes. Beds need to be made. The more children you have, the more tasks there seem to tend to.

What we wonder this week is how parents out there handle giving out chores to your children. Do you wait until they are a certain age and what tasks do you give them? Do you reward them with money or treats? Stickers or toys?

Maybe you do not give your children chores at all and choose to do the tasks yourself for whatever your reasons are. Maybe you find it helpful to get those little and big tasks done, or maybe it takes longer because you need to stop to help teach how to do things correctly. Then how do you decide what is "fair" among siblings to hand out as chores and "rewards?"

Please share your thoughts, strategies, success stories, failures and maybe even your reasons.

Comment and share with other moms in our comment section and stop by Riverhead Patch next Wednesday at 1 p.m. for another Mom's Talk chat session.

Jen Eager March 09, 2011 at 10:24 PM
We started a chore system years ago, and have tweaked it as necessary. My kids are now 15, 11, 8 and 6 so they are all old enough for chores. We started having them help clean up toys as Dawn did, as toddlers. And I always found 3 years old was a great age to begin because they love to help. For me, it was worth teaching them to do chores because now a lot of work is off my back! We do give allowances and I feel free to withold it if I'm not happy with the way they do chores in a week. Everyone is automatically responsible for their own room and making their own bed. I don't sleep in your bed, why should I make it? Similarly, every child cleans up their own mess as they go...don't leave stuff around is a big one (not always followed, of course, but they're pretty good.) I let everyone choose their chores. We used to switch every week, but they found they liked keeping them, so now we change them after several months, when they start getting complacent about doing them. My eldest has 5 chores--she empties the dishwasher, takes care of the chickens, feeds the dog & cats dinner, puts away all the kid laundry, and keeps the bird feeders filled and the patios tidy. My youngest has 3 chores--she helps me fold laundry, she sweeps up kitty litter when it gets on the floor in front of the box, and she has the all-important, secret weapon SURPRISE CHORE...which means, any time I need help I can call her and she does it!
Jen Eager March 09, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Other chores are: set or clear the dinner table, spray the bathroom counters, mop the kitchen, help put away groceries, gather laundry from hampers, tidy a room, take the recycling to the garage, empty trash, walk the dog, etc. Whenever my kids complain about chores, I remind them that we all live here, and I am not their maid. Not to mention that these are all skills they will need when they live on their own. My 6 year old continuously reminds me that she is never leaving us, but then I tell her it's all the more important that she learns how to do things because if she chooses to stay at home her whole life, she will at least not be a freeloader :)
Diane Tucci March 09, 2011 at 11:15 PM
I LOVE the SURPROSE CHORE!!! How great is that! We don;t reall follow any routine yet, but I am looking to start. Everything I tried hasn't quite worked out yet. When I did a sticker chart as a reward system, someone got into the stickers and gave themselves extra's or took others away from siblings. The only job my oldest (almost 9) has set is to take care of the dog. She lets her out in the morning and evening and feeds her. When we had the wood stove going, I had my son help get wood from the shed. Or I have them help sort recycleables. The litlest (4) likes to help with laundry. They all have to take their clothes from the laundry room to their bedrooms. No reward. Just a big THANK YOU. JOB WELL DONE. :)
Kristen Halpin March 10, 2011 at 03:25 AM
I had a family counseling professor once say something like, ‘responsibility is knowing what needs to be done and getting it done, appropriately.’ My girls are now 12 and 14 and we are trying to make them understand the responsibilities that come with life, much like what Jenn said. So, they get themselves up in the morning, make their own breakfasts and lunches for the days and are completely responsible for having everything they need for school. Their bathroom, the 1st floor bathroom, their rooms and their laundry are new set items for which they are COMPLETELY responsible, this year. We try to let them figure out when they will do them. If it’s not getting done we will step in and give them a deadline for completing the task and tell them what the repercussion will be if the deadline is not met. Then we follow through with said repercussion if it’s still not done. Random household tasks are delegated by either myself or my husband as needed. We will text them or write them down, along with a time to be completed, and the girls know if they’re not done by that time they will have to face some repercussions. Repercussions, like, a crazy, screaming lady who will remain nameless for now. I think it’s harder now than when they were little because, now, we’re teaching them to understand responsibility and part of that means learning how to manage their time and prioritize things.
Diane Tucci March 10, 2011 at 09:03 PM
That's really a great thought - teaching them how to manage time. That would make less rushing around on school mornings. I like your method.

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