Give the Kids Chores to Save Your Sanity

Do your kids have regular chores they do around the house?  If you’re a work at home parent or both parents work out of the home, assigning your children chores is essential to maintaining some order in your home.  (A stay-at-home parent can benefit, too.  There’s no reason the parent has to do everything.)  Besides keeping your home cleaner, assigning chores is an excellent way to teach your children financial lessons.

My own children have basic chores like putting away clean clothes, putting dirty laundry in the laundry basket, and making their beds.  However, as a busy work at home mom, I’m finding this minimal amount of chores is not enough to keep our house tidy.  I juggle many roles during the day including teacher (I homeschool our three kids), worker (I work from home about 30 hours a week), and mom.  I simply can’t do it all.

What Chores Should You Assign Kids?

Assigning kids more specific chores is one way I plan to combat the growing mess in our home.  My kids are now 9, 5, and 4.  For my oldest one, I plan to assign him basic housekeeping like cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, and dusting.

I struggle with assigning the little ones chores that go beyond the basic picking up toys because teaching them how to do chores takes time.  In the beginning, I’ll have to be right there with them, showing them how to do the chores.  However, I know this time investment will pay off in the long run.

I’ve been searching the web for guidance as to what chores are age appropriate, and I’ve found a variety of answers.  I found this age appropriate chore list that seems right on target for what my 9 year old can do, but it seems overly ambitious for my younger set.  Asking my 4 and 5 year olds to do the dishes seems like it would just result in more work from me as I’d have to redo everything!  This chore system seemed more appropriate.

To Pay or Not to Pay?

The decision to pay or not for chores is a personal one.  I pay for most chores, but some that are just basic such as bringing dirty clothes to the laundry hamper I don’t pay for.  How much I pay depends on the child’s age and the degree of difficulty for the chore.  For my 9 year old, I pay 25 cents for an easy chore like making the bed and $3 for a more difficult chore like cleaning the entire bathroom.  My younger two get 5 cents per easy chore.

Out of that money, I ask that the kids put 30% toward saving, 10% toward giving, and the rest is theirs to do what they would like.  Right now all their money is lumped in piggy banks, but I think for my 9 year old, I’ll open a Capital One 360 savings account so he can categorize his savings and watch his money grow.

I also plan to have extra chores that the kids can volunteer to do beyond their regular chores.  For these, they can either choose to earn iPad time or to get paid.

Do your kids have regular chores?  If so, how do you determine what they do?  Do you pay or not for chores?

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Melissa works from home as a freelance writer, virtual assistant and blogger. Her blog, Mom's Plans, reflects her desire to plan life one step at a time while caring for and homeschooling her children (ages 9, 5 and 3) as well as paying down debt and saving for a house.


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