This Mom is worried that introducing chores at too young an age will steal her kids childhood. Her Military In-laws think she is too soft and doing more harm than good!

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Dear WHOot 

I have three children ranging from 2-6 years of age. I am my happiest being a Mom and to do everything around the home. I love looking after my family and truly believe that we should let kids be kids for as long as we possibly can.

We are a very active family and do lots together. I encourage them to go outside as much as possible and have lots of friends and neighbors over.

I believe that fresh air and play time is hugely important in their development and social skills which is a huge part of life.

Printable Chore Chart via Etsy 

My Husband comes from a Military Family and they are very disciplined. The kids were made to get up early and be very self-sufficient. The whole family was assigned duties and chores. As a result, my husband is very structured and not impulsive at all.

We have to plan ahead for things as he can’t just go with the flow. This is very sad to me and it impacts us as a family. I think it has a lot to do with all the chores he did as a kid.

Now my Mother In Law is telling him that I am too soft with the kids and making them lazy. She says doing everything for them will stifle their development and ability to think for themselves. She says this will disadvantage them later.

Magnet Chore Chart For Sale via Etsy 

She says that other kids that have grown up with chores will end up getting the good jobs as they are more capable and will have more developed skills than our kids.

She says that we are doing them more harm than good and that kids actually want and need responsibility.

Wooden Chore Chart via Etsy 

Last week my Husband dropped into his Parents and she sent him home with some Magnetic Chore Charts which he put on our Fridge and said we should start using. He said that he feels the kids should be contributing to the household and that his Mother has a point.

I feel like she is interfering and that our children are way too young to be doing chores. They are kids, not housekeepers and vacuuming and doing dishes and cleaning toilets is something they simply should not have to do. I believe this will stress them out and cut into their free time.

Chore Chart via Etsy 

I would like to know how others feel about chores and if they have them in their home. I also think that if the kids are going to be forced to do chores that they should be paid. My husband said this defeats the purpose and that pocket money is a separate issue.

I would love to hear what others thoughts are when it comes to Chores. Is it a good idea or are we taking advantage of our kids with unpaid labor?

I look forward to seeing what others have to say.

Thanks so much for your time, Susie

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69 COMMENTS

  1. My little ones were taught to make their bed before breakfast (still looked a mess lol) but it was a healthy habit to teach them they were capable of tasks,and yes they did other small chores as well,They were made feel part of our family by joining in.Great idea.

  2. I grew up with a lack of chores. My mom was stay at home and a military wife. My dad was a pilot and away from home a lot. I feel that I didn’t get the benefit of doing chores. Today, I am lax in my house cleaning and would love to have more structure in my life. Chores let kids know that you need to work and help around the house. It doesn’t cut into their free time. Kids as young as these love doing things with their parents and it allows them help around the house and gives them time with mommy and daddy.

    Money doesn’t have to be part of each individual chore. You can give them a set amount of chores that are age appropriate and a small allowance at the end of each week. This also teaches them that if they work hard and do tasks correctly and timely, they be rewarded and this also helps them with money management, a skill which I also lack proficiency in! 🙂 My mother was raised on a working farm and didn’t want her kids to do the kind of work she did growing up. I can understand that, but a happy middle ground is healthy.

  3. I didn’t make my 4 children do chores other than pick up after themselves and naturally exhibit good hygiene. I am a hard worker or was until I retired and still am extremely active. My children are a steel salesman, a chemist, a plumber and a nurse. All are hardworking contributing members of society. I too wanted them to enjoy their childhood as much as reasonably possible. I encouraged them to be independent and make their own decisions (within reason) from an early age. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree, but the results speak for themselves.

  4. When our 3 boys were small, I would paste a picture of clothes on the floor and a picture beside it with clothes hanging in the closet (as an example). They were proud they could do that. When they learned to read, I made list of what I wanted them to do that day and told them after they checked with their dad (he had his list too) their day was there own.
    They were also proud to do those things. One of the boys said he wanted to be paid. I explained I wasn’t paid to do chores, that it was accepting responsibility for the house I lived in and the family I loved.

  5. I also came from a military family and my husband and one son where both military. I grew up watching my younger sisters and had to wash the dinner dishes. We had horses and dogs which I also had to feed and clean stalls but only once I was old enough for those responsibilities. I think some AGE appropriate chores are good, but not all household chores. I think learning to care for a pet is good as it teaches them if you love someone you must take care of that relationship and to learn to care for the well being of others.

  6. its good for kids to be able to do basic things – i taught both my sons to iron when they started at secondary school because i had a full-time job and they had a clean white shirt every day – they were also supposed to make their beds and keep their room tidy but this wasnt easy with one tidy child and one messy one – i did lots with them when they were young and with their help there was more time for play

  7. I also was raised doing chores and am thankful for it. My three boys made their beds, cleaned their rooms on Saturday morning and each had a job that contributed to the family “team”, taking out the trash daily, filling and emptying the dishwasher after supper and cleaning their bathroom. These jobs were rotated weekly. Our thinking was that they should be responsible for their own things and space as well as something that would benefit the entire family. They were not paid for this, however, there was always a list of jobs that paid. Washing the car, sweeping the patio, weeding the garden etc. These jobs had the price beside it and you just had to sign up, first come, first serve basis. Grass mowing and snow shoveling were a given and everyone helped. I can say my boys all respect and understand the value of money,take care of their belongings and are all hard workers. I really believe that children that have everything given to them and never have to contribute end up not knowing how to do the basics, and the reality of having to work for a living is hard on them.

