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Help a Mom: What chores do your kids do, what age did they start?

Posted July 9, 2013
Updated July 10, 2013

My kids could do more around the house, but they aren't completely idle.

When asked, both clean up their toys and help set the dinner table and clear it. They help with the recycling and putting their laundry away. My eight-year-old is always more than happy to help her dad with the yard work. And if I'd let my three-year-old vacuum all of the time, she'd be beyond thrilled (and I'd let her if I didn't mind half dusty floors and banged up doors and walls).

Let me make a couple of things clear: I don't mind a messy house. If they've made a block fortress and it's not in the middle of our home's traffic pattern, it can stay up for a few days, especially if they are still playing with it from time to time. And I've never been a stickler for neat rooms or made beds.

But there are other chores that I'm sure they could help with. I bet my eight-year-old could actually wash dishes by hand or wipe down bathroom counters. I'm sure my three-year-old could dust off the coffee table. A relative already has her nine-year-old boys doing their own laundry.

So that leads me to my question: What chores do your kids do and at what age did they start?

Please share in the comments below! (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

Help a Mom features a general parenting question or query from readers every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me.



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  • chicnrdu Jul 10, 2013

    When my son was little, I taught him the beauty of lysol disinfecting wipes.. him and the neighborhood boys... when they would get in trouble, would come in and instead of time out, they would clean baseboards in one of the rooms.. the more they worked together, the faster they could get it done and get back to playing. My boys also know how to clean their own bathroom, they both enjoy cooking.. the do all the dog stuff, trash taking out and unloading and reloading the dishwasher....I however do all the laundry :-) For the sake of my checkbook!

  • BaseBallMommy Jul 10, 2013

    I have recently started more chores with my kids but we call them contributions to the household. I have 5 yr old stwins, they do their rooms as well ac vacumming them. Unloading clothes from the dryer to the living room, putting away silverware and tupperware from the dishwasher. Cleaning baseboards and doors.
    My 11 yr old is learnign to cut the grass, loading and unloading dishwasher, being responsible for entire bathroom weekly cleaning. He is also learning to do basic things in the kitchen.
    I am now walking him through making certain dishes.
    All kids take turns matching socks, they actually make a game out of it!

  • mozingosam Jul 10, 2013

    My children, ages 9 & 10, do the following:

    pack their own lunch and snacks for school
    set the dinner table
    daughter-helps me cook
    rotate taking out the trash
    help get groceries in after shopping
    son-helps mow grass
    clean their own rooms clean their bathroom do their own laundry clean the kitchen after super (put dishes in dishwasher) sweep and vacuum

    At first I thought this was entirely too much, but the more they do this the more independant they become. I am sure this sounds like absolute abuse, but the kids enjoy helping and we (my husband and I) enjoy the help!

  • shall6 Jul 10, 2013

    A Facebook fan recommended this site where you can find cleaning and cooking tools made for kids:


  • bbolhuis111 Jul 10, 2013

    My boys are 5 and 3 and they have daily chores they do themselves, like set the table, clean up outside toys. They also have weekly chores they do with the help of mom and dad, like change sheets on the bed, fold laundry, and clean out mom's car. We also track super stars on the chore chart if they help out above and beyond they get a star. And after 5 stars they get a special reward.

  • shall6 Jul 10, 2013

    "Reinforced our desire that they see our family as a team that all works together" ... love that @killian.


  • Killian Jul 10, 2013

    My kids started doing chores from the time they could walk and talk. Of course, they were age appropriate for their abilities, but it reinforced our desire that they see our family as a team that all works together. Their father and I do the lion's share, but they could pair socks from the laundry, sort flatware from the dishwasher (no sharp knives!), pick up their toys, etc.

    At this point, they're on their way out of the house, but they *can* do anything we can, really. All of them do laundry, dishes, basic cooking, cleaning. They clean their own bathrooms, they scrub spills out of the carpet if they spill something, they help with the gardens.

    It's simply a matter of teaching kids self-reliance and independence, really. Do we want to send our kids out into the world not knowing basic life skills? This is why we had them learn stuff early. They have friends whose parents do pretty much everything, and now those kids are in college, unable to handle laundry or basic cooking.

  • whyalltheproblems Jul 9, 2013

    Both of my children started doing their own laundry a year or so ago (ages 10 and 9). it was a Huge help! they are still doing it and do well with it. they each take turns cleaning their bathroom as well. my daughter likes to vacuum and my son takes out the trash.

    toward the end of this past school year, I had them pack their lunches, my daughter had to get her morning snack ready and once they got home from school, they had to wash their lunch containers out. have to say it was nice to drink a cup of coffee while they got themselves packed up :). after 7 years of packing lunches, I realized they need to learn how to do it.