Best Advice I've Ever Gotten on Kids' Chores

The most genius advice I've ever gotten about kids and chores came from this book, How to Be a Happier Parent. I don't have a copy of it anymore so I can quote, but I'll share the concepts.

1. Get your kids to do chores that actually need to be done.

Making their bed every day (don't really care about that personally) or getting them to fold dishrags (don't really need that done either) are great for teaching them how to work. But there are more important chores that we actually need done to keep the house in working order. Get them to do those things. For us, that's feeding the dogs (George), unloading the dishwasher (Stephen), and starting a load of laundry (Laurie) each day.

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2. Get your kids to do the same chores every day for many months, even a year, then switch. This teaches them to be proficient in their chore, and then they can move on and learn a new one.

Laurie fed the dogs for 6 months every day. Then we switched, and now George does it. They are really good at feeding the dogs. They are actually helping.

I  emotionally and spiritually shut down at the thought of a rotating chore chart. I can't manage that! But reminding kids to do their one, important daily chore, I can do.

On weekday mornings, each child does their assigned chore. They've each been doing that same chore since the beginning of the summer. They are really proficient. When helping helps! Amen!?

The best time to do the big chore switch is Christmas and summer breaks when you have plenty of time to work with them and help them get through the learning curve of a new chore, especially with the more advanced things like laundry and dishes.

What are your thoughts? Do your kids have chores?

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  1. This is so brilliant! Oh, the dishwasher is the bane of my existence. My kids have to make their beds (and I’m a little OCD so I do care about that) but other than that they don’t have chores yet. Curious if Caroline has chores, and if George (is he the same age as my oldest, 6?) has any he can do other than feeding the dog. We’re still at ages where I’m not sure how to actually have them be consistently helpful...4 and 6 years old (and babies).

    1. Caroline does not have chores, but we do make her participate in family pick up sessions.

      Yes, George is 6. He doesn't have any other official daily jobs, but when we do a group clean, I will give him little tasks as needed.

  2. YES TO CHORES!! For everyone who lives in the house and eats the food and wears the clothes! I am not the maid :) I approach it the way you do: this work needs to be done and furthermore, when they complain, I simply say the work needs to be done and we all help. I loathe busy work anywhere. Also, kids deeply want to feel that they are part of the family and household, that we need each other and depend on each other. Real work matters!
    I don't change up the kids' chores much, but if they want to earn money, we work out a deal where they do extra non-regular chores and I pay them. Also, Phoebe totally has chores! She replaces empty toilet paper rolls, shakes rugs outside, fetches dirty laundry, and sets the table (so fun to see her counting skills develop).

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