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Do you get your kids to do chores? Or do you do everything yourself? For your sake and for that of your kids, I hope you answer ‘yes’ to the first question. No matter what their age, unless of course they’re still crawling around pulling things off shelves, kids can and should be helping out. Chores for kids need to be an integral part of their routines.

3 things that kids can learn from doing chores. #Parenting #Kids #Tips Click to Tweet

Responsibility for their things

I know parents who spend time after their kids have left for school, picking up, cleaning up, making the beds and then getting to either their paid job or housework. This is especially tougher to do as the kids grow older as they seem to need more clothes, more stationery, more art items, more books and it just doesn’t seem to end.

The good news is you have a clean home.

The bad news is you are raising kids who will always be looking for someone else to pick up after them.

Just let go and let them learn that if a job needs doing, they need to do it. Start by putting up a responsibility chart like the one at the end of this post or get a responsibility board with magnets. I love this one by Melissa & Doug!

Chores for kids_Melissa and Doug responsibility chart

The bright magnetic smiles are great motivation by themselves. When we bought it way back in 2010, my daughter would just enjoy re-arranging the coloured magnets, so it’s also a good activity to keep young kids busy.

Based on the age of the child, modify the difficulty level of the tasks.

Sharing of the work load

Chores have predominantly been seen as the preserve of the woman of the house. I don’t know why but it’s about time we did away with this mindset. Be it a boy or a girl, get them to do tasks without labelling them as being gender-specific.

At my home, my husband is as comfortable behind the stove as he is in front of a laptop. I can hook up a gadget to the flat screen TV just as well as I fold the laundry. And all of these are interchangeable. Growing up as one of two girls, we had zero discrimination at home on the basis of tasks. While my sister naturally enjoyed cooking and baking more than I did, I preferred to do all the banking errands and outdoors-y chores.

Get the boys at home to bake a cake and get the girls to help with changing a tire. Doing away with stereotypes begins at home. This will ensure that they grow up to be self-sufficient individuals who can live on their own, manage a home, their finances and own their roles, no matter what they do in life. It will also help them be empathetic towards their spouses and pitch in voluntarily to do their share of the work.

Following a routine

Two weeks ago, I asked Gy to sort her wardrobe. I was tired of opening it at the last minute on a school morning and hunting for a pair of leggings she absolutely needed to take for Yoga. I’d had it.

I sat her down and told her that she had the whole of Sunday to get the wardrobe organised and I would help only in telling her how to optimize the space. At first she groaned and moped as if I’d asked her to fight against the Greeks. She finally came around and put on some music to help her through the task.

It took her 6 hours. But, at the end of it, she’d come up with a wardrobe Martha Stewart would have been proud to see.

Clothes were segregated based on type- school, ethnic, casual, shorts, jeans. Books were organised by size and arranged next to stationery. Her entire array of accessories were now grouped by size, type and packed away either in boxes or on a hanging display that fits into the cupboard (see picture below).

She pulled out clothes and books that she no longer used and added them to the donation pile. She did such a thorough job that she now had an empty shelf with space to spare!

You can get a similar one here. Trust me, it’s a boon!

Now, since she had done this and realised how much time and effort went into it, the good news is she’s been maintaining the wardrobe very efficiently ever since.

Here’s a simple infographic of chores that my daughter does daily. This can be modified to suit your kids, but get them to engage in these tasks to help build their commitment to a clean home and an organized life.

Chores for kids

Featured images courtesy: Shutterstock

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Kids holding up cleaning materials and smiling. Chores for kids and why they need to do them.

Categories: Parenting

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Vidya Sury · August 6, 2017 at 7:18 pm

Very nice responsibility chart! I remember a very elaborate version of this in the movie Big Momma 2 — it was hilarious.

Kudos to Gy on the jewelry organizer–what a great job! Love infographic too, at the end of the post.

Chores are critical for a child’s development. Just the other day, while going through some old papers, I came across a sheet of paper with a list of things Vidur had promised to do during his summer vacation when he was in the 3rd std and I couldn’t help tearing up to see it. Warm memories!

By the way, I read this fab book last year–Entitlemania–where the author states that each time a parent does something for her child, she takes something away. So true.

Love the post, Shailaja. I wrote about children and chores a few years ago.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Is Meditation Good for Your Kids?My Profile

    Shailaja · August 6, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Vidya you absolutely made my day with this lovely, long, detailed comment. I’ve missed that sorely from you and others I cherish. It reminds me of the days of early blogging when I first bumped into you. Thank you, so much 🙂

    Vidur sounds so adorable! I hope you’ve kept a copy of his chores list. Would love to see it!

    That book sounds amazing! Adding it to my TBR right away. I owe a lot of this thinking to the book, ‘Gift of Failure’ by Jessica Lahey. Highly recommend it too.

    Hey I remember Big momma 2! Must go back and re-watch to remind myself of the chores chart though.

Damyanti · August 7, 2017 at 6:55 am

Yes, kids need to do chores– gives them a sense of confidence, of being useful, and part of a family. Also makes them less entitled– I see some of the kids in Singapore with their maids carrying their schoolbags, and it makes me shudder.

