Chores or No Chores: Should I Give My Child Chores?

Chores or No Chores: Should I Give My Child Chores?

Chores, or no chores…

That is the question. 

If you ask your child, chances are they’ll vote no chores, but the truth is that chores help teach kids important life skills. 

Here’s what you need to know about chores for kids. 

Benefits of Household Chores for Kids

Household chores aren’t just meaningless work, they are important for a household and teach kids important life skills. Here are some of the reasons to give a child chores:

  • Contribute to family life. Everyone contributes to the mess, everyone should contribute to keeping the home clean and in working order. 
  • They teach kids life skills like learning how to clean, communicate, and work as a team. 
  • Chores give kids a sense of responsibility and competency. 
  • If you choose to give an allowance, the process can teach kids about financial responsibility and how to handle money. 

Tips for Giving Kids Chores

  • Give age-appropriate activities. A three-year-old probably can’t do an entire load of laundry from start to finish, but they may be able to put away their own folded laundry or help sort laundry. 
  • Rotate activities. If you have more than one child, chances are you’ll hear how unfair it is that so-and-so always has to take the disgusting trash out. Come up with a system so every child gets a chance to experience every chore they’re capable of doing. 
  • Clarify responsibilities. Verbally discussing chores is a recipe for disaster. Create a charting system to outline and track chores. 
  • Discuss consequences. Make sure kids know ahead of time what happens if they don’t do their chores. 

Should I Pay My Child for Chores?

There are pros and cons to offering rewards for chores, however, providing a small reward system is a good way to teach children about managing money. For very young kids, your praise may be enough, but as kids get old enough to ask for things they want you should consider a reward system. This gives your child an opportunity to earn what they want and may motivate them to offer additional help. Some tips for paying kids for chores are:

  • Keep rewards small. There’s no reason a child should get $100.00 for cleaning the bathroom once. 
  • Make sure the reward fits the task or responsibility. 
  • Allow children to handle their own money/points/stickers and make decisions on when to spend rewards (but offer some guidance, like “if you spend $10.00 on that candy you will only have $3.00 left). 
  • Define rewards early on so kids know exactly what to expect and when. 
  • Follow through. Don’t make empty promises. 

How you handle chores depends on your family dynamic and needs, but they can be beneficial for children and the entire family.