    I also feel that this is an issue between Susie and her husband. Susie’s mother-in-law, although I agree with her, needs to step back, “Not her zoo, not her monkey’s” :0) I think if Susie can toughen up some and her husband soften up some, they can come to a happy solution although it will take time for the children to adapt. BTW, Susie’s husband, it’s NEVER a good idea to come home and tell criticisms from your mother to your wife no matter how well intended.

  8. Age appropriate chores are an excellent idea. I work in custody and on a daily basis meet young people who expect the world to mollycoddle them. I talk to their parents who never asked them to do anything and bitterly regret it. Chores shouldn’t be a dirty word. When they grow up they will have to take responsibility and this begins with small steps at home. There may come a time or period in your life when you actually need their help and they either don’t know what to do or resent it.

  9. Chores teach responsibility, and make children feel like a real part of the family. All family members should contribute to making their home.

  10. Some day they will be young adults. Living w/a roommate or partner is not a pretty sight when one is stuck with “the little prince” who knows not how to take out garbage, wash a dish, load a dishwasher, carry in groceries .. and on and on. No one says the “military way” is the best. I wanted my son to be a part of wherever he landed. He is. Unfortunately, one of the room mates is a “little prince” who believes in the fairy who cleans the litter box, brings in mail, loads dishwasher, leaves laundry … anywhere and know not how to make a meal at age 35. His mom is sad .. she sees she raised an LP and all around him wonder… Do not be THAT mom.

  11. My grandson who is 5 likes to help carry dishes to the table so the toddler does as well with my help. Children should have age appropriate chores but it is not up to the grandmother. She should but out unless you ask for her advice.

  12. I had 6 children and bought up 5 grandchildren and all were made to help with washing up and drying the dishes also make their bed and tidy their room after I had done the washing ironing cleaning taking them to school and picked them up and cooked it did not hurt them now they are all grown up with their own family so no it does not do them any harm to have chores of their own

  13. its always good for children to have chores that are age appropriate. as they get older, they learn responsibility and yes, order. i don’t agree that your mother in law should be in on this, and your husband should make it clear to her that the two of you will work it out and she should stay out of it UNLESS asked by BOTH of you for input.
    sit down with your husband and come to an agreement on chores that are suitable for your children.
    they may not do the greatest job at them, and if they have not been doing any kind of chores might resent this change at first, but make it gradual. explain to them that they are part of the family and everyone has a part in helping to keep the family home nice, and also teach them how it is helping you as well as helping themselves.
    we did not give money for chores. we felt they needed to know how to contribute because it is the right thing to do, not just to get rewarded. telling them they have done a fine job is the reward in and of itself. but please… don’t say “good job” for every little thing they do. just say thank you for your help or something like that. saying ‘good job’ all the time and they begin to think that everything they do is good, and that trying harder to do better is lost. if they have not done a good job, you can say something like, ‘i think we need to do this a little better. we taught our kids this saying “good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is your best!’
    they learned that working towards ‘their best’ was a good thing.
    they started learning different chores as time went along.
    our children started to learn how to do their laundry when they were seven. ironing when they were 12. by the time they were in high school they were doing all their own laundry and ironing. (we have one son and one daughter)
    they started learning to cook when they were in grade school. they are both fantastic cooks! they have families of their own now and are teaching them the same way. they are thankful that we taught them along the way because when they went out on their own, they knew how to take care of themselves. it also helped them in how they performed at their jobs as adults. they learned responsibility growing up and that carried over to the workplace once they were out on their own. children have enough free time. parents today tend to baby their kids thinking it will hurt them to do chores.
    it won’t. they will thank you for it later.
    sit down with your husband (by yourselves) and talk about how to implement these very important learning attributes. 2 years old is not too young to learn that doing chores can be fun. picking up toys and putting them in a bin, or even dusting!
    when our daughter was two, i put two dust mops on her feet and showed her how she could have fun dusting the floor! she loved it! did she get every corner? no, but she was having fun learning. chores do not have to be faced as “work” always, but can be made fun too! a mixture of fun and responsibility will teach your children much.
    and i agree w the persons remarks just before mine. when our kids were ten and 13, i broke my leg, they pitched in and helped w the house work and i never heard a complaint and i let them know how much their help meant to me. and i didn’t even have to ask.

  14. I was raised with chores, and I had no problems with moving into my own place. Teaching chores to children can help as they get older and decide to,either, move out on their own or to marry. How would they eat or have clean cholthes, if they don’T learn to do by doing chores.

  15. I don’t think that having children, even as young as yours, be responsible for little things is unreasonable. Things like throwing their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, picking up their toys when they’re finished playing with them or helping to feed the family pet teaches them responsibility. My children are grown with children of their own. When my granddaughter, who is 6, stays with me for a few days, she has things that she’s responsible for – hanging up her coat, putting her clean and dirty clothes where they belong, and picking up her toys. She’s been doing this since she was 2. If she asks, I let her help with folding the laundry or washing the dishes – which she loves doing.
    When I was 12, I started helping my mother with chores such as family laundry, dusting furniture, running the vacuum cleaner and washing and drying dishes. When my children were 10, they were responsible for their own laundry. When they were 12, they had to help clean the common areas every Saturday before they were able to go out and play with their friends.
    As far as your mother-in-law, is your husband going to her for help or is she just offering suggestions on her own?

