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May 17, 2007


Priscilla H.

Don Aslett, the cleaning guru would love you guys! My kids have some chores, but not enough compared to Christy! We give an allowance so they can buy things they want, learn to save, pay tithing, etc. They can earn extra by doing bigger chores.

Michelle Baker

Oops, I meant to add what we expect from them: We have lots of pets, so the kids each rotate weeks taking care of a pet every day. Plus, they bring their dirty laundry to the laundry room once a week, change their sheets, clean their rooms and once a week help with housework. I stay home, so I take care of the bulk of housework myself while they're at school. We do a Super Saturday cleaning where everyone pitches in on the bigger stuff.

Michelle Baker

We give our kids (12,10 & 7) $5 per week allowance. I wanted them to know, though, that it ISN'T payment for doing chores. They are required to do chores, just like I'm required to make dinner each night. The allowance is a privledge that can be taken away for not following the rules, just like bikes, TV, phone, etc. $5 is a good incentive for kids their age, I think.


Christy, you and Ben are doing a great job with the kids. And I would expect the same with mine (and will if I ever get to have any). You need the help, especially now. And it's not asking too much of them at all. they need to learn how to do it properly because someday they will be on their own and will have to know how to live.
I was very surprised and a little disappionted to find that my little sister, at 16 years old, didn't know how to load or start the dishwasher. She could start the washer and dryer but that was it. That was all her mother had made her do. She's off to university in Toronto next year and she'll be on her own and I worry, mostly cause I'll miss her like crazy but I worry because she's had sooo much done for her. I fear she's in for a very big eye opening. But it's for the best I guess, she has to learn sometime.
So, doing everything for them doesn't help you or them, so I think you guys have certainly done a great job!!


Hi Christy,

We do the same here in our house. I have 3 girls and they have set chores they are expected to do everyday also. During the summer they go to "Mom school" where I teach them how to cook and do new chores as they become old enough. I dont think that we are expecting too much. I always make sure that they have plenty of time to play and just be a kid. Isnt it our job as parents to teach our kids this stuff? How else are they going to take care of themselves when they grow up? Is this why so many kids(over 18) still live at home and dont leave until they are 30ish? With the Moms and Dads still taking care of them like little kids. I think you are doing a great job of teaching your children life skills. They will thank you one day! Hope you are feeling better.

Claire Smith

Hi Christy

You are definitely doing a great job with your kids! I don't yet have kids, but growing up I was encouraged (and TAUGHT how) to do chores, cleaning, cooking, etc.

When I left home, it was eye-opening to have room-mates who had clearly not been given such encouragement. A number of people I have lived with are so unequipped to deal with real life! They can't cook, their cleaning is SO sub-standard, and they have no idea how to be respectful of those you live with.

I think your children will grow up to be contributing, thoughtful members of society because of what you are teaching them.

Keep up the good work!


Krista, you have cleaning music, too! To this day, there are some songs my sister and I shudder when we hear, because it's "cleaning music." However, we both play music when we clean. When our children grow up, they're going to remember OUR CDs as cleaning music!

I'm the middle of seven kids (OK, I'm 25 now) and we always had chores to do. I remember having those toys (little broom, play kitchen with sink,etc.) that introduced me to chores, and I was so excited when I was finally old enough to run the real vacuum and do the dishes at the sink like Mom did! Of course, that excitement didn't last very long...

I agree that kids should learn to do what they are supposed to without compensation. We were literally just too poor when I was growing up for my parents to pay us any sort of allowance. It was a HUGE treat to go to McDonald's, though (maybe one visit every month or two). Now, my youngest brother (he was a surprise and is only 11) does get an allowance b/c my parents can afford it now (the rest of us are adults), but he is expected to do chores without complaint, and do them the first time he is asked.

I remember we always had definite consequences, and I learned from it then and use that experience now. If we whined or misbehaved at the store, we were given one warning. If we still misbehaved, that was it, we all went home. I vaguely recall having one tantrum at the grocery store (hazy memory, I was very young). We left, I was punished, and I never did it again.