    Shailaja · August 7, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Absolutely and completely agree. I don’t want my kid to grow up with that sense of entitlement and/or the idea that any work is beneath her. This is a great way to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Nabanita Dhar · August 7, 2017 at 9:53 am

You know after going home from work when I unpack M’s things sometimes she helps me put her lunch boxes in the sink. Of course, she can’t reach it but the fact that she tries seeing and picking up from what I do, I love it. You are right, it is very important to let kids do some chores. It teaches them so much about responsibility and enables them to live alone which they have to when they go for higher studies and jobs. Most of all for life.
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    Shailaja · August 7, 2017 at 9:57 am

    How adorable is that! I have to meet and squish M soon! Responsibility is a non-gendered thing anyway so it’s good to let them learn these things bright and early instead of waking up one day and realising they can’t manage for themselves.

Rachna · August 7, 2017 at 10:01 am

I completely believe in this. Being the only woman in the house, I keep all the boys on their toes. Children have chores that they have to do. Elder son helps with vacuuming, loading the dishwasher, scanning my bills, cutting salad and setting the table for dinner. Both of them help with Coco. They take him out and give him bath. They both clean their room and also vacuum the house (when the help is on leave). They also pick up their stuff themselves and water the plants. Chores have got nothing to do with gender. And, we must initiate the kids into them from an early age. It is the only way to teach them that they have rights along with responsibilities. It also teaches them dignity of labour and that no chore is small or beneath them. Both my kids have also been initiated into cooking. Since both mom and dad cook, it was quite natural for them to chip in with that as well. 🙂
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    Shailaja · August 7, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I can well believe how they stay on their toes 😉 It’s most necessary for kids and super glad to know that the boys help out and do their bit. I’ve seen how Gurdev maintains the garden which is admirable! So with you on the dignity of labour bit. Right from cleaning toilets to scrubbing floors, I am going to get Gy to do all of these as time goes by. When I lived in hostel , these were part of our daily routines and we did it without complaint too. Kids who cook, I admire them, truly. Gy is still not comfy with it so I am letting her take her time. She does help out with the prep part when I ask her though. 🙂

Sheethal Susan Jacob · August 7, 2017 at 7:11 pm

I agree with every point. Esp making boys to bake and girls to change the tyre. I was and am still the one who’s doing all the out door and bank and likewise duties. But have no affinity towards cooking. Children should be trained in small ages to look after themselves rather than shouting at them at an older age.

    Shailaja · August 12, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Exactly. I hope more parents learn to let go and let their kids do their own work 🙂

Obsessivemom · August 8, 2017 at 2:41 pm

You know how I struggle with this. The children do help out but need to be reminded pretty often. I get them to lay and clear the table, cut salad and keep their wardrobes reasonably clean. They never seem to have time to do their beds in the morning so I’ve let it be for the time being unless it’s a holiday, when they make mine too. But it remains an uphill task. For now I’m fine with them managing their own tasks.
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    Shailaja · August 12, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Yes. Do what you can, honestly. I just don’t want the moms to be doing all the work, you know? Just sets a bad precedent and you end up over-working yourself to death. This option- chores for kids- is a win-win, frankly.

Priya · August 9, 2017 at 8:00 am

Absolutely! Kids need chores. I have to constantly keep reminding A to do her stuff. She is 6 years old. Her current set of responsibilities includes, putting away dishes, put her clothes and sometimes others into washing machine, watering plants. She sometimes helps me with hanging the washed laundry too. She has to set her bag for next morning. But all this happens with a lot of reminders. I really like the idea of a checklist. I am going to make one today. 🙂
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    Shailaja · August 12, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    The constant reminders can stop if you put up the checklist in her room 🙂 Add some coloured stickers for motivation. Those help mine.Also, so cute to read about her chores! 😀

Ramya Abhinand · August 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

Yippeeee , I answered yes to that first question of yours :).. My girls aged 4 and 8 do help me out and of course do most of their jobs by themselves. Initially when I got them started slowly to take care of their books, put their clothes in keep their school stuff in the proper places, things weren’t all that easy. They were slow, often forgetful, but then I kept at it, and slowly it became habitual…And with regards to chores around home, I involve them irrespective of whether they could do it with perfection or not. Dust, putting the clothes away, drying clothes, or emptying the waste…

Stereotypes begin at home. And There is a constant effort that I put in getting them to do tasks that were once considered gender specific.
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    Shailaja · August 12, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    So glad to hear, Ramya! Especially with you managing things alone, it’s super helpful to have the kids pitch in.

Mithila Menezes · August 13, 2017 at 9:21 am

The jewellery organizer is too cool! And so is Gy. ❤

I agree with you that kids should start doing household chores from an early age. It teaches kids the art of time management. As kids grow older, more academic responsibilities and personal whims and fancies come into the picture. But I’m sure that since they have mastered doing specific chores over a long time, they’ll be able to balance everything and still have time to grumble a little about it 😛
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    Shailaja · August 13, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Nail on the head. With growing academic demands, kids are finding it tougher to manage simple chores. But a daily/weekly habit will help them in the long run especially when it comes to self reliance.

AngelA Noel · November 4, 2017 at 6:57 pm

I 100% agree with you! Doing chores not for money but because a child can and should contribute to the family home makes a huge difference. We do children a disservice. Y not expecting more of them in this respect. Thanks for the helpful tips!

9 Ways to Teach Kids to Appreciate What They have by Upasna Sethi · February 1, 2019 at 7:05 pm

[…] Here are some important reasons why all kids need to do chores. […]

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