  16. I totally believe that young children, growing up should definitely have responsibilities. Should it be washing dishes, removing the garbage daily, compost, whatever. Make their own beds, clean their rooms, and groom themselves. Helping around the house when asked, or have a weekly regime. They love it, makes them feel like an adult and proud of themselves. When they are adults, they don’t have to be asked…it’s just something they will do and will affect them in their adult working lives…

  17. WELL GROWING UP I DID NOT HAVE ANY CHORES IF I WANTED TO MOW THE LAWN I DID IF NOT DAD WOULD . AND IN MY WORKING TIMES I WAS KNOWN TO WORK 2 JOBS .AND AT ONE TIME 3 JOBS FOR ABOUT 8 MONTHS OR SO. I WOULD ALSO HUSTLE UP EXTRA MONEY WHEN I COULD. IF I WAS STILL ABLE TO WORK I WOULD STILL BE DOING IT. BUT HAVE A SEVER BACK INJURY AND DO NOT WORK AT ANYTHING AT ALL OH AND I PAID CASH FOR THE FIRST HOUSE I HAD.

  18. Never hurt me or my children, Now my Grandchildren have chores to do before and after school.
    I taught my sons to make simple food from the age of 5 and at 10 they were given the task of making a full meal form picking the recipe and looking for ingredients and if none available they could buy it to cooking it.
    Both are great cooks and both say that their children will be taught the same way.
    Kids need to be taught that they need to start to clean up after themselves you won’t be able to do it when they are adults Hopefully

  19. As I told my kids when they complained, unless they were sure of having a maid when they left home they had better learn how to fend for themselves. They got points and then got their pocket money. they could also get their siblings (if lucky) to do their chores but the sibs would get the points.
    They are healthy happy parents themselves now and NONE of their kids do chores. So go figure. lol

  20. Age appropriate small chores have never hurt children & makes them realize it is part of being a family, no money given for that, but if extra chores are done once again age appropriate thern yes payment is agreed upon & paid. While you may enjoy doing everything for them now, you may as they get older & you also get older, find this becomes more of a chore & not quite so enjoyable when you begin to realize you are every body’s dogs body, so you may be making a rod for your own back. Your Mother-in-law is entitled to her opinion as long as she is asked for it of course. Looks like you & hubby need to sit down & find middle ground. Maybe you can at the same time bring up the fact in a nice way that perhaps you would all as a family could enjoy things more if he was just a little less regimented. Small steps lead to big things. Good Luck with it all

  21. My 2 sisters and I were brought up by my single Mum and were expected to help out a lot. My mother worked full time and, as the eldest, from age 10 it was my job to cook dinner each night, do all the washing etc with my younger sisters helping me. When I was 13 Mum was extemely ill and was bed ridden for several months. Our grandfather lived over an hour away and not in the best of health himself, we had no other close relatives. I was in charge of running the household, looking after my mother, getting us to school etc etc. A neighbour would drop me at the shops on the way to work each Saturday for me to do the shopping, go the bank, pay any bills and pay the rent then get a taxi home. A neighbour checked on mum while we were at school. If we had not been taught to help out around the house from the time we were small we would have ended in care and I don’t know what would have happened to my mother. My kids were brought up doing age appropriate chores and my daughter in law has thanked me for this and is bringing my grandchildren up to do the same. Kids like helping. The mother in law needs to butt out.

  22. After 7 children, yes they all had chores, 2 were very lazy and managed to get out of it someway. They suffered by not completing their chores, less time to play outside. I never used money as the incentive. Today those same 2 lazy daughters have children of their own, and there is no way those kids would lift a finger to assist, they would be happy playing with their toys. Now those mothers have all the trouble in the world just to get them to pick up their toys and their mothers are still the lazy children they were many years ago. Give them age appropriate chores, tell MIL to butt out, allow your hubby some slack and get your children moving on some chores. You sure will appreciate that in years to come, it will teach them responsibility

  23. I don’t think it’s too much to expect children to do some chores if they are age appropriate. My children had to clean their rooms, make their beds and help with the dishes. Probably not done to my standards but we live with that as it does teach them some responsibility. Both of my children have different styles of parenting. One is very conscious of having his children help around the house and with both parents working it helps to keep the house tidy and the boys love to help. Unfortunately my daughter is the opposite. Her children do nothing in the house to help. Their rooms are messy, beds unmade, toys all over the place and do not appreciate anything that is done for them or given to them. Both parents also work. I know which I’d prefer.

  24. My husband and I had five children and the were expected to do chores. First of all, make their bed as soon as they got up. Then, as they got older the 3 girls took turns with clearing the dinner table, rinsing the dishes and starting the dishwasher. The 2 boys would take the garbage out and sweep the kitchen. I taught them all to cook and I thing my youngest son is a better cook than his wife. They are all in their fifties now and are well rounded, responsible adults. They say they never felt like their chores were a burden and now they are teaching their own children to do chores. They understood our position that you do your part as a member of the family.