I think the problem with a lot of parents today is that it is not convenient or easy to follow through on discipline. Leave the store when you haven't finished grocery shopping? Miss out on the zoo trip everyone has looked forward to because your kids are misbehaving? Ask to have your food wrapped up, pay your bill and leave the restaurant before finishing your meal? It's hard, it's inconvenient, and a lot of people would rather allow their children to misbehave than change their schedule or go to significant extra effort.

I truly appreciate that my parents cared so much about me and insisted that I do what I should, behave well in public, etc. I can't think of anything better than to take after my parents. I think Mom especially held us kids to a high standard because she never wanted people to have an excuse to judge us and find us wanting. We already had strikes against us for being poor and having a large family -- for some people, that's all it took to decide that we were trash.

Hmm, didn't mean to write a book, sorry!

Pam M

We use a "Catch you doing good System" - it is all about positive reinforcement. I keep a jar of quarters and when one of the kids does something without being asked - such as make their bed, helps their little sister get dressed, sets the table - they get caught doing good and get a quarter. The kids earn about $4-$5 a week. We cash them out with dollar bills on Sundays. Not only do I stop asking them to do things over and over, but they get a little reward for doing something helpful. And in the end it all adds up and them pitching in becomes second nature.


Christy I love this idea. I have struggled and struggled with my kids. We expect them to help but they arent always cooperative. and sometimes is just easier to do it myself. they yell they scream they stomp. Yesterday I was telling them about your blog and I think they got scared. especially wjen I started talking about them cleaning the bathroom. but they helped out a bit more without too much complaining. Saying a little prayer that they will continue so that I can maybe not feel like a slave. My son actually asked me to be his slave for a second so I would get him juice (he's 4!) but you get the picture!


Great post! I agree that the children need to help around the house. Sounds like your kids are doing a great job.
What we do for allowance is give each child a dollar per year, per month (14 year old $14, 12 year old $12, and so on - we have 5 kids) We used to pay them weekly, but the amount they got was so small, they really couldn't do much with it. So now, I prefer to give them their money in one lump sum at the end of the month so they have a larger amount to work with. They have to pay 10% for tithing, 20% goes into a savings account, and the rest is theirs to spend.
This system has worked great for us.


Both my husband and me had chores growing up...I had bathrooms to clean, my bedroom to clean and the general house to clean every week. My husband learned great leassons from his mother! He had to clean the bathrooms, work in the yard, and do laundry.

We just implemented an allowance system for my oldest (almost 12) and will start over summer for the other two (9 and 6) because I do want them to learn how to save and donate.

We sat down with my oldest to "agree" on what has to be done because what hasn't worked for me in the past was "policing" the chores. We agreed on what he will do every day and what he will do once a week. Basically, he has to keep his room clean and make his bed. He clears the table after dinner and washes the table and empties the dishwasher. He cleans 1-2 of the bathrooms top to bottom. He cleans the glass door to the backyard and picks up dog poo.

All the kids have to clean their rooms in the morning as well...beds made, floors cleaned, things put away. They also have to clean the bathroom counters. They put away their own laundry...pull weeds (summertime)...they make their own sandwiches and do their own cereal in the mornings. My oldest loves to cook but is still not 100% confident in the kitchen. I agree with you regarding "showing" them how to do things right...my husband did that with my oldest son on how to clean the bathroom correctly and completely.


