What Chores Are Your Children Doing Lately?

Despite going very few places these days, the laundry that sits in a basket in my children’s room never seems to get down to zero. Or when it does, it is such a rare occurrence, that there is little to celebrate the occasion. Every evening, despite my deep desire to just forget it and fall asleep, the dishes get stacked in the dishwasher, the cat water is replaced, and I attempt to sweep up the dust of the day.

If I didn’t want to laugh/cry through my screen, I could write a book on the massive amount of labor and chores that consume 24 hours with two kids, two cats, and one adult. But in the interest of ease, I’ll spare you. Perhaps the main issue is the dilemma that we all face: It’s hard to work/live/play/sleep in a unkept place. At times, my entire mood depends on the last time I’ve vacuumed the hallway.

Recently, while discussing this with my therapist, she suggested I look at my allocation of chores for the kids. Shortly after, I randomly read a blog post where a parent had their children do their own laundry. Why didn’t I think of that?

While the kids do have small easy chores that they should do everyday (and it has been the same for some time), I was nervous to give them more. More to figure out, more to get flustered with, more to remind them to do. Just more. In reality, not doing so has only meant that I do more (which is my role here, I know). Even with the ways I have been able to keep partial domestic help, more lately, has been too much more.

My fine line answer has been to let a good chunk of the more, go. I am resolved in that. These are the times, I say. But as a slight experiment and guide, for kiddos my age, or slightly above (maybe even when you were a kid and Not in a pandemic), what chores should be happening?

Outside of this conversation, I do love the idea of giving children autonomy over their own bedrooms these days.

15 thoughts on “What Chores Are Your Children Doing Lately?

  • Reply cristina February 23, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    I don’t have kids of my own, but I love the topic of chores and thinking about how my own mood changes when I’m able to get the house vacuumed! My parents disagreed about whether to give my siblings and me chores, and how to ensure they got done. In hindsight, I wish it had been a more regular or scheduled thing for us all – ie. Sundays are for everyone to do their tasks or whatever. you seem like an awesome mom. all the best from an internet stranger!

  • Reply latonya February 23, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Christina,

    Thank you for the sweet compliment. Always thankful. (even from an internet stranger! ha)

    I love reading your pov. I was thinking that consistency is always the best policy. And, if i’m going to add more i should follow that route. In my house as a kid, my mom’s rule was we all cleaned on Sundays. But it also felt like SO much pressure on one day lol.

    Thank you again

  • Reply Julia Jones February 23, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    As a kid we had Saturday chores that were bigger like cleaning the bathroom or living room and then everyday my sister and I took turns washing the dishes at night or wiping down the table and sweeping the floors. I also started doing my own laundry fairly early (around 7) because I was watching 7th Heaven and the little girl washed her own clothes so I wanted to wash my own clothes! I do not have any children yet but I used to nanny for a family and had the children help load/unload the dishwasher, fold and put away their own clothes, make their own beds, clean up their toys and then the oldest (around 5) would help her mom on the weekends clean the bathroom when they did not have extra help.

  • Reply Jenna February 23, 2021 at 11:49 pm

    At that age my kid kept his room clean(ish), fed the cats each night, set the table for dinner., wash his own dishes after. He would help fold clothes. It helps to find what they like. He always complained about taking out recycling, but when he switched to cat feeding, the complaints vanished.

  • Reply Claude Monique February 24, 2021 at 12:11 am

    From 7th grade to 12th grade I wore a uniform and was responsible for laundering and then ironing 10 shirts every Sunday. Five for me and five for my older sister. To this day I hate ironing. I did enough to last a lifetime ha.

    For my kids the biggest help is having them clean up their toys daily and I fold their clothes, but they put them away themselves sometimes for my son it isn’t folded anymore by the time it gets in the draw, but it saves me time.

  • Reply Sondra February 24, 2021 at 7:21 am

    My children, ages 11 , 9, 6, and 1 have chores that help our home run smoothly. The older three are responsible for high five chores in the morning- meaning they do one chore for each finger of a hi-5: to make their beds, put pjs under pillow, brush teeth, quick room tidy up, and make sure dirty laundry is in hamper. Then, they come down and give me a hi-5 when they are done! The older ones also help clear and set table for meals ( which we do as a family), Feed and water the animals (two dogs and a cat), and bring their laundry baskets to the basement for laundry. They also have a meal that they help with each week- although that isn’t even a chore but something they plan and love doing. My eleven year old also does the peapod order online for me after I give him the list. He loves helping and I love seeing the weird things he actually orders sometimes- smoked canned oysters? Either way, our chores are chosen by the kids, happen daily, and change with the seasons (life and weather). I would suggest just asking your kids what they want to do to make their home more beautiful and honor it, even if it is as simple as picking some flowers each night in summer for a beautiful table or remembering to turn off the lights in the whole house before bed. The goal is working together to make the home function.