  25. I think your mother in law is interfering, children grow up way to quick these days and no child of 6 or 7 should be made to clean toilets that is the mothers job as as a homebody . Kids can do chores by picking up after themselves tiding their own rooms and play space. Making children do the kind of chores your mother in law is suggesting, is paramount to child labour without pay. Children should be encouraged to help in and around the home to earn pocket money,and saying that the jobs should be reasonable. All I can say is your mother in law was lazy and a bully

  26. My 33 to 40 year old children all say they were VERY glad they learned to do chores when they were young. I gave each of my kids a small blue basket & a white basket with their name on them for their laundry. From the time they could walk, we played the “dirty clothes” game: white clothes go in white basket, dark clothes go in blue basket. And “sock fish” (I used a colored sharpie to put their name on the soles of their own socks & we “fished” for them) In time, they moved on to doing their own laundry-they secretly hated sock fish! Everyone took their own dinnerware to the sink from the time they could walk well. Later, they took turns helping me do the dishes, and later still, they did the dishes on their own.
    Each family is different, but each child should at least be taught to pick up their own toys and clothes.

  27. My children did chores so they would no how to do things for themselves when they became adults, & to learn if they are going to make a mess they need to clean it up. Mine even coked 1 night aweek. May not have been the best meal but it was a joy for them to be included around the house & have more full family time. I did chores growing up myself growing up. It does teach responsibility in the future for jobs. To many now days wants someone else to do it for them. I wouldn’t pay a person to do a job if they don’t do it

  28. You received some very good advice here. Take the advice to your husband and talk about what you received so, you and your husband can make the decision as the parents to your children. I’m a grandparent and I had to realize I needed to keep my opinions to myself. My children’s house is exactly that…their house, not mine. If they ask for advice I am there to give it and if it’s heeded then awesome, if it’s not then that was their decision.
    With this said, I see benefits to having age appropriate chores. My children had chores yet they were still able to be children. Also, personalities play a part, one child may thoroughly enjoy doing chores where the other one might not. Being a mom that loves being a mom can normally tell when something is harming our children. Talk with your husband and you two come to an agreement. Both of you need to give a little and take a little. And that’s my two cents… whatever it’s worth.

  29. I was made to do chores every Saturday, and Sunday starting when I was 5 years old. By the time I was 7, I was cleaning the bathroom, doing the laundry, cleaning the refrigerator, dusting, and vacuuming, on top of doing the dishes every night of the week. It would take me about 5 hours each weekend day to complete these chores, as my friends were outside playing. Both of my parents worked, and I was an only child, so they expected me to pitch in as much as they did. I do feel as though I missed out on a part of my childhood, and am sometimes resentful that so much was expected of me. I have 2 teenage daughters and a teenage son, who all keep clean rooms, do their laundry, and help with meals. When they were children, I let them spend their time doing the things they loved to do, and they have all become capable, hardworking young people.

  30. Not giving you children chires is what is going to harm them. Every child needs to have some kind of chore. The first being is to out their toys away. This you start teaching them as soon as they can oick up a toy. Thats right i mean even as a baby. When baby is done playing, you have bsby hold the toy snd you carry bsby to his/her toy chest and you say ” and now we put the ( state toys name) in its chest. The baby drops it is. You say ” yay! My. Bear is in his chest!” And you tell your baby was a very helpful bsby he is.
    If course the chores get more complicated if you w ill, according to their abilities. And yes each child should contribute to tsking care if their home. They live their, they make messes, they eat the food. Theyre not guests at a five star hotel. Its only the last generation of kids that are beingvraised to believe that they are entitled and shouldn’t have to do snything at all ever. And thst fsult is in the heads if the parents. We grew up with chores. Lots of them, and without any of this ” allowance” crap. If they want somethingbother than Christmas ir their birthday, they can go earn it. We did it and we grew up fine. You dont want to hear it,but your motherbin law is right. And no its nit your mother in lawsvfault if your husbsnd has not a spontanious bone in his bidy. Theres many people like that ,that didnt get raised in a strict military style. If you want your kids to grow up whiney spoiled brats, just do as youre doing. If you want them to raise their children to be whiney spoiled brats, do as youre doing.

  31. I always had chores when I was growing up and got a weekly allowance. My children had chores and I paid them a weekly allowance also. I feel this teaches them responsibility and gives them guidance and a good work ethic.

  32. Listen to your mother in law because she is right!. The problem with kids today is they don’t have to do anything at home so how are they going to learn to to things and take responsibility for anything if they are not taught at home.
    This generation of kids that are leaving home now think that the world owes them a living, because that is all they know. They have no idea what is expected of them when they get out in the real world and have to make a living.
    Or maybe you would rather have them dependent on you and have them living with you when they get to be 30 years old because they can’t keep a job.

  33. There can be a very healthy balance between chores and impulse activities. Foster independence and pride is age appropriate chores and responsibilities. Encourage playful activities for when the work is done.
    My sister has 5 Great-grandchildren under 5 who can put their toys away very quickly and with no talk back. And often it means more quality time with their parents which is always a good reward.
    My own children all learned to cook and do some cleaning very early on as part of the family. All were prepared for when they moved into their own house.