Great post Christy! My husband and I also believe in instilling independence in our two daughters. So far, so good...it seems to be serving them well. As a matter of fact, when my oldest daughter went for her school admissions interview they specifically asked her if she had any regular chores that she tends to at home. She was relieved to be able to answer "yes" and give specifics. Never in a million years did she think her chores would be part of an important admissions decision! Also each student at her school has an after school "work job" they must attend to each day for about 15-20 minutes. Hers is to help straighten up the chapel for the next day, and she works with 3 other students on this job. She doesn't always want to go, but I have to tell you, she's really learned a lot about responsibility and teamwork. It's great! BTW, I LOVE these expo projects! Just fabulous. Hope you're doing well


Anna is obviously too young to do chores, but I can tell you that I was expected to help around the house from the time I started school until I moved out. I had to clean up after the dog, clean my room, and I started doing my own laundry when I started high school. I wasnt expected to do much else around the house because my mom had pretty high standards about what the house should look like and my "clean" and her "clean" were completely different...lol! I am sure that we will come up with ways for Anna to help as she gets older too :)


Bravo to you for making your kids independent. I need to do more in that area... seriously more. My kids moan when I have them clean their rooms... and that's their only chore! Slackers... lol!


Christy, you are doing a wonderful thing for your children by teaching them to work and enjoy it as much as possible. My DH and I talk constantly about what we can do to better prepare our kids and we agree that teaching them duty and to not be afraid of hard work will be most helpful for them. With 7 kids the chores get spread pretty thin and I sometimes think that we don't have them do enough. There was a real benefit to living on a farm way back when when you knew that if you didn't do your work, everyone would suffer, animals and family alike. It's harder now to help them understand why they need to help with the family work, because if my son doesn't swish and swipe the bathroom today, no one will starve or die.(yet! LOL)
We don't pay allowances, but allow them to earn money doing jobs that are out of the ordinary 'chores list'. My 10 year old daughter is earning her first 'salary' this summer by mowing our lawn weekly. She's loving that $20 a month to spend or save(after tithing, of course) as she chooses. She really wants a digital camera and she now sees how she can get one.
Great job!


Gosh I wish I had time to go over all the ins and outs of our family chores but it would take forever...so, basically, each of the kids has a list of 6 things they have to check each day. Even if it does not need to be done that day, they have to at least check to be sure it is clean/done before they can say they are done for the day. Older kids get harder chores and younger learn from older. We have 4 kids ages 16, 13, 10 and 6 and they do a bang up job most of the time!!!! It is important imo that they learn young! One thing I just cannot "give up" though - laundry! I have a deep seeded fear of letting anyone else do that one job! LOL Goofy me!


Ok, did you talk to my mom? I am the youngest of six and there is only 10 years between myself and my oldest sister. Your kids are experiencing my upbring, I actually got a good chuckle out of reading your post. Esp. about the teaming up thing, fyi, my brother was the worst partner and would head to the bathroom until the dishes were done by his chore mate-even if it took 2 hours. You didnt however mention throwing up the shades and blasting Neil Diamond (I can sing all songs by heart) on Sat morning to get the chores done. My mom just usually left a list of chores and we had to choose which we wanted to do and put our initials by them and the early risers usually got the good ones. We were also expected to get jobs at 14. We all paid for our college educations too, even though by the time kid #4 entered my parents could have paid. Today 3 of us own our own companies-not too shabby. So I think you are doing good by your kids-they might not be psyched today (I know I wasnt) and are certainly doing way more than the average kids but I will say we turned out pretty darn well-I think my parents would agree! Oh, and by the way all of us now have cleaning ladies I think except for one :)


I think it's great - kid need to learn responsibility early on and it does build strong self esteem - our kids have a very similar schedule and chore thing to yours... we have two boys... they have many friends who do nothing... both my husband and I had chores and we benefited from it... my kids love to cook dinner once a week too!


The part of your post about your daughter's hair-I can relate. We went through the same hair dos (and don'ts) when she was little. This winter she was so sick, she had to have surgery. After many years of independence, I braided her hair for her to keep it out of the surgeons way. I couldn't do anything else for her. Doing her hair became a daily mothering moment. My point is this. Everything you described doing, you are doing with love so you are doing exactly the right things. AND- even though your children are growing up very strong and capable, there will be times when they need you just as they did when they were wee ones.

cindy b.

Sorry for the LONG post!! :-)

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