Involving Kids in Family Chores

Smart parents make it their job to care for the household.

 

Brilliant parents work themselves out that job.

 

We’re all buried in housework, right? Laundry, dishes, mowing, dusting—yeah, forget the dusting. Overrated. Point is there’s so much to do and so little time to do it. Especially in summer when the whole family would rather be at the beach.

 

So why not make chores a family affair? Everybody chips in, the work gets done faster, and the whole family enjoys more time in flip flops under the sun. Here’s a simple strategy for getting kids involved in family chores.

 

First, explain the why. Chores aren’t just Mom or Dad’s idea. They’re God’s. He created work and He made us a team. So by working together to take care of the house, we’re simply doing what God asked us to do.

 

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).

 

Then explain the how. Grumbling is not an option. Bickering is not an option. Dawdling—yep, you got it. Not an option. Explain to the kids that in our family, we’re not just doing chores to benefit ourselves (or because Mom said so). We’re doing them for God. And that alone should give us a positive attitude.

 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).

 

Divvy up the work. It’s your call how much responsibility you allow your kids, but consider dividing the labor according to age-appropriate tasks. Teens can mow the lawn or do their own laundry. Tweens are old enough to empty the dishwasher and mop the floor. Younger kids can learn to fold towels or set the dinner table, and even toddlers can help pick up toys. Just be sure to give everyone a fair share of work and explain that “fair” does not always mean “equal.” Different ages come with different responsibilities and privileges.

 

Finally, decide how (or if) to reward. Consider setting a list of daily expectations—such as making your bed and feeding the dog. Nobody gets paid to do those chores; they are simply a family requirement. Anything above and beyond the daily expectations then becomes an opportunity to earn rewards—such as money or privileges. Rather than calling these rewards an “allowance,” try referring to them as “work pay.” This will help kids get used to the idea that in our world, people work for their income. Chores are a child’s first experience at developing a healthy work ethic.

 

Ultimately, if you’re successful at training the entire family to pitch in on chores, “housework” is no longer just Mom or Dad’s job. It’s everyone’s job.

 

And so is swimming. Off to the beach you go!