  34. It’s important for both parents to be on the same page for this very important issue. It is also vital for the mother-in-law to butt out!! Her way may have worked with her family and lifestyle, but her son and daughter-in-law have their own family and lifestyle. That said, I feel children should have age-appropriate expectations and “chores”. Expectations are just that – what is expected to be done everyday by everyone. Hanging up your jacket, clothes in the hamper, making the bed, toys and personal items put away, brushing your teeth, washing your face, Chores – feeding the pet, setting the table, learning to cook, vacuum, load and unload the dishwasher, learning how to wash, dry, fold and put away clothes, cleaning the yard, mowing the lawn, putting out the trash, etc. To avoid resentment, assign chores equally between brothers and sisters and older and younger children. I hate doing dinner dishes to this day because I had to do it for ten years just because my parents thought it was too much to ask my younger siblings (six of them) to `do it (too many dishes). My brothers didn’t know how to cook or clean because they were “boys” and “boys” don’t do housework. Not. So. Good Luck!!

  35. Our kids had to keep their rooms and cupboards clean, and helped with dishes. When they were older they helped prepare meals. When they left home , they all expressed their gratitude that they at least knew how to fend for themselves.

  36. My siblings and I grew up in non-military family, however we had assigned chores from clearing the table after supper and dong he dishes. we also had to set the table when we got home from school as well as start supper.

    We planned and made sunday dinners from scratch. I learned how to bake bread from scratch at around 7 years old.

    We learned how to sew our own clothes at 10 and 11 because we wanted our mother to make doll clothes for us one summer, and she told us that we would have to make them ourselves and had set up a sewing instruction at local sewing store that summer.

    We also had outside chores in the garden. If it had not been for these chores an discipline, I doubt if I would have grown up into the organized person I am today.

    I would like to mention that I went into the service myself and found the discipline and learning of chores helped me through boot camp. I saw first hand what happened to the kids that did not have to perform chores at home before they entered the service, They mustered out in a hurry within about 2 to 4 weeks.

    ‘I passed on the learning of cooking and keeping house onto my children, and they have not suffered one bit.

    I might add that it wasn’t all work, we had a lot of fun. when work was done we went into the woods, or swimming , walks in the winter in the snow and so much more.
    No, I feel children should start out easy with chores, even if it just means they take out the garbage, feed the pets, or set/clear the table or learn how to make their bed. Think of how much this takes off of your work day.

  37. Giving your children chores to do – is not a crime! letting them work with you whilst young; teaches them the responsibility to clean up after themselves. Working yourself to death is not the answer. Besides “many hands make light work” – the job is finished quicker; giving you time to also go out and play with your children.
    Teaching them chores and also the purpose of being hygienically clean strenghthens your children; making them respectful children that respect others that can relate to what you as a mother goes through.

    There is nothing worst being in the company of spoilt brat children / adults that have no respect for someone that has just mopped the floor and they walk in with dirty shoes without wiping their feet – or just get up from the table leaving dirty dishes / cups on the table – have dustbins overflowing or the sink with dirty dishes or wear creased clothes because they use to “Mommy” running behind them – cleaning up and doing everything for them. They turn out to be disrespectful spoilt brats that wait for the maid to come clean the overflowing dustbins and sinks.

    By giving your children chores; not only teaches them responsibility; but also respect – they will understand what you go through as a mother; assisting you is going to make your life a lot more enjoyable – giving you more family time!
    The last you want in your life is when people refer to your children as the lazy spoilt brat – especially when they are in their 20’s

  38. As a child I had to do dishes, vacuum and dust, although I hated it, it did teach me the necessity of a clean house. My daughter always refused to do chores, and as a grown up, still won’t clean house.

  39. I think first and foremost Mother in law should stop interfering and Susies husband should tell his mother that when they need her advice they will ask for it. However I do think that children should be given age related chores to teach them responsibility and team work. If you start by doing it with them it gives them some parent time too. I do think that the youngest one is too young, 4 is the best time to start.

  40. I think your mother-in-law should butt-out.
    My children knew to put their used plastic cup in the sink when done with it when they were in the walker (made a great basketball game out of it).
    By 3 they could participate with day’s clothing choice and getting dressed.
    By the age of 4 they knew how to dress themselves, put their own drink from the small pitcher placed on the low shelf in fridge, and put their dirty clothes in the hamper.
    By 5 they could clean the bathroom and put their pile of clean folded clothes (that were placed at their designated dining room table seat) in the appropriate bedroom bureau drawers.
    By 6 they could set the table, feed the dog, make their own lunch for next day’s school sack, get their backpack and books ready for the next morning.
    Between 7 and 8 they could vacuum and dust.
    I had a huge calendar on the wall which they knew would have their weekly chores spelled out for them.
    I had a schedule for them to come home from school, have a snack, do your chore, do your homework, go out and play.
    It was never a military atmosphere, rather an expected mode of behavior in a family (community) setting. It was always emphasized that my home was THEIR home, and as such we all have a responsibility to keep order, cleanliness, and respect for each other’s work.
    My children are all adults now. They all decided to aim for prestigious colleges and put themselves through schools of their ambition and choice. My eldest became the youngest U.S. CEO of a major corporation while in his 20’s, my middle started a new labor union after having traveled many nations, and my youngest has the highest gov’t security clearance for a civilian after having served in the military.
    I never beat them with fists or words.
    What I did was foster in them independence, and pride in self, work and home.
    A happy child is a self-sufficient child.

  41. Chores are an important experience for children. It teaches them responsibility, pride in their accomplishments, themselves & their surroundings, respect for themselves & others as well as empathy. Learning to be responsible to themselves, others, something, is important. Empathy for others through helping is an amazing thing. Nothing better than your child recognizing you or someone else needs help and volunteering the help. Respect for a job well done & for taking responsibility for doing it is a wonderful thing.

