Kids Chores – How many are too many?

Summer’s here, kids are home … shouldn’t they be doing more chores???  Probably, but let me first say that this is one of those gray parenting areas.  Chores are handled differently in every home so I’ll just tell you what I did with my own kids.

But first, below is my video on allowance and money management as that usually comes up with any discussion around chores.  All children 3+ should get allowance but not for doing chores, just because they need to learn how to manage money as a basic life skill.  Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel while you’re there if you want to see more parenting videos:

Okay now, back to the chores.  I was a very fussy housekeeper so didn’t really want anyone helping me with the chores BUT I insisted the kids picked up after themselves and never leave any messes around the house.  Play time was different but after play time was pick up time.  As they got older they were more responsible for keeping their rooms clean, laundry put in laundry room, putting laundry away, etc. than anything else.  So, really just looked after their own rooms and themselves, plus a few odd chores around the house like taking out the garbage, sorting the clean laundry, etc.

Allowance was very separate from chores but if you watch the above video you’ll see that they always had money stashed away in “Mom’s Bank” so if they didn’t pick up after themselves there was always a consequence.  I had a list of consequences and let them choose:

  1. $5 out of your account.
  2. No TV/computer tonite.
  3. Give Mom neck massage.

I was always hoping they’d choose #3 of course.

When kids know that there are consequences for not contributing around the house, you’d be amazed how willing they are to help out.  Consequences are great reminders to do the right thing.  They’re also easier to impose when there is a list to choose from.  I looooved it when my kids forgot to fold the laundry or whatever as I’d usually get a neck massage or a pedicure or something like that as they didn’t want to lose any money or have media blackout.

So figure out how much allowance you’re going to give them and keep track of it in “Mom’s/Dad’s Bank” and make sure they help out around the house.  At the very minimum they should be cleaning up after themselves.

Teenager Alert:  Expecting a messy teenager to keep a clean room is unreasonable.  Relinquish some control before they just take it from you, you’ll thank me for that tip :).  Let them have the freedom to live in filth if they must, so long as there are no rodents scurrying from under their bed, then big deal.  Don’t sweat the small stuff with teenagers, save your energy and power for the big stuff which is where you really need it.

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Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach  –  Phone: 604-944-7479  –  Email:

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