I have a large family, six of whom are children. In this family, we are a team. We often work together or independently for the greater good of our team. We serve each other, often reluctantly, but nonetheless.
My husband and I believe that our children will benefit from hard work, routine, and be serving others. Part of that hard work involves a regular chore routine that we have taught them and have enforced.
The key to successfully managing a large family requires each member to do their part. So we require our children to do chores. Chores are an integral part of a successful homemaking routine. A mom could do all the chores, but what does that teach the children? Each family member has their role and within each role are responsibilities.
First of all, let’s discuss why children should do chores?
Six Reasons Why Children Should Do Chores:
- Teaches them responsibility
- Teaches them the value of serving others
- Teaches them hard work and helps to develop a good work ethic
- Teaches them patience
- Teaches them how to follow a routine
- Helps build their self-confidence and allows them to feel competent
In our family, we have divided the work into responsibilities and chores. Responsibilities are routine tasks that should be done daily by each person without being asked. Chores are those tasks that may require larger chunks of time.
Sometimes parents wonder if they should really give their kids chores. I mean, isn’t it the parents responsibility to manage the household? And don’t kids need an opportunity to ‘just be kids?’
My Family Example(s)
Typical chores for my children include:
- The children work in the kitchen as a team. One washes the dishes while another rinse. One wipes down all surfaces and another sweeps the floor after each meal.
- Each child has a day for washing and drying the laundry.
- Since each child has their own bathroom, one day a week they are responsible for cleaning their bathrooms.
- One day a week each child is responsible for vacuuming, straightening, and dusting their bedrooms.
- Hauling wood
- Bringing the trash out
- Babysitting a younger sibling for a short period of time
- Sweeping the wood floors
*In my large family, my oldest three daughter girls at 7, 11 and 13 are responsible for their own laundry. My son age 9 needs some gentle reminders to put the clothes in the correct spot or hung up. My younger two girls ages 2 and 5 certainly help me with laundry but do not have the ability to hang up their clothes high on the hanger or put them away neatly.
Example of a few daily responsibilities (not chores)
- Getting dressed before breakfast
- Making bed
- Tidying up the room before bedtime
- Brushing teeth (it’s amazing how they need reminding)
- Cleaning off the table when done at each meal.
- Asking Mom or Dad if help is needed
- Bringing dirty clothes to laundry room daily
- Tidy up toys when done playing
- Helping each other when needed without being asked
I frequently remind the children that “Mom is not your maid” and “you are part of a team”. In order for our household to run smoothly my children understand they must do their part. I wish I could report they always were cheerful and did chores willingly, but they do not.
They still need reminders to have the good attitude as referred to in Colossians 3:23 “work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not for your masters”.
There are benefits of having children do chores.
- Chores teach obedience and important life skills.
- A chore chart can prevent chore wars, especially since every child knows what to expect.
- As you work along with your child you are spending quality time with them.
- Children will also gain self-confidence from each skill they learn.
Advice on how to teach chores:
- Model the chore
- Work alongside your child
- Be patient.
- Allow for mistakes.
- When they are successful at said given chore, it is time to handle them another one
Some final thoughts on chores:
My dear mother-in-law gave me some parenting advice that I took to heart many years ago, she said: “you should raise your children to be independent of you”.
You know what? She was right.
As much as I want to have my children with me forever, they will not stay little forever.
My husband and I want to do more than just raise productive members of society. We are raising our children to be God-fearing individuals. And to work cheerfully and for the glory of the Lord at whatever they do. Someday we will be held accountable as parents for the precious gifts the Lord allowed us to raise.