    • Reply latonya February 24, 2021 at 7:27 am

      Hi Sondra,

      I love this so much, thank you!!! We do unofficial high-five chores (i love that idea!): get dressed, make beds (i fold large blankets), spray natural oils on linnen, brush teeth, wash face etc. Recently I started making R do the cat water every day and night. But I truly love the idea of flowers or groceries. She asked to start cooking, and based on some of the responses that rolled in last night to this post, I had a conversation with them and they both excitedly picked out a few more choose they’d like to tackle together.

      It’s true, its all about teamwork and making it all run smoothly. I think I’ve been hesitant to acknowledge that this changes with the season, and now another pandemic winter means that chores need to be reallocated as well. Thank you so much!!!

  • Reply Melissa February 24, 2021 at 7:24 am

    My 7 year old folds laundry and puts away and makes his own bed. Both of the kids (youngest 4) have to clean up there own spaces/toys and feed the pets. I like things just so, so it has been hard for me to delegate or look at a bed thats made but not made how I would have done it. It’s hard letting those things go but definitely appreciate their help and know it give more independence.

    • Reply latonya February 24, 2021 at 7:29 am

      Hi Melissa,

      Yes! this has been the hardes learning curve lately. Especially with them home more. It won’t be the way I like it. But its done. And maybe thats the inner movement and comfort I need to make more room for. Also, i imagine it may be good for them NOT to see us go behind and make it better.

      Thanks again!

  • Reply Jess February 24, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    Both of my kids (7 and 4) make their beds, tidy their shared room, set and clear the table, feed the dog, help fold and put away laundry, pick up toys/messes before bed, bring small trashes to the big trash, water plants, help vacuum/mop, dust bust the stairs and when they go to their dad’s they have to strip their beds and bring their dirty laundry down stairs before they leave. This is all a fairly recent occurrence and I cannot believe I waited this long to do it. Right now it may take a little longer and involve me coming up behind them “finishing” it (ie my 4 year old LOVES to mop but doesn’t do the best job 🙂 ) but already they are much ore cognizant of how much it takes to keep a house running! Next up is teaching the oldest to do laundry!

    • Reply latonya February 24, 2021 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing, jess!!! They sound like amazing helpers!!

  • Reply Jenny February 24, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Hi LaTonya, I am a big believer in shared care for the shared spaces. My kids, 8 and 4, set the table, clear their dishes to the dishwasher (and run it when it is full), the little one likes to organize, make beds, and sweep up. Her older sister has taken on full bunny care duties including food/water/cage/and the litterbox. They love to take the trash out and get the mail. I think every time they take on a new chore they are even more invested in our home and family, its sweet. Good luck!

  • Reply Julie February 25, 2021 at 6:14 am

    LaTonya, the biggest help with least oversight I find is laundry prep – they have to go through all pockets, pull out sleeves, pant legs and socks. They do the whole houses laundry pile while listening to music. And my actual doing laundry time is so much faster. But I really came here to say that while my kids have been doing a good amount of chores over the years, they are doing far less during the pandemic. I can’t quite figure it out, because they have so much more time home. But I think the fatigue is part of it, I just can’t usher them around to do more. And I care less. All in all we are doing good, but it is definitely something that has gone to the wayside with the rest of our routines.

  • Reply China February 27, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    We live in a very “open plan” apartment, which I think does make life easier with little kids (mine are 7, 5, and 1), but also means it looks messy soooo quickly. I haven’t given my kids many regular chores because everything seems to change so much from day to day that it feels impossible to get into any real rhythm without the structure of leaving for school/work. Instead, I’ve tried to focus on getting them to clean up after themselves more often then not, which has been going ok. I’m also very sensitive to the fact that I don’t want my 7-year-old daughter who has always been “good” at cleaning up to do a disproportionate amount of chores to her 5-year-old brother, who struggles lot more with processing and executive function. So I’d rather let her slack off a little too much rather than have her think that she should do more because it is easier for her. They have been helping with laundry, particularly folding and putting away linens and folding their own clothes. They are also a tremendous help with their toddler sister and will almost always happily play with her so that I or their dad can get things done, and that is so nice to see that I think it’s also make me care a bit less about chores. I do want them to someday leave our house knowing how to cook, clean, and take care of themselves, though, so the education does have to continue!

  • Reply katherine February 28, 2021 at 10:46 am

    My daughter is almost 12 and thankfully she has taken on more chores all on her own. My son who is 10 will do his share but not so smoothly. Sometimes his resistance is so much that I just do the chores myself rather than argue. What I’m learning during these times is (cliche, cliche) to take things day by day. One just never knows what day their online schooling and/or this lockdown will cause a mega meltdown. Rather than put so much pressure on myself, on the kids, I just feel things out. My inner control-freak is less loud these days, which helps a lot.

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