  42. Part of the problem may be that it seems you’re looking at chores almost as punishment. This makes me wonder how chores may have been presented to you as a child. My mom would blast the 1812 Overture as she, my three brothers and I cleaned the house. At the end we all met in the living room for the grand death scene as the exploding bombs blasted through the speakers. Chores can be both fun and just another way to spend time together. Let them see the value of caring for their home and their own belongings. It does not have to be presented as punishment or burden. I was a single mom so my daughter was forced to be self sufficient. After she was at college about a month she sent me a beautiful letter thanking me for raising her to be strong and independent. She noted she was surprised half the kids could wipe their own butts they were such babies. She flew past them and is now a Doctor in the Navy. Strength and independence is probably more linked to character and taking ownership and responsibility for yourself, consequences of actions etc. Chores is only a part of this and, I think should be viewed as a way for a child to contribute to the family, to be an active participant in the home and as parents it can be made fun. I recommend blasting the 1812 Overture and never skip the death scene 😉 My Mom was awesome!

  43. Children need to learn to help around the house washing a few dishes or helping load the washer never hurt anybody and their rooms should be their responsibility I know you don’t want to think of this but you may not always be there to take care of everything let them help then when they are grown they will be able to take care of their selves somebody tought you thank your mother for that

  44. I had four girls and they all had chores…. I think this teaches responsibility….. I think they need to learn how to do things…. Too many spend too much time on their phones these days and they don’t even learn how to communicate with others….

  45. Are they required to do so many chores that there is no time for play? Are they doing nothing but play? There is a balance that needs to be met. If a child never has to do anything to feel needed or that he/she is making a contribution, what are you teaching that child? Do YOU give yourself time for “play”? How did YOU ever figure out that you had to do somethings no matter if you wanted to or not? Are you raising your child(ren) to know that life is not a bowl of cherries but requires input from them? Will your child(ren) be a participant in society or be a leach? Think about it and make your own decisions but remember that they will very likely turn out the way you raised them to be.

  46. I never pushed my children to do chores, They had to clean their room and ‘help out’ sometimes. But many times they never did, and it was easier for me to do things than fight with them to do chores. I now regret it, as my oldest now has a family and home of her own, and it is always a mess. Her excuse is I do not know how. And my youngest who lives at home. Is too busy working and spending time with her friends to help. The only rule I stuck too was, when you turn 16 you do your own laundry. When they ran out of clean clothes, and I would not wash any they got the idea. When my grand children are her they like to “help” Grammy.

  47. Hi. i’m a 66 year old mother of 4. My husband worked hard, and I held 2 part-time jobs. Many times I have been thanked my my children for the chores and structure they had growing up. (I have not read the other replies so I may be repeating things here…) Simply put, our kids, each at almost 4 years apart, were given a different chore each week. One was setting the table for dinner, cleanup of the table and doing dishes. One was to clean their bathroom. One was to vacuum the house. One was given dusting and glass cleaning. (These chores were given weekly so the previous “cleaner” dd not slack off before the other kid took over.) When young, I taught them how to do it and supervised their cleaning, helping if need be. As teens, of course they hated the chores, but were not allowed to socialize if the chores were not done. As adults, they are proud to knows how to run a household, which spills into other areas of life. i am glad I had the wisdom to teach these habits. As for money for chores, NO. Chores are part of living in the home. An allowance was based on their age. This was many years ago, so the eldest teen had a $5 allowance per month. I think we were fair, as everything they needed was supplied to them and their allowance was for them to use how they wished. One more thing, if toys were left out when they went to bed, they were picked up by me and placed into a large garbage bag. I added toys as they were left out. I returned the bag to them on Christmas Eve. Sometimes they waited all year! But once you do this, the kids do not need to be told to pick up after themselves. My kids learned to do their own laundry and ironing at about 10 years of age. Hope this helps! I am very proud of the adults they have become.

  48. I believe all children should be taught to do their chores but there are limitations. A 4-year old, for example, should not be asked to vacuum or clean a bathroom. However, children of any age can learn how to do little things which are age appropriate. My two girls were taught to make their beds, clean up their rooms and put away their toys as they got older. Now they are wonderful mothers who know how to make beds and clean properly. There are some wonderful charts available through Google that may help you decide which tasks you would like to distribute. This will give the children a sense of being “big kids” and perhaps placate your husband and in-laws resulting in less judgement. Good luck!

  49. I grew up doing most of the chores and I hated it and thought my kids wouldn’t have to do much if any of the chores. When I married I was glad I learnt to cook and clean. My husband was a neat freak and it was a bone of contention when things weren’t in apple pie order even though I was ill and had a new baby that cried all the time. I found a schedule helped even though I didn’t stick to it religously. Yes I did end up giving my children age appropriate chores but didn’t give them anything like what I had. One was good at dodging chores and cooking and thought I should have been stricter as she then had to learn a lot when she married. Lucky her husband was good at things and could even sew on buttons and iron. Give them chores but don’t make it about their allowance. Hope you work it out.

  50. 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My kids were 15 (boy) and 13 (girl) plus a 20 year old that no longer lived with us. My husband told me one night, shortly after the diagnosis, that he didn’t know how he would be able to raise the two kids at home if anything happened to me. I laughed and told him that they only needed him to write the checks to pay the mortgage and keep the lights on. He thought I was kidding but I wasn’t. The kids had chores from the time they were old enough to walk (putting toys away, keeping their rooms neat). By the time they were in their teens, they could cook, clean, take care of the house & yard, do their own homework, get themselves up and to/from school, all without an adult directing or catering to them.

