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Stop Doing Chores for your Kids :: Why Mine Carry their Weight at Home

My kids ages range from seven to twelve and they all have chores to do at home suitable to their age and/or maturity.

My kids carry their weight at home. Keep reading for some rules about the chores they do and why yours should be doing them too.

And no, it has nothing to do with me being a single mom. My parents were military so that may be the root of the “earning your keep” mentality. I also have five brothers and they all know how to iron and make their beds (whether or not they actually do it is another story), so this is not a "gender role" issue either.

Why is the mom the only one with groceries in her hands?

You know the meme where the mom’s hands are full with groceries and the kid is trying to hand her something else to hold? Yeah, I don’t find that funny at all. First of all, why is the mom the only one with groceries in her hands? Isn’t she the one that took the time to make the list AND go pick it up?

kids carrying the groceries inside

Rule 1. Have your kids help grocery shop, load the trunk with the bags, and then unload the bags at home. Then, have them unload the groceries once home into the refrigerator and pantry.

My kids have chores and they don’t get an allowance.

Yep, you read that right. My kids do their chores in exchange for the privilege of living here. Their "allowance" is the electronics they get to play on every once in a while, the nice clothes and accessories they want/need, and all the food previously mentioned. I mean, why would I pay them to wash dishes they dirtied? Why would I pay them to clean a room they destroyed? Sorry moms, but I am a bit confused by this concept.

Rule 2. Have your kids clean up after themselves. Have them clean up their room, their clothes littering the bathroom floor, their scattered toys, their games. If they got it out, dirtied it, or misplaced/lost it, it is their job to make it right.


Let me introduce you to my arch nemesis: laundry.

I'm actually just a tad OCD about actually doing the laundry, but my friend Lori is not. Her 4 oldest kids have been doing their own laundry since they were four. Yes, 4. She taught them how to turn on the machine, correctly turn their clothes right side out, stain stick if necessary, and start up the washer. Her kids have these Ikea laundry baskets that are easy to carry. Each kid then gets their own clothes out of the dryer and takes them to their rooms and puts them away. No more sorting. But here's what I do in my house:

Rule 3: Teach your kids to sort the clothes, fold the clothes, and iron the clothes. They might not do it perfectly, but they are perfectly capable of doing it. There is no reason other than loading the washing machine and dryer that your hands should ever touch the laundry.

boy ironing his pants

Ok, so this may be where you insert an eye roll while reading, thinking I do nothing. But of course that’s not true. I mean, I cook. Ah, wait, so does my oldest daughter.  But not because I make her, she actually loves to cook and we love to eat what she cooks. Ok, back to the rules...

Kitchen is open at 7am and then again at 6pm. Sort of.

Remember when I told you my oldest loves to cook? Well, this didn't just magically happen. I took the time to teach her her way around the kitchen. And now I'm teaching my other kids. They're learning how to look up recipes, make ingredient list, chop and prepare those ingredients, and the time management it takes to plan what it is they actually want to eat. As much as I'm tired and love a good drive through, my checking account does not.

Rule 4: Have your kids prepare at least 1 meal a week, prep and pack their own lunches, and be able to fend for themselves for breakfast.


We’re a family and family helps each other out.

I will hear my older kids helping the others or reminding them, “don’t leave your dirty clothes on the bathroom floor again” or “remember, to rinse your plate out so the dishwasher will clean it good.”  They are already learning how to divvy up the duties in the household so one person isn’t feeling the burn out from doing all the chores. And why shouldn’t it be that way? Everyone has a sense of caring of how they live, how their house looks.

Rule 5: Teach your kids to feel a sense of pride in accomplishing their responsibilities and they will be more apt to do what you ask of them.

sponge bob chores meme

It makes this mama happy to know I can put my feet up after a long day at work and know “my kids got this.” Oh, and one thing I say about my boys' future wives -- she won’t be angry with me because my son can’t cook or clean. They absolutely can. So if any of my kids become slobs later in life, I can honestly say, “They definitely weren’t raised that way!” 

kids chores list by age

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