Children Need Chores


Welcome to Day Two of Back to Basics Week here at Raising Lifelong Learners. I’m so glad you are joining me again as I share how we are reshaping our family and its values.



Yesterday, I shared how we set the foundation by prayerfully, and in togetherness, discussing a vision for our family’s future and then used that vision to create our own Family Mission Statement.

Once we had our foundation in place, we tackled the issue of chores. I don’t know what it’s like in your home, but my kids don’t get up in the morning begging to clean and cook for me. {Although Logan did ask for a broom and dustpan for her birthday…} Overall, my kids would be perfectly content to play the day away, making messes as they go, stopping to eat meals that include only their favorite foods, and then skipping out on any cleanup to go back to play.

Sound familiar?

As common as that scenario among kiddos may be, I don’t think that any parent truly wants to raise a child that doesn’t understand that they need to work for things in their lives. We live in a country that was built upon the backs of people who worked long hours for the promise of something better. When we choose not to teach our children how hard generations before have worked, or allow society’s beliefs that children are incapable and must have things done for them, we do those children an indescribable disservice.

I want my children to seek hard answers to problems that seem unsolvable. I want them to know what goes into their food and how to prepare a healthy meal. I want them to take pride in their belongings and know that a home should be inviting, comfortable, and clean. And I want them to take an active part in making that home welcoming.

So, each of our children has chores to do every day. They do these chores, based on their age and ability, because they are contributing members of our family and they are expected to help keep our family together.

Just so you don’t fall under the mistaken notion that I have this all figured out, know this – we are still working to find a groove that fits us. What I’ll share is what we’re doing right now, and how we got to this point.

First and foremost, we needed our kids to understand that everyone needs to pitch in to the best of their ability or our family will fall out of balance, and things won’t look like we want them to in 20 years. We:

  • talked about all of the things that need to be done around the house and personally each day.
  • discussed who currently completed those tasks.
  • talked about what would happen if tasks weren’t done each day {i.e. there would be no dinner, the floor would get sticky, we’d run out of clean underwear, the animals would starve, etc.}.

And then, we revisited our mission statement as most of the chores seemed to fall to Brian and me, with the exception of a few personal hygiene tasks. We asked if expecting Mom and Dad to do everything fit with the beginning of our mission, “We the Kessler Family, will love, support, and be united with one another.”

Since I could see Trevor’s wheels turning as he tried to figure out a way to answer yes, I rephrased the question. I asked if it would be fair to expect him to make sure that all of the laundry was done every day, meals planned out and groceries purchased, and then cooked and cleaned up, while I played with the girls and Brian watched football or played a game with us.

He {begrudgingly} answered no.

As a family, we decided that there were several things that we expected done before breakfast every day. We all have these morning chores:

  • get dressed
  • make bed
  • brush teeth and hair
  • tidy bedroom
  • choose one additional household “extra” {this might be making breakfast, setting the breakfast table, vacuuming a rug, or cleaning anything that seems like it needs it – whatever might help us get our day off to a good start}

We all have similar evening checklists to complete. We:

  • bathe
  • get PJs on
  • take our dirty clothes to the laundry
  • brush teeth
  • choose one additional household “extra”

Finally, we decided that Brian would still be in charge of the laundry and the outside chores and I would still be responsible for most meals, school work, and would oversee the interior tasks. Then, we divided the additional daily tasks among the three children to be done throughout the week:


Trevor Molly Logan
clear the table set the table help Molly
straighten the attic {Lego area} straighten the playroom straighten the playroom
feed the dog feed the fish feed the guinea pigs
vacuum mop dust


Chores are important. They give kids responsibilities, let them know that you think they are capable and necessary, and help foster a sense of accomplishment. They also keep Mom and Dad from burning out. Ours are a work-in-progress. The kids know that they’re expected to help out and that there will be consequences if they don’t, but they also know that we’re willing to tweak the system to fit us if we need to.

How about you? Do you expect your kids to share in the household responsibilities? Do they have regular chores? I’d love to hear your ideas for age-appropriate chores. Join the conversation in the comment section below, on Facebook, or Twitter. Better yet, subscribe to Raising Lifelong Learners so you don’t miss an idea.

Oh, and come back tomorrow to learn about our plans for Easy Discipline as we continue reshaping our family, and helping you come up {hopefully} ideas you can really use. Enjoy your Tuesday.