    I was always told by well-meaning do-gooders that I was robbing them of their childhood by making them do chores – my reply is that my job as a parent is to prepare them for life outside of my home and I will be darned if I drive over to their homes and make their beds for them after they move out.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, these kids aren’t perfect. We had our share of issues with them as teenagers, but none of them are in jail, they are working, one is raising a family and they are all law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. If you ask them, they don’t feel like they missed out on anything because they had to come home and do their laundry or mow the yard instead of going to the movies with their friends. I get to sleep better at night because I know they aren’t starving and wearing the same clothes for 3 weeks at a time.

  51. I agree with all you have said about kids being kids, but I also feel that reasonable chores help to develop cooperation and independence. My kids (3) had to help clear the table after every meal, as did my husband. Depending upon how many dishes were on the table, I would say, “Clear your plate plus X,” where X was anything from 1 to 5. They would have to clear their own plate and silverware, plus X other things. With all of us working together (team building) the table was cleared in no time.
    They also put their own clothes away at a relatively young age (a little older than yours). My husband made a large shelf over the washer and dryer. I folded the wash as soon as I took it out of the dryer and placed the clothes in separate piles. We each had a different location for our pile of folded clothes (including my husband). It was their job to take their pile upstairs to their room and put the clothes away. I never looked in their drawers. I’m sure some were messy and some very neat, but any mess was out of sight in a closed drawer.
    Lastly, they had to have a clean room when they went to bed—all toys, etc., put away. They each had shelves with labeled bins in their room, so it was easy to do.
    As they got older more chores were added.
    They never got an allowance for these chores. We felt chores were part of living together in harmony. No one paid me to vacuum! There are other theories that an allowance gives a child training about how to handle money, and I can see that point, but I would not change my methods if I had it to do again. My kids are all grown now, and have done beautifully handling their money. Their children (who all get an allowance for chores) expect to be paid any time they lift a finger!
    In the end, though, you have to do what works for you.

  52. Kids NED to be necessary. I would always say, “This family is a 5-person job.” (We are a family of 5). They were the only kids I know who know how to do everything. They can cook, fix anything, build stuff, help people, you name it.I hate chore charts–we just did stuff around the house as necessary. NEVER tell them to do it right, NEVER go behind and re-do it. That undermines them. Be grateful and verbally thankful. It’s not rocket science, be satisfied. No OCD over how they do it. They learn to be efficient, take it in stride, help out, see what needs done. They don’t take advantage of others, they value a good job well done. Good Enough is Good Enough is a good motto. If anyone rarely complains, tell them they would be baling hay and mucking stalls if they lived on a farm. Kids are 16, 18, and 21 now and turned out spectacular.

  53. All members of a family have a “job” to do. Dad and/or Mom need to go to work to make enough money to feed, clothe and house the family. Children, when age appropriate, also have a “job” to do. Pick up after themselves, help in the kitchen when possible, help with yard work when possible and their main “job” to GET GOOD GRADES IN SCHOOL. Not teaching these basics shortchanges your child and promotes “entitled” adults.

  54. I didn’t take time to read all the comment’s but here’s my thought…
    I am a Mom of 5 and a Grandma of 12! I only have 5 of the grand kid’s around me 24/7 the rest are scattered across the country… I wanted to start teaching them at an early age to pick up after themselves and do little thing’s on the schedule line but because their Mommy wasn’t taught that way she oped to let them go and do as they please and now she is the chore mule of the house. The kid’s range from 8 to 3 and trust me they know how to trash a home in a heart beat. GET MY DRIFT? I use to help her with it but got too feeble due to cancer and body break down’s. Susie I love my kid’s and grand kid’s and I want them to depend on me as much as possible but they need to know how to do things on their own because … WELL let’s face it no one lives for ever.
    I don’t want them struggling to learn how to do something when they can no longer ask me… EVEN if I’m alive I may develop a memory loss or stroke or something that will enable me from teaching them the way it’s to be done. Once my son & daughter has learned this issue they have decided it’s time to teach the kid’s the responsibilities
    of being responsible and helping by doing what they can and should. They are slow about it at times and want to neglect the things they can and should do and want to do the thing’s they really aren’t old or big enough to do yet but thast’s just part of life in a child. There are times they are allowed to do those things like as an award for other job’s well done but in the manner it is also a new skills level to begin learning ( a little at a time).

  55. Our son had his set chores – tidy his room, help with stacking / unstacking dishwasher and lighting the fire for our slow-combustion stove, feeding his horse and dog we told him that helping was being part of a family and he was given a small amount of pocket money. However for other household jobs, helping clean out the animal pens (we bred goats), cleaning the horses paddocks, washing the car, horsefloat, goat trailer etc meant he could earn money to save up for something he especially wanted.

    He even used to ‘help’ vacuum when he was a toddler – yes it was only partly done but he wanted to help and I believe in encouraging a child. I used to say to people who said they wouldn’t allow their child to do that because it wouldn’t be done properly that “oh well, what he missed this time he’ll get next”.

