Sunday, February 22, 2009


I was just reading this post at Because I Said So about chores. I left a comment, but when it started to feel like I was leaving a small novel on her comment form, I decided that I should come back here to write out all my thoughts in their entirety.

The question she asked was "those of you with more than one child, how do you distribute chores among your children? Do your older children have more responsibilities or not? Do you make the older kids help out with younger ones? Do you feel that with age, come more responsibilities and more privileges or do you strive to treat all children exactly the same?"

My answer is a little of both. Whatever the chore, whether it's laundry, setting the table for dinner, doing dishes, or caring for the pets, each child has an age appropriate job to do.

At laundry time, my littlest one helps sort the clothes. As soon as your child knows their colors, they can help make piles of the colors. My oldest helps me with actually putting the soap in the washer and folding the clothes. My middle child helps put them away into the right closets.

At dinner time, the oldest pours milk for everyone. The middle one is responsible for laying napkins at everyone's place and helping take the plates to the table, the little one gets the silverware. When they were younger the little one did napkins, but now she's a little older and wanted to do a bigger job. We gave napkins back to the middle one and added the plates.

After dinner everyone is responsible for rinsing their dishes and loading them into the dishwasher, I put away the leftovers, the oldest washes up anything that doesn't go into the dishwasher, the little one wipes down the table, and the middle on unloads the dishwasher after it has been run.

When it comes to the pets, the oldest is in charge of making sure they all have food and water. Even though these are jobs the little ones could do, I can't count on them to do it on a regular enough basis to ensure the pets don't starve, so the oldest gets it. The younger two are responsible for picking up the dog poop in the back yard. I give them some latex gloves and a grocery bag. Lucky for them we have little dogs with little poops. We also have cats and I change the litter box.

You notice that on most of these lists, I include myself. I try to teach them that it is a team effort to make the house run smoothly and that includes me. It also cuts down on the amount of complaining they do about their chores. It's hard to complain about how hard you are being made to work when every time you are asked to do something everyone else is working too. I also don't pay the kids for doing these chores. I explain to them that nobody pays me to pick up my room, do the laundry, cook dinner... some things are just a part of life and you have to do them.

Now there are times that the younger ones are dragging butt about getting their rooms done and I don't have time to pick them up because I'm busy mopping, cleaning toilets, etc. and yet I really need them picked up so I can get in there with the vaccum. At those time I will ask my oldest to pick them up and I pay her $5 for each room for the favor. This keeps me from asking her too often.


raino said...

good ideas here. i also like the idea of allowing my kids to work it out amongst themselves which chores they'd like to take on a given day. it SOMETIMES works.

Dawn said...

Thanks for the ideas. I know I'm guilty of not always having the younger girls help out.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!