    Children shouldn’t learn that everything is given to them on a platter and that everyone has to pitch in to help. He is now a well adjusted young man which a beautiful wife and darling son who at 14 months is also encouraged to help – it’s a game to help put his toys away and he loves taking his nappy and putting it in the bin. We’ve just bought him a little wheelbarrow so he can help mummy and daddy in the garden.

  56. Chores are not necessarily done as help around the house. Chores I believe help with showing children that life is not always play time. A chore can be anything from being responsible for a cleaning task to taking the dog for a walk.
    Sure, many children are raised doing nothing but playing, hanging out with friends, sports, etc and they turn out fine. Or they can turn out to be self centered, no clue how to wash clothes let alone load a dishwasher. That depends on the personality of the child and I believe how much the parents catered to the child’s every whim.
    You may already have them doing small tasks that others consider chores and not realize it.
    Small children love to help, are you refusing the help and telling them to go play when what they really want is to help you out of love.
    My grand daughter loves to wash dishes. No it is not a chore, but if she asks, I let her. What harm will it be for her to scrub a wooden spoon for 5 minutes in soapy water. Nothing.
    Talk to your husband, understand your kids are not housekeepers, but have them be responsible for their belongings and room and a bit of trash removal or toy pick up will not harm their time away from play.
    You are raising them to be a productive adult, not a child for the rest of their lives.

  57. Kids today do not want to pick up after themselves. Having Chinese at a young age teaches them responsibilities.
    If kids do not learn at a young age they will not know how to do the basic things in life.
    Moving to their own apt someday will give them the basic ideas on what they learned growing up. It will not hurt them to learn very young.
    To me it is better then them getting everything they want and being spoiled brats.
    I have been around young kids that have no idea on how to do anything because a parent does it all.

  58. I’m a mother of four. I always thought that my biggest contribution to my kids was to teach them the skills they would need in order to take care of themselves when they faced the world on their own. They had chores from the time they were small that were suited to their age and abilities. Even a toddler can help pick up their toys at bedtime. When they get older you give them more responsibilities. They can still have plenty of time to enjoy their childhood.

    I think it gives them a sense of security knowing that they can take care of their own needs when they are grown and ready to leave the nest. My kids are all grown now, self sufficient and raising families of their own.

  59. I raised 5 sons and I agree with your husband and your mother-in-law. My sons all know how to take care of themselves, they can cook , clean, keep themselves presentable. They also know how to go outside and do a good job of getting outside work done too. My boys are now in their 50’s and still are very capable of caring for themselves and their families. The responsibility gives good construction for their lives and helps them to share with others with their capabilities Proud of my sons!

  60. it does not hurt children to have chores like cleaning their room making their bed picking up clothes that themselves have left on the floor and it does not hurt for one child to wash dishes and the other dry what are they going to do when they become teenagers or go out on their own they have not been taught the basics when your child goes to a sleepover he or she needs to pick up after themselves and help set or clear the table at their friends house it sure never hurt me or my siblings plus I know my boys do not half to take on a wife to look after them

  61. As a young person I did chores. To this day I believe that set a good example for me. Nothing in this life is free. I never felt pressured or forced, or entitled. I always felt a part of the family. My grandparents took me in and raised me. I learned some valuable lessons by doing what was asked of me. For some of the things i was asked to do that had me –going to the store, mailing a letter for ex I got a small money reward. So does it hurt for the child to learn to do chores In my opinion absolutly not.

  62. Your children are very young. I started with simple things like cleaning up toys after play. Getting children up early to do chores sounds cruel. I would never have made a young child clean a toilet for instance. Children learn as they age anyway. Husband needs to learn to chill and just have some fun himself. Mother-in-law needs to back off. I am a mother-in-law and if I have an idea I talk with daughter- in -law in person. I get her opinion and then leave whatever in her hands. She does the same with me.

    Why go through son and cause stress.

  63. I think doing shores is part of the growing up process. It does not mean being excluded from the family, it makes the family more of a team. Learning to make your bed, put dirty clothes in the laundry basket, do your homework and put your toys away are not difficult. As the chilidren get older, they can do things that are more appropiate which will help them with their social skills and ability to leave home & look after themselves. For example: setting the table, clearing the table, learning which foods require refridgeration / freezer. or can go in the pantry, washing & drying dishes, the necessity for cleaning dirty dishes, Even if there is a dishwasher, unloading the washer & later learning how to load it teach a person so much about housefold chores and general hygiene. As they get older taking out the rubbish. helping in the garden. or the house will teach them to think of others as well as themselves. Theses `older` tasks can be limited to 1 to 2 hours, depending on the number of helpers. It is always good to have the jobs completed before going for a family outing. Both boys & girls will enjoy learing to cook & can start with simple things. If they can manage to cook a meal, a desert or a cake they will be so proud.

    I think the idea of a chore board is a great idea. We didn`t have one & most of the arguments about chores was about whose turn it was. There were 8 of us, so it was almost a competitionto see who would do which chores (their were favourite chores), there was also a lot of swapping about chores & it was difficult to keep track.

    GO FOR IT!!!

  64. I think all kids need to be responsible for themselves starting with easy stuff that helps themselves eg get dressed put dirty cloths in washing basket etc
    Then move on to other stuff as they get older make bed set table for dinner etc
    Then getting older tidy room can be introduced along with doing dishes etc so they are doing age appropriate stuff
    These are not paid jobs because as we get older we learn that these chores have to be done and are never paid for unless you are in a paid cleaning job as an adult

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